In this work, inspired by Paekakariki on the Kapiti Coast – ‘home’ during the composer’s six-week residency at Victoria University in 1989 – the relationship between music and environment is particularly strong. The cello’s low repeated D, which opens the piece, is the fundamental pitch heard in the sea and the restless semi-quavers evoke the continuous movement of waves crashing on the Paekakariki shore. Whitehead’s fascination with medieval philosophy and music, incorporating concepts of natural cycles, is reflected both in the title and in the compositional process, where magic squares were used to generate the background structure.
(Programme note by Emma Carle and Jack Body).
“This is a rich evocative piece that is never merely picturesque, as the title might suggest. It has a lyrical complexity reminiscent of Tippett… (it) achieves moments of great beauty.” (Tim Bridgewater, The Dominion).
“The highlight for me was the premiere of Gillian Whitehead’s Moon Tides, and Shoreline. … Perhaps there are marine associations to be heard in the score, but, more importantly, one appreciates the work’s cool and eminently logical form. The various musical motifs are inventive in themselves and intriguingly handled.” (William Dart, Music in New Zealand)