Written for one of the New Zealand String Quartet’s immensely valuable composer workshops at Victoria University’s School of Music, distal was my first attempt at the use of aleatoric elements in composition. The violist moves to the front of the performance space, ringed by the other quartet members and plays a traditionally-scored virtuosic solo from start to finish, while the trio members play overlapping, looping fragments, where individual choices can be made with regard to register, dynamic and speed of execution according to closely defined parameters. At various moments the soloist and trio converge, providing fleeting glimpses of rhythmic coherence, before withdrawing back to strange and unpredictable realms.
Domestic Architecture (2008) was conceived during a year in the Lilburn Residence, Wellington. It was commissioned by the Asian Composers League and was premiered at the 2009 Asian-Pacific Contemporary Music Festival in Tongyeong, Korea.
This brief elegy was written a few months after the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, in which so many lost their lives. Over the gently rocking figures of the viola and cello are heard the more impassioned lines of the violins; these seem to chase after one another before the piece comes to a quiet close. Composed for the Auckland Philharmonia Ensemble Philharmonia concerts, where it received its first performance in November 2006.