This piece was composed in close collaboration with Andrew Sparling whose facility in using quarter-tone fingerings made it possible to experiment with these to produce music which exploits their timbral and colouristic qualities. It was stimulated by a return visit, following a seven-year absence, to New Zealand in 2002. Imagery of the sea is strong within its musical/poetic discourse and the piece is broadly structured over a cycle of seven ‘intensity waves’. The title is shared by an earlier work […and… 11] for 12 players (composed for Lontano in 2002). The link between these contrasting works is the morphology of the wave, encapsulated as a sonic envelope of aspirate (a) – resonant (n) – explosive (d), along with the extremes of space that are characterised in the music by extreme contrasts in dynamic, register and motion. Sparling has performed and recorded the piece in a number of different realisations. In April it was performed by Australian player Richard Haynes at the TURA International Festival in Perth and broadcast by ABC.
The five movements of my suite are arrangements for violin and piano of various occasional pieces of mine composed between 1996 and 2002. The final movement is subtitled Snow Flurry as the original upon which it is based was written during an early winter snow storm in Toronto in November, 2002.
A message to Han Cho (the Yangzhou magistrate) for orchestra was inspired by the Chinese poem, A message to Han Cho by Du Mu (803-852AD, China) in the Chinese Tang dynasty. In this poem Du Mu expresses the sadness of the magistrate yearned for the day to return to his distant love. This orchestral work contains musical ideas influenced by the Eastern culture and utilising Western orchestration to imitate the sound of Chinese instruments (Chinese zither and vertical bamboo flute) to purposely maintain the cultural connection with the original tenor of the poem. To achieve this synthesis I experimented with the pronunciation of the poem in Mandarin, and then compose the melodic lines to suit the four-line poem which became the theme of the music. The image of a fair lady plays the flute under the moon on the Twenty-Four Bridges is a traditional Chinese painting specially selected for this particular poem.
青山隱隱水迢迢, From mist the green hills emerge and afar the river flows,
秋盡江南草木凋. grass still grows in Jiangnan, yet the end of fall is close.
二十四橋明月夜, Over the Twenty-Four Bridges the bright moon glows,
玉人何處教吹簫. where the fair lady teaches the flute no one knows.
the soloists can be choir members (no need for extra soloists) and it might be possible for the solos to be divided amongst several singers. The written keyboard part, although intended for rehearsal only could be performed with the choir, but on an organ only
A Village Wedding combines two different conceptual approaches; that of the program piece wherein images or activity is described by music; and that of the concerto grosso, a Baroque form which both collectively and individually showcases the players of an ensemble. In the latter case, the piece would seem to fulfill many if not all of the 18th-century requirements. After an overture, movements based on dance rhythms ensue, including the Pavane, March, Gigue, and Rigadoon. Yet the material is cast in a mold that is necessarily programmatic. The Overture, with its opening solemnity, birdsong trills, and developing energy, is intended to describe the bright Sunday morning of a country village, along with the excitement and bustle of wedding preparations. The _Meditation_’s searching cadenza and pensive sweetness exhorts the attendants to send out their blessings to the bride and groom, while the Processional calls the wedding party to the altar. The Dance at the end paints a fiddler’s paradise of flying knees and elbows to jigs and reels as the whole village joins in the revelry.
The piece is dedicated to the composer’s fiancée Erica, and acknowledges with gratitude and appreciation the dedication and excellence of the members of the YPCO.