circuit:spiral is one possible commentary on the nature of recurrence, both real and imagined. Materials are reused at fairly short intervals in a spiral or coil framework, sometimes quoted exactly, often altered drastically and always recontextualised to achieve a sense of continual development. The composer is interested in first reactions to pieces of new music: does the mind recall sonic events and conjure meaningful relationships between them, or, in the absense of repeated hearings, is the new musical experience heard simply as fantasia? circuit:spiral was a finalist in the 2006 Douglas Lilburn Prize, in which it was awarded the Panel Prize.
Gumboot Waltz pays tribute to an iconic Kiwiana, with a few beats added to this traditional dance to accommodate the clumsiness of the heavy-duty footwear.
This piece was given its first public performance by the Burnside High School Orchestra in 2005 and subsequently recorded by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra at the 2006 NZSO/Todd Young Composer Awards.
The title In Memoriam relates to the many things and people from our individual and shared pasts that shape us and make us the way we are. It is a piece that draws on music from the past, particularly early European music and also the native birdsong and sounds of the New Zealand bush.
TS Eliot;s poem suite ‘The Hollow Men’ has long since gripped me in both an aesthetic and an expressive sense. For some time I toyed with the idea of writing a piece that responded in some way to the poem. In fact, ‘Our dried voices’ didn’t begin life as that piece, but during the planning process I quickly realised that the suite of poems might provide both a starting point for my sonic ideas for the piece, and a reference for the political and social ideas I was struggling to express in an essentially abstract art. Eliot’s references to dryness and deadness (‘our dried voices, when/We whisper together/Are quiet and meaningless/As wind in dry grass’) provided ideas for a strong sonic world in which to work, while the last two lines of paradox (‘Shape without form, shade without colour/Paralysed force, gesture without motion’) offered a structural and gestural concept with which to battle musically; the work is set up around gestures that dissipate into clouds of sound, act against, and bury each other, and eventually become so intermingled that they lose any individual potency and are important only as part of the general barrage of voices.