Counting through the tones of ‘In a Landscape’ by John Cage, in the manner of counting a rosary. The title means an offering to Buddha; this is not so much a material offering but more that of a good heart.
Composed in Toronto in June, 2001 and first performed by the Natsuki Emura Piano Duo in a concert of New Zealand piano music at MusiCasa, Tokyo in October 2001.
These three pieces for solo piano were commissioned by pianist Michael Houstoun. Each is concerned with aspects of deja vu or ‘second sight’ including sensations of past lives, strangely familiar places and the cyclical nature of experience. The second of these pieces is published by SOUNZ in First XV.
The Fifith Suite was written for the organ in the Maclaurin Chapel in the University of Auckland, NZ, which is tuned in 1/5 comma Pythagorean meantone – so the five black notes are B flat, C sharp, E flat, F sharp and G sharp, and that’s it!
Written during a month-long residency in November 2005 at the Visby International Centre for Composers, in Visby on the Swedish Baltic island of Gotland, this piece was inspired by the surroundings there- the history related to its importance in the Hanseatic League and prior to that the long Viking period; and in particular the old town with it’s beautifully preserved encircling medieval town wall.
The piece consists of seven descriptive historical episodes, and includes two poems to be narrated by the pianist in episodes 2 and 7- ‘Clouds’ and ‘Centuries’. The vocalisations are mainly sung, hummed and whistled sounds, along with the breaths of the third section indicating the onerous task of building the wall.
These six pieces for piano should be performed in fairly low light with a slide projector displaying some of the most famous and revealing of Hubble’s photographs. The various movements interpret these images emotionally and symbolically. The music honours both Bach and Chopin – composers whose music, respectively, is considered the most technically proficient and the most poetic, thus recognizing the incredible technical accomplishment of the Hubble space telescope together with its revealing the poetic majesty of our awesome universe.