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 title Anxome is a contraction of the word “manxome”, from the phrase in Lewis Carroll’s The Jabberwocky: “long time his manxome foe he sought”. The piece is descriptive of a state of mind: at times anxious and shy, but also playful and cheeky. It was premiered in The Committee’s ‘Lightshift’ concert. Andrew Uren performed it from a high balcony, behind the audience, who were in the dark.
Taken from the Spanish word ‘Alborada’, Aubade (dawn) references Ravel’s great work Alborada del Gracioso. Opening with slow lyrical section the mood ranges between languid and energetic, contrasting the opening material with characterful Allegro sections. Originally composed for clarinet and piano, the piece was later orchestrated for Frank Gurr, at that time principal clarinet of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
Cascade on a Ground Bass was written in 1980 for Lawrence Bradley and David Ruddock and had several performances by them in Kent. Lawrence also took it to America and gave more performances of the piece there, and it was performed recently (2001) at the Glamorgan Festival.
Kura Tawhiti, also named Castle Hill by early European travellers, is a conservation area located between the Torlesse and Craigeburn mountain ranges in the South Island. Its most distinctive geological feature is rampart-like limestone rock formations, making it a popular site for climbers. Because of its exposed alpine location weather conditions can be extreme.
Kura Tawhiti, meaning ‘the treasure from a distant land’, has great historical significance for Ngāi Tahu, who are actively involved with the management of its conservation. Knowledge of trails, shelters, rock drawings and historical food cultivation sites is an intrinsic part of past and present tribal identity.
Towards the northern end is an area facing several escarpments, the most distant is about 200m away from the recording location. In still weather these can generate multiple echoes of varying length, direction and timbre. Typical soundscape components are pulsating insects, transient birds, gusts of wind against grass and rocks and distant traffic on state highway 73.