This very simple work was composed for students. The name means “The Last Nakoda” and refers to the 3000 metre mountains just beside Ray’s home in Canmore. The mountain is a popular climbing peak formerly known as Chinaman’s Peak. Ray and many of his neighbourhood friends have climbed this mountain.
For Violin, Violoncello and Piano was completed in 1999 for the final year of my Masters degree. It was first performed at the Nelson Composers Workshop that year by Mark Menzies, Katherine Hebley and Donald Nicholson. Here it received the Workshop prize, and later in the year the work also received the main prize in the Victoria University School of Music Composition Competition.
The piece follows no programmatic ‘storyline’ but moves rather within shifting emotional sound-worlds. The opening is very ‘inward’, and the intensity eventually builds and explodes into areas of anger or yearning, or maybe something far more subconscious and indefinable. Moments of beauty surface above the intensity, and the journey ends having come full circle – introspective, transcendent, resigned.
Notes taken from NZTrio – Spark, Morrison Music Trust MMT2066
In this trio the three instruments share their material, weaving together in a number of different heterophonies. There are moments of opposition, but generally the work is a dance of togetherness. The two movements are linked. A slow introduction leads to a fast second movement, though this finally relaxes into a slow apotheosis.