This piece is the result of a commission from Bryan Holden and the Auckland Mandolinata Orchestra. They wanted a work that could be premiered at an Auckland venue in October 2007, and which could then go on to a performance at an Australasian forum for players of mandolins and related instruments in 2008.
I was advised of the fact that for the premiere performance, a flautist and more than one accordion player would be available. However, at time of writing there looks to be no flautist, and only one accordion player, available for the Australian performance. Hence my decision to make the flute and accordion parts ‘optional’, with the piece able to be adequately presented using only the core ‘plectrum orchestra’ instrumentation as well. Needless to say though, it is ideal that the flute and accordion parts ARE present, as they add to the piece rather considerably, even though I couldn’t completely indulge in the creation of specifically-idiomatic solos for them!
Movement 1: in a cellar below street level
This initial inspiration for this movement came from the diverse range of musical activity presented at Auckland city performance venue The Wine Cellar. In this particular movement, listen to a tale told in music, of a hypothetical Medieval minstrel who would actually rather be a blues musician.
Movement 2: look’d @ stars
When international visitors come to Auckland, they are often blown away by the fact that even in the middle of the city, one can still see the stars in the night sky.
“look’d” = ancient; “@” = modern; “stars” = timeless.
Movement 3: SPARK!
Inspired by a gig I participated in at the beginning of November, the month which Guy Fawkes’ Night (a celebration marked by bonfires and fireworks) occurs – and there were indeed fireworks at this central Auckland gig that night.
Commissioned by the Auckland Mandolinata Orchestra
Performed by the Auckland Mandolinata Orchestra conducted by Bryan Holden at Shore School, Blue Street, North Sydney, as part of their in-house concert for the Federation of Australasian Mandolin Ensembles’ 2008 International Festival.