In 2012, Ross Harris completed his String Quartet No. 5 "Songs from Childhood". This is one of many works Ross has composed for the New Zealand String Quartet over a span of two decades. Here are some details of each of the string quartets Ross Harris has written:
String Quartet No. 5 “Songs from Childhood” (2012)
Ross Harris’ latest string quartet, “Songs from Childhood”, received its’ premiere at the 2013 Adam Chamber Music Festival by the New Zealand String Quartet. The composer writes:
“This work is not literally about songs from childhood but more the faded memory of such songs, or even the imagining of songs that might have been. The use of continually shifting meter and micro-tuning imbue the work with a dreamlike floating quality, both fragile and illusive.”
The New Zealand String Quartet performed “Songs from Childhood” again in June, as part of the Wellington Chamber Music society 2013 Sunday Concert series. An interview with Ross Harris about his string quartet is attached to the works’ online listing as a resource.
View listing on SOUNZ Online -> http://sounz.org.nz/works/show/21021
String Quartet No. 4 “Variation 25” (2008)
The New Zealand String Quartet’s 2007 Bach and Mendelssohn series inspired Ross to write another quartet, “Variation 25”. The title refers to the 25th Variation of the Goldberg Variations by J.S. Bach, which was used as the basis for this single movement quartet.
The work was premiered at the 2009 Adam Chamber Music Festival, and has, again, received many performances since. In 2012 “Variation 25” was programmed in both the New Zealand International Arts Festival, and the Canberra International Music Festival in Australia.
This work appears on the New Zealand String Quartets’ CD notes from a journey, released by Atoll Records and winner of the Best Classical Album at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards in 2011. This CD is attached to the works’ online listing as a recording.
View listing on SOUNZ Online -> http://sounz.org.nz/works/show/19511
String Quartet No. 3 “Blood Red Roses” (2004)
His third string quartet, “Blood Red Roses”, was commissioned by the Adam Chamber Music Festival with financial support from Creative New Zealand. The work was premiered by the New Zealand String Quartet at the 2005 festival, and has received many performances since - including a performance at the 2006 New Zealand International Arts Festival. This performance was recorded by Radio New Zealand Concert, and has now been made available through Resound, an initiative of Radio New Zealand Concert and SOUNZ, funded by NZ On Air. Listen to the full-length recording on SOUNZ Online - there is also an introduction to the piece by Kenneth Young attached to the works’ online listing as a resource.
View listing on SOUNZ Online -> http://sounz.org.nz/works/show/17204
String Quartet No. 2 “Ghost Dances” (1998)
Ross’ second string quartet, “Ghost Dances”, was premiered by the New Zealand String Quartet at the ECAT New Music NZ Festival in Edinburgh in November 2001. The work received its’ New Zealand premiere at the 2002 New Zealand International Arts Festival, alongside John Psathas’ Abhisheka and Jack Body’s Three Transcriptions. The composer says:
"The music should give the impression that parts of it have been airbrushed out. Lost, like intermittent radio reception or a tape partly erased."
View listing on SOUNZ Online -> http://sounz.org.nz/works/show/1618
String Quartet (1990)
Ross Harris wrote this work for the New Zealand String Quartet as artists in residence at the Victoria University of Wellington (now the New Zealand School of Music), during his position at the university as a lecturer. The score, published by Waiteata Music Press, was reviewed by Eve de Castro-Robinson for the Music in New Zealand 1995 Spring edition:
“...Harris never seems stuck for notes, and knows which one must follow the next, which probably sounds silly to anyone who is not a composer who has sometimes been unable to find exactly the right next note. I like the way the piece just finishes - none of this ‘here comes the ending’ carry on...”
View listing on SOUNZ Online -> http://sounz.org.nz/works/show/11787
Ross Harris has also written other works for the New Zealand String Quartet:“And death shall have no dominion”, performed at the David Farquhar Tribute concert in 2007. Listen to the full-length recording on SOUNZ Online, made available through Resound.
Online listing -> http://sounz.org.nz/works/show/18075
“The Abiding Tides” for soprano and string quartet was commissioned by Jack Richards for soprano Jenny Wollerman and the New Zealand String Quartet. It received its’ premiere performance at the 2010 New Zealand International Arts Festival, and was also performed as part of the New Zealand at Kings Place series in London in 2012 with soprano Madeleine Pierard.
Online listing -> http://sounz.org.nz/works/show/20114