SOUNZ’s Executive Director, Julie Sperring, asks Leonie Holmes questions about For Young Nick following the NZSO-SOUNZ-RNZC recording session in June 2012.
Can you describe the work? This is the middle movement of a site of Three Landscapes for orchestra – "Frond":/works/show/16684 (physical and childhood memory) and "Ancient Rhythms":/works/show/17841 (text and theme from The Journey) are the other two.
For Young Nick is based on the sighting of Young Nick’s Head – thinking about how he might have felt. The musical language is common to all three – piano, harp, metallic vibraphone, glockenspiel. The ostinato is dream-like – landscapes of the imagination.
I work on bringing out little details to create the right effect, but in quite a subversive way in that you don’t notice them until they are gone. Rhythmic simplicity is key. There are also military undertones with the snare drum and repetition.
Who suitable for? The work was workshopped by the APO, then revised for the NZSO recording. Frond has had a good life and a number of performances, but I do see them as a set and would love to hear them programmed together – perhaps a school orchestra could play them in a festival.
How do you get your ideas down on paper? I compose at the piano, but also write in a manuscript book – I write the melody notes, with lines of harmony underneath, and use them throughout the piece. Again, a subversive way of working – variations occur in the middle of the chord sequence. I have subconscious and internal rules that drive how the sound is organised.