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for choir

Year:  1992   ·  Duration:  5m
Instrumentation:  1: TB, 2: SATB, 3: SATB

Year:  1992
Duration:  5m
Instrumentation  1: TB, 2: SATB, 3: SATB

Composer:   Helen Fisher

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Score

Sample: Pages 1, 4-5

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These three vocalises, using Maori vowel sounds, were first recorded by the Wellington members of the National Youth Choir. They were composed for the opening section of 'Wahine Toa', a dance theatre celebration of Maori female ancestral figures. This work was performed at Taki Rua Theatre in Wellington in 1992 and in Christchurch in 1993. The three pieces are:

  1. Te Po Nui, Te Po Roa, where male voices hum a series of sustained chords.
  2. The Earth Lay in the Womb of Darkness - inspired by Robin Kahukiwa's painting of the same title. This choral vocalise by full choir begins with alto melodic line, soon building to a widely spaced texture of superimposed fifth chords.
  3. Papatuanuku - the Separation of Ranginui and Papatuanuku. The vocalise begins gently, becoming increasingly contrapuntal, building to five strong chords, and ending with a sighing texture of vocal glissandi.

Wahine Toa was choreographed by Keri Kaa, Jan Bolwell and Sunny Amey, and was commissioned with assistance from the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council of New Zealand.

Commissioned note

Commmissioned by Wahine Toa Dance Theatre with Assistance from QEII Arts Council

Contents note

I. Te Po Nui, Te Po Roa (TB)
II. The Earth Lay in the Womb of Darkness (SATB)
III. Papatuanuku (SATB)

Text note

Text: sounds

Performance history

Premiered by Wellington members of the National Youth Choir (now Tower NZ Youth Choir) conducted by Ivan Patterson