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The text for this work draws on ideas and images from a number of sources, ranging from contemporary poetry to the psalms of the bible. It is a son of celebration of the Earth and all its abundance. The initial form of the text was devised by Deirdre McOnie. The work is a joyous song of praise. More reflective music alternates with rhythmic writing. Throughout, the music makes much use of syncopation.
Celebrate the Earth was originally written for an overseas competition with the theme 'A Celebration of Earth Day'. This revised and orchestrated version was written on a commission from Auckland Choral Society for their 2000 concert season. It was one of five choral fanfares commissioned for their subscription series. The concert for which this fanfare was written was to be a Bach 250th anniversary concert. The scoring is for Baroque orchestra including harpsichord and organ. Given the nature of the concert I couldn't resist including a short reference to the BACH musical motive (B-flat - A - C - B natural in pitch terms). It appears in the brief organ solo towards the end of the work.
Celebrate the Earth! is dedicated to the Auckland Choral Society and their conductor Peter Watts. Its commissioning was made possible by a grant from the Lottery Grants Board. The first performance took place on 24 March 2000 at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland.
This subsequent version for expanded orchestral forces, including jazz band instruments, was made for Youth Arts 2000, a celebration of artistic performances by young people held in Wellington in August 2000. It was intended as a massed item at the end of the final concert, hence the inclusion of jazz bands in the scoring as well as a large orchestra.
Original version commissioned by the Auckland Choral Society, made possible by a grant from the Lottery Grants Board; this extended version was arranged for Youth Arts 2000
Dedicated to the Auckland Choral Society and their conductor Peter Watts
Text by Deidre McOnie
Performance by the Auckland Choral Society conducted by Peter Watts