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Angel at Ahipara

for string orchestra

Year:  1999   ·  Duration:  11m

Year:  1999
Duration:  11m

Films, Audio & Samples

Christopher Blake: Angel at...

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Christopher Blake: Angel at...

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Christopher Blake: Angel at...

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Sample Score

Sample: pages 1–8 of score

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Sample Audio

Sample: 0'00" - 1'00" VII. The Angel holds vigil at the grave

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In the isolated settlement of Ahipara in the far north of the North Island of New Zealand a tiny white church sits on a hillock looking out to a range of low brooding hills. In the cemetery below, an angel stands on a pedestal at the head of a grave. One day in 1992 renowned New Zealand photographer Robin Morrison came to the church and captured the essence of the angel's vigil in a memorable and famous image.

In late 1997 the composer Chris Blake travelled to Ahipara, stood in the same place and experienced the same image. The outcome was a short work for string orchestra which captures the hope and desolation of the angel and the memory of the soul over which she stands guard. The work was created for conductor Andrew Sewell and is based, at his suggestion, on a passage from an earlier work We All Fall Down for obliggato cello and orchestra.

This work is one of a series of four, making up The Northland Panels. They were written and premiered as separate works.

Commissioned note

Written for Andrew Sewell

Dedication note

For Andrew and Mary Anne Sewell

Contents note

I. The Angel holds vigil at the grave
II. The Angel sings her hymn of hope
III. The Angel makes the spirit soar
IV. The Angel brings joy
V. The Angel Calms the storm
VI. The Angel sounds music from heaven
VII. The Angel holds vigil at the grave

Performance history

12 Feb 2000: Performed by Mansfield Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrew Sewell at the Richland Performing Arts, Ohio USA

03 Oct 2001: Performed in a rehearsed reading by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hamish McKeich as part of the NZSO-SOUNZ Readings

28 Sep 2002: Performed by the Auckland Philharmonia conducted by Marc Taddei at the Bruce Mason Centre, Auckland

15 Apr 2005: Performed by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Sewell, in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

26 Sep 2010: ACO: Angel at Ahipara

12 May 2013: Matariki - Ensemble Polymnia

20 Jun 2019: NZSO | Winter Daydreams

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