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Timeless Land

for orchestra and multimedia

Year:  2003   ·  Duration:  43m
Instrumentation:  solo soprano + 3222; 4231; timp, 2 perc; harp; strings | (Perc: bs.dr, 4 toms, sn.dr, crash cym., mar., susp. cym., glock., tri., wind chimes, 3 wood blocks, tamb.)

Year:  2003
Duration:  43m
Instrumentation  solo soprano + 3222; 4231; ...

Composer:   Anthony Ritchie

Films, Audio & Samples

Anthony Ritchie: Timeless L...

Embedded audio
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Sample Score

Sample: Page 1-8.

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Central Otago holds a special place in the hearts of many people. This is clear to see in the wonderful book called 'Timeless Land' which combines the paintings of Grahame Sydney with the writings of Brian Turner and Owen Marshall. We decided early on to focus on the Maniototo, which is Grahame's spiritual heartland and which has inspired so many of his great works. For me the Maniototo suggests a variety of feelings: awe at the expansiveness of the land and the surrounding ranges. There is the exhilarating beauty of the different seasons: the Autumnal colours for instance, or the bleak Winter images. There is the strange sense of freedom and escape that one experiences driving through the Maniototo. There can also be an overwhelming sense of loneliness, and feelings of insignificance when placed in such a vast, un-peopled landscape. Then there are the reminders of human impermanence, with decaying and abandoned structures, old graveyards and memorials. The Maniototo will mean different things to different people, but in this work I have tried to portray it in sound, as I feel it in my heart. So the music is not simply descriptive, or impressionistic; it also reflects human moods and emotions. While the music is designed to be combined with images, it can also stand alone. There is a loose symphonic structure in the four movements, with recurring themes and motifs. Most significant of these are the opening cornet melody, and an assertive cornet call that first appears in the middle of the second movement. This cornet call has a vague connection with The Last Post, and becomes a reminder of death in the third movement. Most themes and ideas in the music derive from the manipulations of a 5-note motif, using magic squares. The 5-note motif, which is never openly revealed in the piece, comes from a short Magnificat, composed at the time of my mother's death in 2001.

Commissioned note

Commissioned by Natural History NZ

Contents note

four sections:
I. Landscape
II. In Transit
III. Calm and Sweet Repose
IV. Seasons

Text note

Brian Turner poems, with artworks by Graham Sydney and an original film directed by Mike Single of Natural History NZ

Performance history

06 Feb 2004: Premiered by the Southern Sinfonia conducted by Kenneth Young on Waitangi Day with Deborah Wai Kapohe (soprano) Brian Turner (poet) and Owen Marshall (author)

September 2005: Performed by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra (Marc Taddei, cond.) as part of the programme "Timeless Land" at Christchurch Town Hall

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