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Stellar Meditations is a series of musical meditations on "Ave Maris Stella" (Hail O Star of the Ocean) a popular liturgical chant of unknown origin. It can be dated back to at least the 9th century for it is preserved in the Codex Sangallensis, a 9th century manuscript now in the Swiss Monastery of St. Gallen.
Two sound images permeate the piece. One is an ocean image of gentle wave surges and is heard in the introduction. The other is a bell sound which appears in the mallet percussion instruments with resonances in the harmony of muted cornets and trombones. This harmony consists of perfect intervals; fourths and fifths which are subsequently spiced by bell-like tone qualities which create colourful brass sounds.
Structurally, Stellar Meditations consists of an introduction and three chorales separated by two interludes and followed by a coda. The chorales feature the full brass while the interludes and coda are delicately scored in a contrapuntal texture.
Composed for the Inaugural Youth Section of the 125th New Zealand National Brass Band Championships 2005
11 May 2007: Performed by Pelorus Trust Wellington Brass