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Patrick Shepherd: Sinfoniet...Embedded audio
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Sinfonietta depicts the tranquil and turbulent moods of one of the most beautiful and enigmatic places on Earth - Antarctica.
The opening slow movement could easily be the wide-open vistas, the distant white horizon, the isolation sensed in the explorers' huts or even just the biting cold. Or maybe all of the above rolled into one. The ensuing dance episode is rather lugubrious - without mechanical aid, humans move slowly on 'The Ice' and the wildlife, such as it is, suffers similar awkwardness. Never far away is the changeable weather, bringing horrendously strong winds one minute, bright sunshine the next. The finale captures the whirling bluster and activity of an Antarctic storm and the mechanical rhythms from my first chopper ride. One of course takes what one wants from listening to a piece of music and it is not meant to be a programmatic work as such but perhaps I really do mean to depict the clowning of penguins, or at least to capture the humorous element from it amidst such a bleak landscape. Certainly, the landscape and the emotions it opened up helped shape the overall work.
I am indebted to Antarctica New Zealand for the opportunity to travel to Antarctica and gain the inspiration essential for the creation of my work.
for Jeanette, always
15 Nov 2005: Performed in a rehearsed reading by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hamish McKeich as part of the NZSO-SOUNZ Readings