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Tu-mata-uenga (God of War, Spirit of Man)

for orchestra

Year:  2005   ·  Duration:  6m
Instrumentation:  2*222; 4331; timp., 3 perc.; strings | (Perc: crash cyms., 3 susp. cyms., xylo., bs.dr, 3 tom-toms, tam-tam, glock., sn.dr, 5 roto-toms)

Year:  2005
Duration:  6m
Instrumentation  2*222; 4331; timp., 3 perc....

Robin Toan

Composer:   Robin Toan

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Score

Sample: Pages 1-4

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Tū-mata-uenga "God of War, Spirit of Man" was inspired by the Maori story of creation. In summary, the story starts in the beginning when the world between Rangi-nui, the Sky Father, Papa-tua-nuku, the Earth Mother, was cramped and dark. Their children could not grow in this environment and were forced to take action to survive and Rangi and Papa were forced apart - creating the world, as we know it today. I have portrayed the part of the story where Tū-mata-uenga struggles to tear Rangi from Papa. Tū-mata-uenga...leapt at the task, hacking wildly at the sinews that bound Earth and Sky, making them bleed. It is with this act that the sacred red clay, or ochre, was made. But even Tū, the fiercest of the sons, could not sever Rangi from his lover Papa.

There are two distinct themes alternating throughout the work. To represent the 'God of War' there are two dominant motives; the semitone, which is used to portray his frustration from his incapability to separate his parents. Secondly, I have used militant rhythmic passages to emphasise the act of war. The second theme is more angular. It reflects another side of Tū-mata-uenga, the more complex 'Spirit of Man'. It leaps and slides around the dissonant augmented 4th interval. Gradually, another more legato melodic line is infused with the angular theme that takes the piece into a calmer section, which has an almost triumphant melodic line.

Commissioned note

Written for the 2005 Composer in Residence role with the NZSO National Youth Orchestra

Performance history

23 Aug 2005: First performed by NZSO National Youth Orchestra conducted by Edwin Outwater at the Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington

29 Aug 2005: Performed by NZSO National Youth Orchestra conducted by Edwin Outwater and recorded by Concert FM in Auckland Town Hall
Featuring: Radio New Zealand Concert

02 Jun 2009: Contemporary Visions 22

01 Apr 2020: CANCELLED — NZSO Podium Series | Passion

01 Apr 2020: CANCELED — NZSO Podium Series | Passion

29 Aug 2020: NZSO Podium Series | Passion

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