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for two SATB choirs, piano and bells

Year:  2008

Year:  2008

David Hamilton

Composer:   David Hamilton

Films, Audio & Samples

David Hamilton: Matariki; v...

External video
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Sample Score

Sample: Page 1 and 2

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Matariki is the Māori name given to a group of stars that rises in the north-east around the end of May each year. This constellation is known traditionally at the Pleiades, and in the ancient world was known from Greece to India. Māori gave names to seven of the stars, and the first moon after the appearance of the stars was celebrated as the Māori New Year. This was a time of feasting (the crops had been gathered and food was plenty), and a time to remember those who had passed away. As with many myths and legends, there are contradictory ideas – some suggest that Matariki is the name of the largest star (with the other stars being her sisters) while others suggest the name refers to the whole cluster.

Māori mythology named the stars of the night sky 'Te Whenua Marama' ('the family of light') – the children of Ranginui the Sky Father and Papatuanuku the Earth Mother. The word Matariki has conflicting origins: some say it is a combination of ‘mata’ (eyes) and ‘Ariki’ (God), while others see it as a combination of ‘mata’ (eyes’ and ‘riki’ (tiny). For this work several traditional texts associated with Matariki are used, each of which presents a different facet of Matariki. No traditional music is used in the work although much of the melodic writing uses rhythmic patterns suggestive of traditional waiata. Bell sounds are also used to suggest the seven stars of Matariki.

Commissioned note

Written for Choralation from Westlake Girls' and Westlake Boys' High Schools and conductor Rowan Johnston

Text note

Text from traditional Māori proverbs

Performance history

16 Jun 2009: Performed by Choralation at Auckland Town Hall in Auckland

02 Sep 2009: NZYC at Warkworth

05 Sep 2009: NZYC at Baradene

Performed by Choralation at the BIG SING National Finale '09, Dunedin Town Hall

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