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Te Arikinui

for tenor, reo Māori, strings and percussion

Year:  1991   ·  Duration:  9m
Instrumentation:  tenor, strings, and percussion | (triangle, gong, marimba, vibraphone, timpani)

Year:  1991
Duration:  9m
Instrumentation  tenor, strings, and percuss...

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Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal:...

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Sample Score

Sample: pages 4-11

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Te Arikinui for tenor, strings and percussion is an homage to the late Māori Queen, Dame Te Atairangikāhu. Its composition was suggested by the late Dr Mīria Simpson in 1991. In that year, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra travelled to Ngāruawāhia, outside of Hamilton, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Coronation of Dame Te Atairangikāhu. It was Mīria's idea that a piece of music be commissioned for this occasion.

She approached Tīmoti Kāretu of Ngāi Tūhoe for a text befitting this purpose. Late in 1990, she approached myself to compose the music, which I readily agreed to. Unfortunately, the invitation came quite late and there was not enough time to complete the composition. A first version, however, was completed late in 1991 but it was not performed.

An opportunity to perform the piece came in 2003 when Ngāti Kahungunu violinist Elena approached me to support the development of her project entitled 'Elena's Cultural Symphony'. I asked a colleague, Craig Utting, to assist with the scoring of a new version of Te Arikinui. This was completed and the work was then performed as part of 'Elena's Cultural Symphony' in 2004 by members of the then NGC Wellington Symphonia at the Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington. Unfortunately, I was not satisfied with the work and decided to rework the piece.

I revised the piece in 2005 and 2006 and in that time there were a number of attempts to perform the work in the presence of Dame Te Atairangikāhu (including a proposed performance at Government House, Wellington, in honour of Dame Te Ata's 30th anniversary in 2006). Unfortunately, none of these were successful. The work was never performed before her as Dame Te Ata passed away in 2006.

It was not until 2010 when the piece was finally performed in its current version at the WEL Energy Academy of Performing Arts, Waikato University, Hamilton. The occasion was the 'Kīngitanga Day' held at the university each year to celebrate King Tūheitia's birthday on 14 April. And so on that day, 14th April 2010, the piece was finally performed in the presence of the King, with his wife Te Atawhai, in the Academy. It was performed by the Waikato University Orchestra conducted by Adam Maha. Howard McGuire, from Ngāti Kahungunu, was the singer_

Commissioned note

The piece was commissioned by the late Dr Mīria Simpson of Ngāti Awa in 1991.

Difficulty note

Community orchestra, small orchestra

Dedication note

Dedicated to the late Dame Te Atairangikāhu, the Māori Queen who passed away in 2006

Contents note

The piece comprises two sections, the second being a repeat of the first but with voice.

Text note

The text used is by Tīmoti Kāretu.

Performance history

14 Apr 2010: Performed by Howard McGuire (tenor) with the Waikato University Orchestra, conducted by Adam Maha, at the WEL Energy Academy of Performing Arts, Waikato University, Hamilton.

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