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Anthony Ritchie: Gouache - ...Embedded audio
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Gouache is the final movement from the orchestra suite Portrait of FH, a work about the life of artist Frances Hodgkins. At the premiere the music was interspersed with readings from Hodgkins' diaries, and prints of her paintings were shown. However, the music can be performed without the multi-media aspect fo the work.
Gouache is strange and colourful in sound, reflecting some of those extraordinary late works of the artist. (Gouache is a heavier and more opaque medium compared with water colours, with a binding agent added into the mixture.) There is also struggle and pain in this music, and it attempts to become heroic in tone towards the end, before collapsing into an unresolved ending. Hodgkins had to struggle very hard for recognition during her life, and endured a great deal of loneliness in the pursuit of her art. The artist herself is symbolized in the music by the presence of the piano, an instrument she enjoyed playing. All movements are connected by the use of a musical motif, F-B which, when using the traditional German note names, spell F-H. This motif, representing Frances, is also a reference to the whimsical, poignant self-portraits she painted.
Commissioned by The Southern Sinfonia for the Dunedin Heritage Festival 2009
Dedicated to Marshall Seifert
28 Nov 2013: New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Hamish McKeich (conductor). Recorded by RNZ Concert as part of the 2013 NZSO-RNZ Concert-SOUNZ Recordings.