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The glittering hosts of heaven

for orchestra and seven soloists

Year:  2013   ·  Duration:  25m
Instrumentation:  23*2*3*; 4431; timp., 2 perc.; harp; solo fl., cl., vln., vla., vlc., tbn., vibes; strings | (Perc: bass drum, crotales, snare drum, tam-tam, susp. cymbal)

Year:  2013
Duration:  25m
Instrumentation  23*2*3*; 4431; timp., 2 per...

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"There is – though I do not know how there is or why there is – a sense of infinite peace and protection in the glittering hosts of heaven. There it must be, I think, in the vast and eternal laws of matter, and not in the daily cares and sins and troubles of men, that whatever is more than animal within us must find its solace and its hope." – H.G. Wells

When I stumbled upon this quote by H.G. Wells, I knew I had found a sentiment that was entirely appropriate for the mood of my piece – neither prescriptive nor programmatic in tone, it sums up the universal sense of wonder we have when contemplating not only the physical vastness of space but what may be thought of as the ‘other’.

Like Wells with his sense of speculation, I have aimed to write music that conjures up a similar air of mystery and wonder. Rather than being descriptive, like Holst’s The Planets, it is a sonic springboard for me, the players and listeners to consider what it is that surrounds us, that gives us protection, solace and hope. The music ranges freely from high glittering passages to slow contemplative events and serene passages, but overall is searching and restless in tone, as befits a questioning spirit.

The seven soloists acknowledge the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades. At Matariki, New Year in the Maori calendar, there is renewed respect for the land, and thoughts turn to the past and the future, including the legacy of parents. The glittering hosts of heaven is dedicated to my beloved parents.

Commissioned note

Commissioned by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

Difficulty note

Suitable for a professional orchestra

Dedication note

to my parents

Contents note

Single movement

Performance history

14 Jun 2013: Performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Pietari Inkinen, with Bridget Douglas (flute), Philip Green (clarinet), David Bremner (trombone), Leonard Sakofsky (vibraphone), Vesa-Matti Leppanen (violin), Julia Joyce (viola), Andrew Joyce (cello), at the Michael Fowler Centre, in Wellington.

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