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Purakaunui was commissioned by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for inclusion in their series entitled NZSO In Miniature, and is designed for community and schools audiences. The music was inspired by the beautiful seaside settlement of Purakaunui, situated near Dunedin, where the composer owns a holiday house.
The beginning of the piece evokes the inlet early in the morning, with the quiet chatter of birds and shimmering of the sun on the sea. The oboe plays a bird call and it is answered on the flute and other wind instruments. The quiet throb of marimba and harp describes the tide slowly creeping into the inlet, and a soulful violin plays. The violin recalls sad times in Purakaunui's past, the hard struggle for survival among the local Maori and the destruction of Nature: the bird life, whales, the bush.
These thoughts are left behind as the music brightens into a climax and becomes much faster. It is summer in Purakaunui and children play in the inlet, swing from ropes, and jump off jetties into the sea. The sleepy village has become hive of activity, and peoples' spirits are raised as they forget their troubles.
Commissioned by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Dedicated to Annabelle
11 Sep 2012: Performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra at King's High School in Dunedin.
13 Sep 2012: Performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra at Girl's High School in Timaru.