Large Ensemble

Tirea (1978) - 23 minutes (SOUNZ)

ob, vln, vc, hpd, strings

I began using the Māori names for the phases of the moon as titles in this piece; tirea the second day of the new moon, is a good day for planting and fishing. Some technical aspects of Tirea (pitch, texture and rhythm) are derived from the proportions and symmetries of the magic square of the moon, of European or Middle Eastern origin (in which horizontals, verticals and diagonals all add up to the same number).

The overall three-movement form has something in common with the Brandenburg Concertos in its pitting of a concertino (oboe, harpsichord, violin, cello) against a body of strings, but the detail, although largely canonically conceived, is very different from that of Bach. The first movement is tripartite, with the third section a varied recapitulation of the first. A harpsichord solo leads into the second movement, which makes some use of octave figurations, while the third picks up tempo and energy.

Tirea was commissioned by Contemporary Baroque Ensemble with funds from Arts Council of Great Britain, and was written when I was composer-in-residence for Northern Arts (UK)

Antiphons (1980) - 10 minutes (SOUNZ)

3 tpts, 2 hn, 3 tbn, tba

First performance: Trident Brass Ensemble, Newcastle Festival, 1980 Written while composer-in-residence for Northern Arts (U.K.)

Programme Notes to come.

Napier’s Bones (1989) - 35 minutes (SOUNZ)

24 percussion and improvising piano

I wrote Napier's Bones to involve the improvising talents of Judy Bailey, Sydney-based but who grew up like me in Whangarei, New Zealand. The piano part is almost entirely improvised, although the pianist is given basic material to work with. There are various forms of interaction with the ensemble for the soloist – call and response, elaboration of harmonic patterns, decoration of percussion textures, improvised duets with percussion instruments, free solo improvisation. Detail will vary greatly from performance to performance, although the shape of the piece, which encompasses many speeds, moods and textures in its single movement, remains constant. The title has many resonances, but the Napier referred to is Sir John Napier, the inventor of logarithms, and Napier's bones in Africa were strips of ebony and ivory used for calculating, suggesting to me both rhythmic complexity and the layout of a keyboard.,/

Commissioned by Judy Bailey it was written as a companion piece to Charles Wuorinen's percussion symphony, and funded by the Performing Arts Board of the Australia Council. The first performance was given by Judy Bailey and the Sydney Percussion Ensemble conducted by Graeme Leak at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 1990.

Napier’s Bones (1995) - 35 minutes

6 virtuoso perc. and improvising piano

I wrote Napier's Bones to involve the improvising talents of Judy Bailey, Sydney-based but who grew up like me in Whangarei, New Zealand. The piano part is almost entirely improvised, although the pianist is given basic material to work with. There are various forms of interaction with the ensemble for the soloist – call and response, elaboration of harmonic patterns, decoration of percussion textures, improvised duets with percussion instruments, free solo improvisation. Detail will vary greatly from performance to performance, although the shape of the piece, which encompasses many speeds, moods and textures in its single movement, remains constant. The title has many resonances, but the Napier referred to is Sir John Napier, the inventor of logarithms, and Napier's bones in Africa were strips of ebony and ivory used for calculating, suggesting to me both rhythmic complexity and the layout of a keyboard.

The larger work of the same name for 24 percussion instruments was arranged by the composer fo an ensemble of six virtuoso percussionists which was performed by Judy Bailey and the New Zealand Percussion Ensemble, conducted by Kenneth Young, in the Wellington Town Hall during the 1996 New Zealand Composing Women's Festival.

Hineteiwaiwa (2006) - 20 minutes (SOUNZ)

Kaikaranga (traditional Maōri woman singer), taonga pūoro, and ensemble (fl/picc, fl/afl, bsn, harp, string quartet, percussion (marimba, unpitched wooden and shaken instruments, bass drum, high drum)).

Text: Aroha Yates-Smith

Hineteiwaiwa is a wahine atua – a Māori goddess – the exemplary wife and mother who provided the pattern that all women follow. She assists at the entrances to and exits from this world, with rituals concerning the tattooing of the lips prior to marriage, with the raising of tapu, and she is credited by some iwi with the introduction of weaving into the culture. Generally, she supports the role of women in traditional society.

Hineteiwaiwa was written at the time when Tungia Baker, herself a wahine toa, or woman of strength, was dying, and is dedicated to her memory.

In the improvisatory sections, which are guided and shaped by the taonga pūoro player, there are few indications in the score. Generally, the improvisations involve the percussionist. Maōri texts, devised and sung by the Kaikaranga, may be integrated into these sections. Commissioned by Creative New Zealand, the first performance was given by ERGO Ensemble, cond. Alex Pauk, with Aroha Yates-Smith and Richard Nunns, in Toronto.

(N.B. Hineteiwaiwa can be performed without voice, but must involve taonga pūoro)