Programme | Hōtaka

Part 2 of our series exploring past winners and nominees of the SOUNZ Contemporary Award | Te Tohu Auaha.

Salina Fisher: Tōrino, echoes on pūtōrino improvisations by Rob Thorne (Winner 2017). Salina writes: “Discovering the music of Taonga Pūoro artist Rob Thorne has been the most deeply moving listening experience in my recent memory. I was mesmerized by the many powerful and haunting voices that Thorne could produce through one instrument in particular, the pūtōrino, and felt compelled to explore further and respond musically. My sincerest thanks, Rob, for your incredible openness, generosity, knowledge, support, and guidance through this beginning of a very special journey.”

Lyell Cresswell: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (Winner 2011). Lyell writes: “Movements 3, 4, 5 and 6 were written before Edward (Harper) died, but he was already ill with cancer and the whole concerto was written under the shadow of this.

The first movement, Funeral March, opens with a sequence of low six-note chords in the piano. These chords provide the basis for the complete concerto and are treated in various contrasting ways in each movement. The orchestra becomes an extension of the piano, sustaining these chords and taking them where the piano can’t go. The concerto is not a confrontation between soloist and orchestra – the piano is more like another section of the orchestra. A slow throbbing, but varying, pulse runs through the Funeral March – first in the harp, sometimes the timpani, sometimes pizzicato and, at the climax, with brass and woodwind. In the following tranquil Adagio the six-note chords are turned into serene melodic lines with quiet sustained chords in the strings. The first scherzo is short, fast and restless. The central movement, Addolorato (distressed, grieved, upset), is, in turn, slow and reflective (in the piano), and querulous and disturbing (in the orchestra), posing questions rather than offering solutions. The second scherzo is fast, light and fleeting – with a hushed centre. The second Adagio is composed of slow, unsettled and quiet chords leading to an angry outburst at the climax, and the pace in the final presto is only interrupted briefly with some reference to Adagio 1.”

Salina FisherTōrino, echoes on pūtōrino improvisations by Rob Thorne (Winner 2017)
Performed by the New Zealand String Quartet: Helene Pohl and Monique Lapins (violins), Gillian Ansell (viola) and Rolf Gjelsten (cello)

Lyell CresswellConcerto for Piano and Orchestra (Winner 2011)
Performed by Stephen De Pledge (piano) and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Benjamin Northey

Approximate running time | Te roa: 45 minutes