New Zealand works on tour in Heartland Classics

07 July 2016 / Composer Focus

We’re really excited to be sharing two outstanding New Zealand works with audiences on our Heartland Classics tour in August this year.

Dame Gillian Whitehead’s Poroporoaki is based on transcriptions of traditional Maori instruments, including the putatara (shell trumpet), karanga manu (bird caller) tumutumu (whale jawbone with wood beater), poi awhiowhio (a gourd swung in the air to attract birds) and putorino (a ‘bugle’ flute).

We premiered the work in China last year, with Dame Gillian present. She writes:

“Hearing Poroporoaki (which translates as ‘calls of farewell’) in Hangzhou, at a conference celebrating Jack Body and his commitment to transcription and collaboration, was quite poignant. It was a farewell to Jack, an acknowledgement of Richard Nunns' retirement as the pre-eminent taonga puoro player (transcription of his playing was the backbone of my piece, dedicated to him), and that performance was also Douglas Beilman's final official appearance with the quartet. Three very significant farewells. And it was wonderful to see and hear the enthusiasm of the quartet imbuing my score with the detailed memories of Richard's playing.”

Poroporoaki will be performed in Porirua, Martinborough, Rotorua, Invercargill and Blenheim.

Gareth Farr’s Te Tai-O-Rehua takes its name from the Maori name for the Tasman Sea. In this piece, Gareth uses unusual melodies and rhythms to evoke the rather dark and unpredictable nature of the turbulent waters that separate us from Australia.

The piece was co-commissioned by the Goldner Quartet and Chamber Music New Zealand in 2013, in honour of the 21st anniversary of the Wellington and Sydney sister-city relationship. The Goldner Quartet premiered the piece in performances around New Zealand and, at the time, Chamber Music New Zealand recorded an interview with Gareth in which he talks about the development of the piece. Here’s a snippet of that interview, shared with the kind permission of CMNZ. 


You can hear Gareth’s Te Tai-O-Rehua in our concerts in Whanganui, Palmerston North, Wellington, Blenheim, and Geraldine.

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