A week ago today my new work for organ and orchestra, "Tiraki", was premiered by the Auckland Philharmonia.
It went fantastically well, I was very happy, as was my fantastic organist, Nick Forbes. The overall structure worked, we developed an exciting organ part and the orchestrations were exactly how I envisioned.
Thanks to everyone who came to the concert or tuned in live on Radio NZ and provided us with such positive comments about the piece.
Congratulations also goes to the wonderful David Hamilton, Anthony Young, Robbie Ellis, Ben Hoadley and Chris Adams for their superb premieres.
Here is an interview from Radio New Zealand's Arts On Sunday programme on 26th May with Hamish McKeich, Kerry Stevens, Nick Forbes and myself talking about the collaboration and concert (recorded before the concert, broadcast after the concert).
I am super excited to have my work for organ and orchestra, "Tiraki", premiered next week by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra with the superb Nick Forbes on organ.
Organ Spectacular - 8pm, Thursday 23rd May, Auckland Town Hall, BUY TICKETS HERE
David Hamilton, Chimera, John Wells
Anthony Young, Theme & Variations for Organ & Orchestra, Rachael Griffiths-Hughes
Robbie Ellis, Relish in Immature Bombast, Timothy Noon (+ Jono Sawyer drumkit)
Ryan Youens, Tiraki, Nicholas Forbes
Ben Hoadley, Huia, Indra Hughes
Chris Adams, Mahuika, Nicholas Sutcliffe
Here is a collation of various details about my work:
'Tiraki' is a verb meaning 'to clear the sky of clouds'. In it I have explored the different layerings and textures created between the organ and orchestra, illustrating the nature and behaviour of the clouds. The work is structured in three sections and focuses entirely on the programmatic meaning of 'Tiraki'.
The first 'rather angry' section is very dense and fast moving with surprises along the way - representing a storm. The middle 'mysteriously calm' section is the calm after the storm - the music empties out but retains a slightly ominous feel to it. It finishes with a 'pleasantly refreshing' section where the music, and the clouds, gather life and a playful spirit once again.
It has been an absolute pleasure combining the two kings of music - an organ and a symphony orchestra - with an idea that had been simmering away for some time. Huge thanks goes to Nicholas Forbes who has been a superb collaborator and to the Auckland Philharmonia for this opportunity.
Q AND A WITH SOUNZ
1. You’ve talked about using single-note melodies in the organ part – do you also use a range of organ stops to compare with various orchestral instruments?
2. What particular ideas did Nicholas bring to the development of the piece?
3. What do you want listeners to take away with them after hearing the piece?
Q AND A WITH THE APO
1. things you discovered about the Town Hall organAfter my first tour of the organ I was absolutely blown away with its complexity and beauty - which of course most people never get to see. While the possibilities are (almost!) endless, it became clear early that I was never going to be able to show off all of it and I needed to stick with the sound world of 'Tiraki' and the stops that supported that.
2. what you utilised in particular of the organ in your pieceThere are huge heavily chordal climaxes in 'Tiraki' where the organ can easily overpower the orchestra, then there are light, playful, polyphonic passages where the organ is on par with the woodwinds. So I've utilised the massive capabilities of volume and texture and also the function that goes with that - where the orchestra and organ can really fight each other and develop huge tension, or can work together amazingly well towards a single goal.
3. how your piece may have evolved as you learned more about the organI really had no idea how an organ worked before this opportunity. That soon changed, but with loads of experience in orchestral writing, the initial orchestrations are what gave me my first insight into how the piece was going to evolve. I knew I didn't want the organ always in the forefront, but rather let it have moments and then let it sink into the texture and play other functions above that of a soloist. So I think what developed during the process for me was how quickly and easily you could change colours, the extent in which you could change them and how much those changes affected where the organ sat in the overall texture.
4. what you like most about the organ part for your pieceOne of my favourite passages is in the middle of the work where the strings have sustained chords mixed with glissandi and the organ has high, clean and clear thematic lines, occasionally highlighted by the woodwinds, over a very low, very breathy and pulsating rumble - such contrasts which are only simultaneously possible on the organ.
5. what you are looking forward to most about the performance of the piece in MayJust to hear a really great concert of new organ music - the pieces are all so different so it's going to be a great night. Us composers have all heard the pieces in various stages during 2012, with different ideas being tried and options explored - so I'm just really looking forward to hearing the final versions, to see how we've all used the organ differently and how we've all tamed the beautiful beast that is the Auckland Town Hall Organ.