warm fuzzies

there are times when you wonder why on earth you decided to do what you do. but then you get those moments where you’re like, hell yeah, how could i possibly do anything else. i had a moment last night. i was commissioned late last year to write a new work for soprano and strings for westlake chamber orchestra, to take on tour to europe. it’s a setting of a te reo text called Tiaho Mai (“Shine Forth”) by Na Pania Papa. a kind of spectral/harmonic orchestral treatment under/alongside a very testing expressive vocal line, all sorts of quartertones, harmonics, cross-rhythms in the strings (these are high school students!). having heard them early on in rehearsals i thought perhaps the piece was a dud, that i’d been reckless and silly with my orchestration… then they performed last night at the KBB festival (secondary schools orchestra competition) and just totally nailed it. their performance showed a real cohesion and understanding of the stuff of the music, the layers, the dialogues, the space of the work, which i have to say is quite rare. the silence at the end of the piece was spectacular. a woman i knew came up to me after the performance and told me she teared up. so i want to thank Mark Bennett (conductor), Michaela Cadwgan (soprano), and everyone involved in the orchestra for giving me a hell yeah moment. very proud to be a Westlake old boy and to have the privilege to write for such open-minded, conscientious and musical performers. cheers

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