1971 Music

Te āhua, te atārangi

Chamber ensemble (2-7 players)

For string quartet

Te āhua, te atārangi was the winning work in the 1971 string quartet competition sponsored by APRA, the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation and the New Zealand Music Federation (now Chamber Music New Zealand). It remains unperformed, as does the work Lyell Cresswell entered which was the runner-up.

About the work

Te āhua te ātārangi is an extremely difficult piece.

The title translates as the form (appearance), the shadow, and refers to the form I was experimenting with, in which a series of 4 movements are followed by short interludes that negate the gestures of the preceding movement. So something low and slow might be contrasted with something high and rapid and short.

I think this way of writing might have come from a dream I had as a child, when I looked down the road and saw 2 figures walking towards me from the distance. Suddenly the scene went from colour to sepia and the figures rushed towards me, with a sensation of terror, then back to normal colour and normal pace, then again sepia and rapid movement, and terror. Strange, as I didn’t see a lot of cinema.


Contact me if you would like to see the score.