2003 Music


Chamber ensemble (2-7 players)

For oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon and piano

Quintet was commissioned by Chamber Music New Zealand, with funding from Creative New Zealand, for the Brisbane-based Southern Cross Soloists. They gave the first performance as part of a national tour at the Regent on Broadway in Palmerston North on 10 July 2003.

About the work

Because of the limitations of range of the instruments (only the piano has extremes of range), their different tuning systems and the fact that only the clarinet among the wind instruments has possibilities of extended techniques, this piece explores more ‘classical’ ideas than some of the other pieces I wrote around this time.

Quintet is in a single movement with several sections. The work uses a set of 6 notes as its basic idea: sounded together they have a restless quality, but the structure of the set provides both diversity and connection between the sound worlds of the piece.

At the outset, a variety of ideas and textures are presented, not unlike moment form, but not using the extremities of 20th century moment form. A second section, over a piano pedal, initiates an exchange between the bassoon and other instruments. This leads to a rapid scherzo-like section, with a monodic trio. It is closely followed by a slow movement, based on a close-range melody that is a tribute to Hirini Melbourne, who died during the writing of this section. The oboe cadenza which follows is the structural centre of the quartet, and is followed by a reworking in reverse of the material already presented. The ending leaves the piece unresolved.

Score and recording

Buy or borrow the score from SOUNZ.

Quintet — SOUNZ

Quintet was recorded as part of SOUNZ’s Resound project.

Quintet — video



A landscape prelude for piano

Arapātiki was commissioned by Stephen De Pledge with funding from Creative New Zealand. It is one of 12 landscape preludes by New Zealand composers that he commissioned and premiered at the New Zealand Festival in 2008.

About the work

Arapātiki translates as ‘the path of the flounder’ and is the old name of the sandflats in front of my house at Harwood, on the Otago Peninsula.

The piece has to do with the advance and retreat of the tide across the flats, where many species of sea and water birds spend much of their day — an ever-varying waterscape. The opening flourish is based on the sound of the korimako or bellbird.

Kenneth Young recorded an introduction to all the landscape preludes for SOUNZ’s Resound project.

Landscape Preludes: introduction — RNZ

Stephen de Pledge talks about the project to SOUNZ.

The Landscape Preludes — Youtube

Scores and recordings

Buy or borrow the score and CDs from SOUNZ.

Arapātiki — SOUNZ

Arapātiki has been released on 3 CDs, each recording by a different pianist.

Shadows crossing water — CD

Landscape Preludes — CD

Arapātiki — CD

Hear and watch Stephen de Pledge give the premiere of the work in 2008.

Arapātiki — video

Arapātiki — audio

Potiki’s memory of stone

Works with taonga pūoro, Film and theatre

Incidental music for taonga pūoro

Play by Briar Grace-Smith

The first performance of Potiki’s memory of stone was given at the Court Theatre in Christchurch in July 2003. The incidental music uses taonga pūoro played by Richard Nunns and realised by Steve Garden.

About the work

Briar Grace’s play is about a young greenstone carver, Potiki who knows there is a dark secret surrounding his childhood. On the South Island’s west coast, 2 Māori carvers, Tam and Manaaki, went searching for a sacred greenstone boulder 20 years previously. They took Potiki, Manaaki’s little son with them. Something terrible happened that day to wreak havoc on all involved. To uncover the truth behind this greenstone trail Potiki must piece together a series of memories.

Get the manuscript

Playmarket provides information about the play and performance rights.

Potiki’s memory of stone — Playmarket

Postcards from Harwood

Solo voice

Settings of 5 haiku for voice and piano

Texts by the Otago Peninsula Writing Group

Postcards from Harwood was written to celebrate my friend and colleague, John Elmsly’s 50th birthday and is dedicated to him.

The first performance was given by Glenese Blake (soprano) and Richard Liu (piano) on 28 July 28 2002 in a Karlheinz concert in the Music Theatre at the University of Auckland.

About the work

The piece sets 5 haiku — all evocations of aspects of the Otago peninsula — written by members of the Otago Peninsula Writing Group: Kay Sinclair (1 and 4), Joyce Whitehead (2) and the composer (3 and 5).


Buy or borrow the score from SOUNZ.

Postcards from Harwood — SOUNZ