Song cycle for soprano and piano
Text by the composer with translations into Māori by Keri Kaa
Awa herea was commissioned by soprano Tracey Chadwell with assistance from Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council (now Creative New Zealand) and the Arts Council of Great Britain. The first performance was given by Tracey Chadwell and Margaret Nielsen (piano) on 15 July 1993 in the Adam Concert Room at Victoria University School of Music.
About the work
I wrote the words for Awa herea as I was travelling round Te Wai Pounamu — the south island of Aotearoa. The title means ‘braided rivers’.
The work is in 8 sections: Vocalise, Karakia, Awa Herea, The Berries, Lake Ianthe, Scale and perspective, The Sandfly, Awa Herea (conclusion).
After a vocalise and karakia, the song Awa Herea draws on imagery of the east coast rivers. It suggests that a single thread, though strong, has an end — 2 threads, woven together, are much stronger.
The Berries describes a scene walking from Ship Cove in the Marlborough Sounds. Lake Ianthe reacts to a beautiful scene where there is knowledge that behind the fringe of beauty the forest is being clear felled, while Scale and perspective and The Sandfly deal with the comparative length of life cycles. The final section concludes the work; many strands woven together form an enduring, infinite, colourful cloth.
Scores and recordings
Buy or borrow the score and recordings from SOUNZ.
The full work has been recorded by Tracey Chadwell.
One movement, Karakia, has been recorded by Mere Boynton.
The first movement, Vocalise, is included in an educational resource for primary schools.