Voice and 1 or 2 Instruments

Riddles 2 (1973) - 20 minutes (SOUNZ)

soprano and piano

poems: Bill Manhire

To listen to audio, click here

Riddles 2 is the setting of five riddle poems, written by Bill Manhire in the Nordic tradition of such poetry. There are no given solutions - the solution is that of the listener. The piece was written in 1973, and the first performance given by Jane Manning and Margaret Nielsen in the Wellington University Theatre in 1978.

Requiem (1981) - 22 minutes, (Waiteata Music Press)

Soprano and organ, with or without dance component

Text: excerpts from the Requiem Mass

Requiem was written while I was composer-in-residence for Northern Arts (U.K.) in response to a commission from English Dance theatre for a piece for voice and organ to be danced in a number of British cathedrals over the summer. Unfortunately, the company dissolved before the project was put in place, but Requiem was subsequently staged in Wellington's Sonic Circus. The piece stands alone without the dance component.

The main sections of the Requiem Mass are set, but only excerpts from the Dies Irae.

Pao (1981) -15 minutes (SOUNZ)

Soprano, clar, piano

Text: translations of pao from a collection published by Margaret Orbell

Pao is the name given by Māori to two-lined epigrammatic songs which comment on a wide range of subjects such as love, war, politics or religion, often topical, often improvised. Most of the songs set here were collected in 1864 from Māori prisoners captured during the land wars in the Waikato area south of Auckland. The couplets are not connected in any way except for the central group, set for unaccompanied voice, concerning Pikeri, a character famous at the time for his escapades evading the police; in this instance, enforced separation during a love affair is charted.

Margaret Orbell’s English translations of these pao, published in her Māori Poetry, an introductory anthology (Heinemann, 1978), are used with her kind permission.

Pao was commissioned by the Northumberland-based Syrinx Trio, with financial assistance from Northern Arts. First perf: Syrinx trio, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1981

These Isles your dream (1983) - 16 mins (SOUNZ)

mezzo, viola, piano

Text: Kathleen Raine

First perf: Elizabeth Lamb with others, Carlisle, UK, c. 1983

Awa Herea (1993) - 23 mins (SOUNZ)

Soprano and piano

Text: by the composer with sections translated into Māori by Keri Kaa

Commissioned by Tracey Chadwell with funding from the Arts Councils of New Zealand and Great Britain.

First perf: Tracey Chadwell and Margaret Nielsen, Victoria University, July 1993.

Recorded on Tracey Chadwell’s Songbook BMS420/421CD.

Haiku (1995) - 9 mins (SOUNZ)

Voice, viola, piano (larger ensemble version also exists)

Text: Alan Wells

To listen to audio, click here

Written to celebrate Douglas Lilburn’s 80th birthday, Haiku is a setting of 21 haiku written by Alan Wells, published in "The New Zealand Haiku Anthology", edited by Cyril Childs (Wellington: The New Zealand Poetry Society Inc., 1993), and used with the kind permission of the poet. The haiku are concisely set; they draw on imagery both local and universal. Haiku, originally written for instrumental ensemble to celebrate Douglas Lilburn's eightieth birthday, was rearranged and given its first performance IN 1996 by the Dunedin-based Lyric Trio (Ana Good, Rebecca Maurice, Joyce Whitehead)

Girl with Guitar (2000) - 8 minutes (SOUNZ)

Mezzo-soprano, cello, piano

Setting of Ruth Dallas' sequence of the same name

First performance: Panache, in Like Flowers in Rain, a celebration of the writings of Ruth Dallas, Globe Theatre, Otago Festival, 2000.

Girl with a guitar sets seven short poems taken, with the poet's kind permission, from Ruth Dallas - Collected Poems (Otago University Press, 2000). The first performance was given by Panache, as part of a celebration of Ruth Dallas's poetry, in a multi-media production, 'Like flowers in rain. The subject matter, drawing largely on nature images, is reflected in the titles: Autumn Leaves, Flowering Thorn, By the Sea, Boat Moored to a Willow, The Shining Moon, Tree on the Cliffs and On the Plains.

Two Frame Songs (2004) – 4 minutes (Composer)

mezzo-soprano, violin, piano

Poems: Janet Frame

I set these two poems for performance at Janet Frame's Memorial Service in February 2004. They were sung by Ana Good, with Sandra Crawshaw (violin) and Joyce Whitehead (piano).

Postcards from Harwood (2003) - 6 minutes (SOUNZ)

Soprano and piano

Text: haiku by Otago Peninsula writing group

Postcards from Harwood was written to celebrate John Elmsly's 50th birthday, and was given its first performance in a Karlheinz concert in the Music Theatre at the University of Auckland by Glenese Blake (soprano) and Richard Liu (piano) on July 28th, 2002.

Almost an Island (2005) - 7 minutes (SOUNZ)

Mezzo- soprano, piano

Setting of haiku by Otago Peninsula writer’s group

...almost an island... refers to the Otago Peninsula, where the composer lives. This piece was written as a wedding present for my then neighbours, Breffni and Dave. These are settings of haiku written by people who live or have lived on the Peninsula. First performance: Ana Good, Joyce Whitehead, Dunedin Composers’ Group, Marama Hall, 2005.

Camelot (2008) - 25 minutes (SOUNZ)

Mezzo-soprano, piano, bassoon

Text: Glenn Colquhoun

Three very short pieces suitable for intermediate performers, written while I was a student at the University of Sydney.

Camelot, a collaboration between Glenn Colquhoun and Gillian Whitehead, is a response to a visit by ten artists on the Breaksea Girl, skippered by Lance Shaw and Ruth Dalley, to Dusky and Doubtful Sounds in Fiordland, and particularly to a trip up Camelot, the river that flows into Gaer Arm in Doubtful Sound. Glenn's poems, cryptic and spare, relate to old Chinese poetic forms, and the cycle traces the poet's travelling up the river, and, changed by what he learns, his return to the open water. The titles of the poems draw on imagery pertinent to this journey. One thing that was made very apparent on that journey was the extent of the degradation of the environment, because of the depredations of deer, goats, rats, possums and other pests, which have made the forest a silent place, where biodiversity is acutely threatened.

The first performance of Camelot took place in St Paul's Cathedral, Dunedin on 8th October, 2008, during the Otago Festival of the Arts. Both the performances and the journey to the sounds were devised as a fund-raiser by the Caselberg Trust, which was raising money to purchase the Broad Bay house of Anna and John Caselberg, for use by resident artists. The performers were Janet Roddick (voice), Emma Sayers (piano) and Ben Hoadley (bassoon).

F-Wh-Fugue (2008)

Mezzo-soprano, male voices, piano, bassoon

Text: Claire Beynon

F/Wh/Fugue evolved during a six-day journey by ten artists to Dusky and Doubtful Sounds in Fiordland, and particularly to the Camelot River, which drains into Gaer Arm in Doubtful Sound. Both the journey and the performance were part of a fund-raising drive by the Caselberg Trust, to complete the purchase of the Broad Bay house, (that belonged to John and Anna Caselberg), for use as an artists' residency.

F/Wh/Fugue was first performed on October 8th by Ana Good (mezzo), Joyce Whitehead (piano), Ben Hoadley (bassoon) and a male voice ensemble from the St Paul's Cathedral choir led by David Burchall. Resonant ceramic vessels, modelled on the steep sides of the fiords and made by Katherine Glenday and decorated by Claire Beynon, to be incorporated into the performance, when they were played by Claire Beynon and Greg O'Brien.

Three Windows on the Weather (2008) - 8 minutes (SOUNZ)

Spoken voice, piano, bassoon

Text: 3 poems by Greg O’Brien

First perf. Greg O’Brien, Emma Sayers, Ben Hoadley, St Paul’s Cathedral, Otago Arts Festival, 8th October, 2008.

Recorded on the CD for Noel Sanders' biography of GW Moon, Tides and Shoreline, published by Steele Roberts, ISBN978-1-877577-04-8

Three Windows on the Weather was written after a six-day visit to Dusky and Doubtful Sounds in Fiordland in October 2007. Ten artists (poets, visual artists, a composer and a film-maker) travelled on the Breaksea Girl to create work as a fund-raiser for the Caselberg Trust, who are restoring the Broad Bay house of Anna and John Caselberg for use for artist residencies. Richard Henry was possibly New Zealand's first conservationist, who rescued kakapo and other endangered birds, creating a sanctuary on Resolution Island, until, several years later, he saw a stoat swimming nearby, and realised the sanctuary was compromised. The second poem, Wet Jacket Arm, makes reference to the threatened biodiversity of the region, and the third refers to a gale experienced one night on the Breaksea Girl. The first performance was in St Paul's Cathedral in the Otago Festival of the Arts on October 8th, 2008.

Cicadas (2011), - 7 minutes (SOUNZ)

soprano and harp

Text: Rachel Bush

The harpist Helen Webby commissioned a set of short pieces for harp, or harp and voice. Commissioned by harpist Helen Webby with funding from Creative New Zealand

Uninvited House (2011) - 15 minutes (Composer)

Mezzo-soprano and piano

Text: Rachel Bush

Commissioned by Amanda Cole with funding from Creative New Zealand

Thin Ice (2013) - 4 minutes (SOUNZ)

soprano, mezzo- soprano, percussion (vibraphone, resaresa)

Written to celebrate the Australian ensemble Halcyon's fifteenth birthday, the title, and first stanza of the piece is Claire Beynon's short poem Thin Ice, and the remainder of the text derives from a collaborative poem, It is all one water, with edited by Claire with contributions from writers in several countries - Marylinn Kelly, Kay McKenzie-Cook, Pam Morrison, Elizabeth Hanscombe, Therese Clear and Scott Odom.