For full orchestra

The first public performance of Resurgences was given by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kenneth Young at the New Music New Zealand festival in Edinburgh in December 1998.

About the work

Resurgences was written during my 6-week residency at Victoria University of Wellington in 1989.

It is about living away from the sea and being drawn back to ideas of the sea, ideas that are very strong with all New Zealanders — looking out to distant horizons.


Resurgences is scored for: 3 (3 doubling picc)333; 4331; timpani, 3 percussion, harp and strings.

Scores and recordings

Buy or borrow the score from SOUNZ.

Resurgences — SOUNZ

A recording by the NZSO of Resurgences was released by Continuum.

New Zealand Composers — CD


For Whitehead, the piece is very much in the New Zealand tradition, inspired by the geothermal activities around Rotorua, phenomena which she sees as related to the tidal elements that inform other works, including her 1990 string quartet, Moon, Tides and Shoreline.

A densely layered piece, Resurgences features the various sections of the orchestra (including a colourful contribution from percussion) used as both polyphonic voices within the whole work and within their own group of sonorities. Underpinning the score are complex mensural canons, although the listener is not aware of such structural niceties, as volatile shifts of texture and tempo give the score the primeval energy of an Antipodean Rite of Spring.

The landscape is never far from sight.’

— William Dart