Te Tai-o-Rēhua translates from Māori as ‘The Tasman Sea’ – the turbulent body of water that separates New Zealand from Australia. The piece was co-commissioned by the Goldner Quartet and Chamber Music New Zealand in honour of the 21st anniversary of the Wellington and Sydney sister-city relationship in 2013.
Throughout his life Gareth Farr (b 1968) has often lived near the sea, and it has been a frequent inspiration for him in his composing. In this work he uses an unusual scale built out of minor thirds and minor seconds, which contributes to the dark mood of the piece. The melodies are very rhythmically constructed with irregular phrase lengths to keep the work unpredictable, and the highly virtuosic nature of much of the writing offers a challenge to the abilities of the players.
(Notes by Roger Smith)