Angel at Ahipara
I. The Angel holds vigil at the grave
II. The Angel sings her hymn of hope
III. The Angel makes the spirit soar
IV. The Angel brings joy
V. The Angel calms the storm
VI. The Angel sounds music from heaven
VII. The Angel holds vigil at the grave
In the isolated settlement of Ahipara, in the far north of the North Island of New Zealand, a tiny white church sits on a hillock looking out to a range of low brooding hills. In the cemetery below, an angel stands on a pedestal at the head of a grave. Her arm is aloft and her hand points skywards. One day in 1992, renowned New Zealand photographer Robin Morrison came to the church and captured the essence of the angel’s vigil in a memorable and famous image.
In late 1997, Christopher Blake travelled to Ahipara and stood in the same place. The music captures the hope and desolation of the angel and the memory of the soul over which she stands guard. The work was created for conductor Andrew Sewell and is based, at his suggestion, on a passage from an earlier work, 'We All Fall Down' for obbligato cello and orchestra.
The music depicts aspects of the angel’s pervasive and serene presence.
Recorded 20 June 2019, Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington by RNZ Concert
Producer: David McCaw
Engineer: Graham Kennedy