This concert at the 2023 Auckland Arts Festival celebrates New Zealand's wildlife. Kiwi composers and performers have come together to create original music that is inspired by the force of nature. The idea behind the music is to reflect nature’s fragility and highlight the threats it faces.
- NZTrio: Amalia Hall (violin), Ashley Brown (cello), and Somi Kim (piano)
- Rob Thorne (taonga puoro)
- Kathryn Moorhead (flute)
- Peter Scholes (clarinet)
- Yoshiko Tsuruta (percussion)
The concert was recorded at the Concert Chamber of the Auckland Town Hall.
We start with a piece for taonga puoro. Rob Thorne plays his own piece on the māori flute, the pūtōrino. Here he is with Te Manawa o Raukatauri.
The next piece is inspired by New Zealand’s native bush and includes birdcalls by kiwi, kākāpō, tūī, korimako, takahē, pango pango, and ruru. It was composed by Andrew Perkins and is performed by Kathryn Moorhead on flute, Peter Scholes on clarinet, and Ashley Brown on cello. Here they are with Ngā Manu o te Ngahere – Birds of the Forest.
Ashley Brown now stays on stage and is joined by his bandmates Amalia Hall on violin, and pianist Somi Kim. Together they are NZTrio and now play He Awa Whiria – Braided River by Patrick Shepherd. The piece describes the organic growth of a braided river as it constantly changes its flow and shape. The musical motives of the piece also shift and change constantly.
And now it’s time for violinist Amalia Hall to remain on stage. She’s about to be joined by Taonga Puoro player Rob Thorne. Together they perform a piece by Wellington composer Salina Fisher. It’s called Toroa – Albatross. Those magnificent birds mate for life, which Fisher reflected in the piece. The violin is one bird, and the taonga puoro instruments represent its mate.
Now we have a piece for the entire ensemble by Peter Scholes. To explain the piece, here is the description by the composer: “It is a still night in the forest and I hear the sound of falling twigs, leaves, berries as part of the self-sustaining cycle of death, decay and growth. I explore this process from the perspective of the forest floor from initial collisions, build-up of litter, insect activity and through chemical processes which then nourish new life. Our soils are deteriorating due to erosion and intensive farming. The burning of forests and tussock grasslands, the introduction of pests, the draining of wetlands, and loss of habitat through development are just some of the major factors that have contributed to more than 50 extinctions.”
The performers are: Kathryn Moorhead – flute, Peter Scholes – clarinet, Amalia Hall – violin, Rob Thorne – taonga puoro, Ashley Brown – cello, Somi Kim – piano, and Yoshiko Tsuruta – percussion.
Next is a piece written by Miriama Young for piano trio and taonga puoro. The piece brings to live an old kahikatea swamp forest in Ōtautahi including its birdsong.
It's performed by NZTrio’s Amalia Hall, Somi Kim, and Ashley Brown, with taonga puoro player Rob Thorne.
Next is a piece written by Rob Thorne: Te Toroa me te Tohora. Far from land, two solitary friends – albatross and whale – meet to dance and play.
It’s performed by Amalia Hall on violin, Ashley Brown on cello, and they’re joined by the composer Rob Thorne on taonga puoro.
And now to the last piece in this concert at the Auckland Arts Festival celebrating NZ’s wildlife. It was composed by Janet Jennings. She writes about her work: This piece focuses on tuna longfin eels and pekapeka long-tailed bats, two endemic species only found in New Zealand. They share our urban environments, although we may be unaware of them.
The performers are: Kathryn Moorhead, Peter Scholes, Amalia Hall, Ashley Brown, Somi Kim, and Yoshiko Tsuruta with Urban Lives: Longfin Eels and Long-tailed Bats.
Engineers: Adrian Hollay, Rangi Powick
Producer: Adrian Hollay