25 Jan 2018

Philip NORMAN: And soon it will be dawn

From NZ Composer Sessions, 12:00 am on 25 January 2018

And Soon It Will Be Dawn was commissioned by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, to be written for the same forces (orchestral brass, tam-tam, bass drum and timpani) as Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man.

Philip Norman’s over 250 compositions and arrangements traverse a wide variety of genres: musicals and ballets, orchestral and chamber music works, and sacred and secular vocal settings.

Composer Philip Norman

Composer Philip Norman Photo: Gareth Watkins/Wallace Arts Trust/Lilburn Trust

Faced with the choice of writing a fanfare in a similar “heroic” style as Copland’s, or in a contrasting mode, Norman chose the latter, taking as his source the words of a 12th-century troubadour love song.

The resulting work is lyrical in character, and preserves the quintessential clarity of plainchant.

Featuring alternating passages of calmness and more impassioned writing, the Fanfare finishes on an enigmatic note and in the hushed soundscape with which it began.*

* Programme note by Paul Goodson for the CSO premiere 25 February 2017


Dr Philip Norman CNZM is an award-winning composer and author. His compositions span the breadth of the performing arts; his critical and historical writings have also focused on the arts, with a particular interest in the work of other New Zealand composers.

A PhD graduate of the University of Canterbury he has had extensive experience in musical direction, arts administration and arts advocacy throughout his 40-year freelance career based in Christchurch.

He was a founding trustee of The Piano: Centre for Music and the Arts and the first chairman of the Concerts for Christchurch Foundation, and is currently chairman of the Christchurch City Choir and conductor of Risingholme Orchestra.

He was invested as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2015 ‘for services to music and music theatre’.

Recorded by RNZ Concert for the 2018 NZ Composer Sessions.

Producer: David McCaw

Engineer: Graham Kennedy

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