14 Apr 2014

Chris ADAMS: Symphonic Dances

From NZ Composer Sessions, 12:00 am on 14 April 2014

This composition was written in 2011 for the Southern Sinfonia. It is a modern interpretation of the sense of medieval and renaissance dance, distorted through time. It does not attempt to replicate actual dances, but instead draws on images conjured in the composer’s mind of the energy and vitality of country and court dances.

It begins with an orchestrated version of the composers’ setting of a 16th century gossip song text, Je ne l’ose dire. This is then developed in a rhythmically charged section, gradually building to a climax that ends with a solo bassoon heralding the next section, a more mysterious, stylised dance jumping between contrasting sections, featuring a flute and oboe solo juxtaposed against more aggressive string writing. This resolves into a contemplative lyrical section. The final dance has a strong sense of forward momentum, with a strong rhythmic pattern in the lower strings. This pattern continues and is juxtaposed against the opening theme concluding with a final climax.

A colourful…commissioned work in which every section certainly “got their money’s worth”. Many

intricate themes and obligato passages in unusual combinations and key shifts made for a very

successful and enjoyable contemporary work. ~ Elizabeth Bouman, Otago Daily Times

Chris Adams

Chris Adams Photo: Gareth Watkins / Lilburn Trust / Wallace Arts Trust


Chris Adams (1979-) is a New Zealand composer and Head of Music at King’s College, Auckland. He was the Mozart Fellow (2010-2011) at the University of Otago and the Auckland Philharmonia’s Composer in Residence (2009). Chris was the inaugural University of Otago Wallace Arts Trust Artist in Residence at the Pah Homestead from July to September, 2010, a position he held again in 2011.

Chris has had works commissioned and performed by a wide variety of groups including the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, NZTrio, Auckland Philharmonia, Ensemble Kochi (Tokyo), Auckland Chamber Orchestra, Jade String Quartet (Auckland), and Southern Sinfonia (Dunedin). His works have been performed around New Zealand and in Australia, Britain, Hong Kong, Italy, and Vietnam. Composition awards include the Philip Neill Memorial Prize (2008), for his string quartet, Persephone.

Recorded 14 April 2014, Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington by RNZ Concert for 2014 NZ Composer Sessions.

Producer: David McCaw

Engineer: Graham Kennedy

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