An Epithalamion is a poem in honour of the bride, dating back to Roman times.
Farquhar’s Epithalamion Overture (1954) is dedicated to his wife, Raydia, a fine visual artist and poet. This is one of Farquhar’s earlier works, and the influence of composers such as Britten and Bartók can be heard, particularly in his use of bitonal harmony. Farquhar would have heard many performances of these composers’ works during his studies in England.
David Farquhar was born in Cambridge, New Zealand in 1928 but spent most of his early years in Fiji. He began his university studies in Christchurch before completing his degree at Victoria University in Wellington where he studied with Douglas Lilburn. He taught briefly at St. Peters School, Cambridge, before going to Britain where he completed an MA at Cambridge University, and also studied composition with Benjamin Frankel at the Guildhall School of Music in London.
On his return to New Zealand he joined the staff of the Department of Music at Victoria University, and was made Professor of Music in 1976, retiring in 1993. In 2004 he was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to music. He has written numerous orchestral, choral, stage and instrumental works, songs and music for children, and has been recognised since the 1950s as being at the forefront of New Zealand composition. David Farquhar died in Wellington, New Zealand in 2007.
Recorded 12 April 2017, Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington by RNZ Concert for Resound at 2017 NZ Composer Sessions.
Producer: David McCaw
Engineer: Graham Kennedy