A quick trip home!

At the first workshop of Relish in Immature Bombast, 24 May 2012, Auckland Town Hall. Photo by Oliver Rosser.

At the first workshop of Relish in Immature Bombast, 24 May 2012, Auckland Town Hall. Photo by Oliver Rosser.

I moved to Chicago on 5 January 2015. Three months on, I’ll be back in New Zealand for a couple of weeks.

To clarify for both Chicagoans and Kiwis: no, I’m not moving back. I still definitely live in Chicago. This trip is to fulfil a long-standing commitment with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra because they’re playing my Relish in Immature Bombast again.

If you’re unfamiliar with this piece, it’s for huge-ass pipe organ, full-on funk/rock/jazz drum kit, and symphony orchestra, take a squiz at this video:
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Now this is a story all about how

Yo quiero Liberty Bell.

Yo quiero Liberty Bell.

I’m in Philadelphia. I’m so near the end of my travels. There’s an organ concert on in two weeks’ time in Auckland, which contains my piece Relish in Immature Bombast. I made a video, because I’m staying just a few blocks away from the biggest (working) organ in the world.

This was made at the request of SOUNZ – The Centre for New Zealand Music. They do great things – music retail (scores, CDs, DVDs, books), reference library services, music promotion – for New Zealand art music. Normally they’d send someone with a camera to get me to answer questions, but last time I checked they didn’t have a branch office here… or anywhere outside Wellington. read more

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Robbie’s arbitrarily selective list of “new music” in 2013

Many performing arts organisations released their 2013 programmes this month, including APO, CMNZ and NZSO (in chronological order). I have combed their offerings to assemble a list of “new music” you can hear next year, if you’re interested in such things.

Classification of what “new music” is is entirely arbitrary. An asterisk * indicates a world première. Unless noted, all dates are the Auckland performances, because that’s where I’m living next year and this list is primarily for my benefit. My arbitrariness extends to a level of laziness sufficient not to chronicle the entire country. read more

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Upbeat on Upbeat

Just had an interview with Eva Radich on Radio New Zealand Concert’s Upbeat programme. I talk about:

In meinem letzten Leiden for Auckland Youth Orchestra (tomorrow in Whangarei, Sunday in Helensville, Friday 5 October in the Auckland Town Hall); Relish in Immature Bombast for Tim Noon, Jono Sawyer and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (Thu 23 May 2013 in the Auckland Town Hall); The Piano Tuner’s Performance Appraisal for

Estrella read more

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When plans change.

I'm probably not supposed to do this to the logo.A month ago I was informed that my application for the 2013 University of Otago Mozart Fellowship was unsuccessful.

Given the largely consistent pattern in the last decade of Mozart Fellows having two years on the trot, I was under the illusion that a second term was assured as long as you were doing good work and got your application in on time.

Obviously I was wrong – all applications are assessed against each other fairly and without favouritism. Consequently I offer my congratulations to composer Samuel Holloway and the four other fellows just announced. read more

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Trip to Auckland!

I’m going to Auckland tonight. Given my history of hurriedly writing blog posts at Dunedin airport just before boarding, I thought I’d give myself a two-and-a-bit-hour head start.

The scores I need for my trip to Auckland. Thanks to Alison at the Music office for doing the binding.

Plenty of projects for my four days up in Auckland.

Seeing the family. Always a pleasure, never a chore. Mightily convenient for an airport pick-up too 🙂

Beatrice. A cor anglais solo feature, just a 1-minute thing, extracted from a larger work. Tomorrow day, the APO plays it in an Education Concert in the Town Hall. I might have to say something from the stage. read more

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Stop organ, stop organ, I don’t want to talk any more

I think this is the "Swell Box"... err... I really can't remember.

The Auckland Town Hall Organ has a lot of stops – 84, in fact. Despite having been on a tour of the instrument and consulted the fantastically comprehensive resource that is the Organ Trust’s website, I can make neither head nor tail of the stop list.

It has designations like:

  • Posaune 16 ext #14
  • Double Open Diapason 16
  • Salicional 8
  • Hohl Flute 8
  • Wald Flute 4
  • Nazard 2 2/3
  • Superoctave 2
  • Sharp Mixture IV 19.22.26.29

The numbers I mostly understand. 16 = the length in feet of the longest pipe (which is generally a C). So Wald Flute sounds an octave above Hohl Flute because the pipes are half as long, I get that. But what the hell is the difference between those two colours anyway? ‘Wald’ means ‘forest’, I know, but ‘Hohl’? The only German words like that I know are ‘Hohle’ (pit or cave) and ‘Hölle’ (hell). I didn’t know they played flutes in hellish caves. read more

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Organ & Orchestra developments

Pull out _all_ the stops!

Yesterday I was catching up on podcasts from Upbeat.

Phil Brownlee reviewed a concert by NZTrio in which they brought in a drum kit for Kenji Bunch’s Concerto for piano trio and percussion (from 10:38):

“It’s often challenging in a concert setting. […] [An] issue with the drum kit is just the balance, particularly if you’re alluding to the rock setting, the rock-jazz kind of sound. Early on the piece it felt like Lenny Sakofsky was holding it down to balance with the trio and it doesn’t sound like a drum kit until you start hitting it hard.” read more

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Orchan & Orgestra

I am one of six participant composers in the APO’s Town Hall Organ Composition Project. Yuss. We are each writing a piece for organ and orchestra – we’ve got three workshops this year, and a concert on 2 May 2013 23 May 2013. (Save the date.)

This is a joint venture of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and the Auckland Town Hall Organ Trust. A week or so ago I had a tour of the instrument and saw the innards… probably not every single innard, but most of the 5,291 of them. Here’s the back end of the console: read more

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