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Tuatara

  • Text
  • Percussion
  • Piano
  • Farr
  • Farr
by Gareth Farr | Percussion and Piano

in-Residence for the

in-Residence for the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. The residency culminated in 2008 with the premiere of Ex Stasis, a symphonic song cycle for four soloists. In 2008, Farr also celebrated the world premiere of his work Terra Incognita, for bass solo, choir and orchestra, performed by Paul Whelan and the Orpheus Choir with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Farr’s artistic excellence was acknowledged when he received the Arts Foundation of New Zealand’s Arts Laureate Award 2010, which aims to celebrate significant artistic achievement as well as nurture future creative endeavours. In March of 2014 Farr’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra received its world premiere from soloist Tony Lee and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Pietari Inkenen. Its UK premiere followed one year later, with Lee backed by the BBC Philharmonic, with conductor Tecwyn Evans. The BBC Philharmonic included Farr’s work alongside Douglas Lilburn’s Symphony No.2 as a programme to mark the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC troops’ battle at Gallipoli during World War I. The concerto received critical acclaim, described by the Dominion Post’s John Button as containing “marvellously free piano writing surrounded by orchestral sounds that conjure up memories of Prokofiev ballets, Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortileges and even the Bartok First Piano Concerto…the ear was tickled bar after bar. I have no doubt that this marvellously inventive piano concerto is bound to develop an international life all its own.” Farr’s music is particularly influenced by his extensive study of percussion, both Western and non-Western. Rhythmic elements of his compositions can be linked to the complex and exciting rhythms of Rarotongan log drum ensembles, Balinese gamelan and other percussion music of the Pacific Rim. Latest information about the composer may be found at www.garethfarr.com. PE037 – iv

Tuatara (1998) As part of the 1998 Sunday Concert series presented by the Wellington Chamber Music Society, Gareth Farr and pianist Dan Poynton gave a concert of music for percussion and piano which had the idea of the New Zealand forest as a unifying theme. The concert hall was decked out with potted plants and giant fern fronds for the occasion, and the eclectic programme included a new arrangement of Poynton’s Moa and a work composed especially as a companion-piece, Tuatara. Each were named after a creature unique to New Zealand’s native fauna – the moa was a giant, flightless and now extinct bird, and tuatara is a remarkable reptile, thought to be a species which has existed since the time of the dinosaurs. Tuatara is based on two musical ideas which are heard concurrently at the beginning. A jaunty, angular, syncopated theme in the piano part is set against the marimba’s running semiquavers. The musical argument of the work is entirely derived from these two ideas, which are exchanged between the instruments and subjected to development by variation. The percussion part is enhanced through the addition of tom toms and cymbals as the work proceeds. The first performance of Tuatara took place at the Ilott Chamber, Wellington, New Zealand, on 21 June 1998. Performance notes Percussion • A marimba with a 4 1/3-octave range (A 2 -C 7 ) is required • The un-pitched percussion should be set up in front of the marimba • The pitch of the gong is non-specific • Choice of mallets is left to the discretion of the performer PE037 – v

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Percussion Piano Farr Gareth Farr