2 years ago

Kembang Suling

  • Text
  • Marimba
  • Flute
  • Farr
by Gareth Farr | Flute and Marimba

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 PE001 – iv

Kembang Suling (1996) Farr describes the three movements of Kembang Suling as “three musical snapshots of Asia”. The first movement references the magical Indonesian island of Bali, with the marimba and flute evoking flowing gamelan melodies intertwined with the sound of the suling (Balinese bamboo flute) to form rich colourful tapestries. The performers begin the movement as one, playing their soft semiquaver material in unison to create an idyllic stream of sound. Bit by bit the flute asserts its independence, introducing chromatic departures from the opening material and blurring the movement’s harmonic character. An argument ensues, with the initial unison playing now replaced by increasingly impassioned call-and-response statements. The flute ventures into its upper register, alternating between jagged leaps and smooth ascending runs. Eventually all is resolved between our two performers, with some semblance of order – but not unison – restored. Farr takes inspiration for the second movement from the Japanese shakuhachi flute, its haunting voice floating out over the warm echoes of a rolling landscape. This short, sensual movement is underpinned by the marimba’s softly rolling chords, providing space for the flute to sing in flowing rubato lines peppered with grace-note detailing, resulting in an almost improvisatory feel. The second movement flows straight into the third, in which complex rhythms and South Indian scales set the two performers off in a race to see who can outplay the other. The marimba is set in a three bar cycle of Ed + Eh + Ep but the flute plays a different cross rhythm each time, returning to the marimba’s pattern at the end of every cycle. This final movement exudes a sense of dynamic, exploratory playfulness throughout. Kembang Suling was commissioned by Alexa Still, with financial support from Creative New Zealand. Its premiere performance was given by Alexa Still (flute) and Gareth Farr (marimba) at St Andrews on the Terrace, in Wellington, New Zealand on 7 March 1996. PE001 – v

Score Library

Marimba Flute Farr