2 years ago


by Gareth Farr | 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 PE063 – iv

Spook (2000/2004) Although I had not originally conceived Spook as having any sort of extra-musical associations, when it came time to find a title for the work I thought of the mercurial nature of much of the music. Like a ghost, glimpsed in the corner of your eye and vanishing when you spin round to look at it, the substance of the music is elusive, the tonality continually shifting and the patterns of repeated figures subtly changing as soon as they can be grasped. In some respects Spook is a technical etude for the marimba. The main body of the work focuses almost exclusively on the use of the double lateral stroke, one of the virtuoso innovations of the last few decades. With four mallets available, extremely high velocities can be achieved by playing two consecutive notes with each hand instead of with the traditional left hand, right hand figuration. The quieter contrasting moments emphasise the independent roll, where instead of executing a roll between the two hands, the roll is played between the two mallets of a single hand. Sustained chords are played by one hand as an accompaniment to the other, which plays more articulate, rhythmic material. After a steady build-up to a powerful climax which utilises the full range of the marimba keyboard, the music subsides before setting off on an even faster coda, a percussive frenzy of slowly rising patterns and accents which culminates in a clatter of open fifths in the very lowest register of the instrument. Gareth Farr Performance notes • A marimba with a 5-octave range (C 2 -C 7 ) is required • Choice of mallets is left to the discretion of the performer PE063 – v

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Gareth Farr Marimba Farr