Some Cries of Wellington

click here for score sample (pages 1-27)

year: 2014         instrumentation: 6 voices and two string quartets        duration: 9'
commissioned by: Adam Chamber Music Festival
with funding from Creative New Zealand

programme note: This new work for six voices (The Song Company, Director Roland Peelman) and two string quartets (the New Zealand String Quartet and the Ying Quartet) was premiered alongside new works by New Zealanders Jack Body, Eve de Castro-Robinson and Louise Webster at Nelson Cathedral on the final night of the Adam Chamber Music Festival 2015.

It traces the composer's experience as a commuter from the northern suburbs of Wellington to his place of work in the city. The work is located in time in the weeks running up to the 2014 New Zealand General Election, when a book by the investigative journalist Nicky Hager, Dirty Politics, uncovered how the ruling National Party uses hate blogging as one part of a plausibly deniable two-pronged political approach, the other part being the shoulder-shrugging nice-guy public face of its leader, John Key.

The words describe the journey from Johnsonville to Te Aro, but also quote extensively from Dirty Politics and from a particularly terse interview exchange between Key and RNZ National's Guyon Espiner. The "cries" of Wellington are, in this work, the political discourse that is centred by default in the nation's capital.

Before the performance, the composers involved in the project gathered for a public forum hosted by Elizabeth Kerr.