Opononi: It's on track ... second time around!

Hey everyone, Well I thought I had better post an update on how the piece is going for those who are following the progress. Well initial stages were going ... okay, but then I got so frustrated so I started afresh. Second time around I've taken a new approach and it seems to be taking shape a lot better. The next week is crunch time. Stay tuned ...

The new work for Opononi begins & Creative NZ to support

Hey everyone. Well great news ... Creative NZ will be funding the new work being written for the Opononi Summer School. The work ... of course ... was going to be written anyway, but it is FANTASTIC to get support for doing so. So the work begins. I have been playing with ideas for some time now, but in the next week or so it'll get well underway. I will post progress updates here from time to time so pop in every now and then. Use the link here to go straight to posts exclusively on Opononi. There is also a page with general info on the project here.

John Williams' Jurassic Park / Sibelius' Symphony No.3

Ok as I'm sure most of you know, most of John Williams' film scores are taken from classical works ... in fact basically all of them. Anyway last night was at a NZSO concert and I swear in Sibelius' 3rd Symphony, there were FOUR themes from John Williams' Jurassic Park. Has anyone else recognised these?? Or was I just hearing things?? Let me know...

Contemplating the new website

Well surprise surprise, the website now looks a little different. It's probably not a good thing, but I can't go for too long with my website looking exactly the same. I think the problem is that I'm always browsing through other peoples sites and I'm continually learning more about design and web stuff. Maybe I have too much time on my hands. lol I'm tempted to say I "really like the way it is now" but it just occurred to me that I say that after every new site goes up. lol Anyway if things don't work or you have ANY feedback, please leave a comment or email me.

EventFinder vs NZLive

Hey everyone, another NZ events page is eventfinder.co.nz. It stacks up against NZLive really well for browsing through. But the catch is that to list events, or to monitor events, you have to pay. There is a free option but you can only list OR monitor ONE event at a time. NZLive seems to do everything it can plus a bit more and it's free. Eventfinder have been around since the beginning of the year, so it will be interesting to see if/what they introduce to have that something different against NZLive. Anyway it IS a great site and definitely worth a look if you're on the hunt for events. If you've been to one or either site, let me know what you think. Check it out www.eventfinder.co.nz.

View from Olympus

Tonight was the launch of John Psathas' new CD View from Olympus featuring three concerti recorded by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra with Pedro Carneiro (Percussion), Michael Houstoun (Piano) and Joshua Redman (Saxophone). Of course I had to get a CD straight away. Included is a DVD called Creating View from Olympus. WOW WOW WOW. I'm very familiar with the View from Olympus concerto and reasonably familiar with the others, but listening to this recording is as if they are new works. The standard is incredible. It is the biggest recording project ever undertaken here in New Zealand, and is absolutely amazing.

View from Olympus Album Cover

If there is one CD you have to get, it is this one. It is put out by Rattle Records, also available through SOUNZ, and for any more info I VERY VERY VERY STRONGLY RECCOMMEND you to go to www.viewfromolympus.com.

NZSM Composers Competition 2006

Well last night was this years NZSM Composers Competition Concert. It was ... very interesting. I suppose I should start with my piece "No Ordinary Sun" - it was fantastic (of course I'd say that though). It was an extremely hard piece to put together for the performers, and it sounded great considering the amount of time that we had to put it together in. So they did extremely well. It was performed by far the best it ever has been, so I really couldn't have asked for more. I think the complexity of the piece really paid off in portraying its nature and creating quite a unique sound world which I was pleased about. Had tonnes of great comments and feedback from various people afterwards, especially about the colours and stylistic elements of the piece, as well as the effectiveness of the percussion writing, so overall it was a good night. Anyway perhaps I shouldn't say anything about the rest of the concert, except that Alexandra Hay's piece was absolutely fantastic, I loved it, and it was the very well deserved and clear winner.

Orchestral workshops

I've been thinking about a few things to do with orchestral workshops. Firstly, some pieces make the orchestra do silly, cheesy or comical things which are musically totally unnessary. This is not saying things need to be "serious serious" ... of course, but the ideas need to be set within a "real" musical context. I've heard a few things lately in pieces, but they just cheapen the music so much. Personally, I don't feel as though its a joke to be getting the NZSO ... for example ... to do stupid things. I may be wrong ... let me know. Secondly, the lack of respect for the players has been driving me nuts. There have been numerous examples of composers during rehearsals talking condescendingly and with no respent towards the orchestra. This drives the players crazy. I was talking to a player in the Auckland Philharmonia, and they as well have had some examples of this lately.

I don't know, I mean, these are professional orchestras, and it costs a HECK of a lot of money to have them operating. Also the players are often rehearsing for many hours on end. I guess I'm just wondering how necessary it is for the presence of these two elements. I just think that composers should fully respect any professional performers they are working with and they should treat orchestral workshops as a rare and an extreme privilege.

NZSO/TODD Readings

Well well well. The latest NZSO/TODD young composer readings were great. They were on 7th and 8th September at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington. The event opened with a dinner with the sponsers and also representatives from SOUNZ, Concert FM and the NZSO. This was fantastic to catch up with other composers who flew in from out of town for the workshops, but also of course to talk with people from the various organisations. So ... the workshops. There were some really outstanding pieces. Of course there is never enough time to properly rehearse the pieces, but most came out sounding really great. My piece was ... good. It was a really hard piece, and I was really pleased how some bits were sounding, but disappointed about other parts. I'm happy with how the parts were written, it was more about having enough time to tighten things up with the orchestra. Anyway it should be a reasonable recording I get back from it so fingers crossed. It was commended at the end of the workshops so am pleased with that.

The workshop was brilliantly organised once again by Penny Miles. The new additions this year, sessions with instrumentalists and and the NZSO librarian were great. It was a great few days and I look forward until next year.

John Williams' Original Film Scores

OH MY GOSH!! John Williams' ORIGINAL film scores are being published by Hal Leonard. Not arrangements or toned down versions, but the original ENTIRE scores as recorded for the films. So you can see his original compositions in their entirety. ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!! I guess the catch is that they are costing between about US$380 - $500 EACH. Ahh well. If anyone knows any libraries stocking the scores (probably in America) let me know and I'll see if I can get an interloan or something.

Thats got to be the best thing I've heard in a long time.

A wee update on my music

I thought I should sum up what's happening musically at the moment. Well... I've got the NZSO workshops next week which should be great. My piece "Unspoken Monologue" is being workshopped and recorded which I am REALLY looking forward to. Last years piece of mine that was in it was 'nice', this years piece is fantastic. So I can't wait to hear what they do with it.

Then after that "NO Ordinary Sun" is in the NZSM Composition Competition finals concert on 15th September. It WILL be great. Am having an absolute battle getting all the players for it ... especially a tenor. But SLOWELY its coming together (though fingers are still crossed).

Finally "Insight" is being premiered by 'The New Aesthetic' - the NZSM Graduate Quartet. This piece is great, I was trying out a heap of new things, so I guess I will find out if they worked. lol It will be a great concert though. Details on any of these concerts can be found here.

At the moment I'm working on "Mei Spero" for nine instruments (including a heap of percussion) and have ripped to bits (not literally) "Through my eyes, I see" which was workshopped at the Nelson workshop and I'm gradually building it up again and it is AWESOME!! It's going really well. Aside these things for my masters work, I'm revising my wedding suite for piano which is getting recorded soon. It's a really awesome piece of music. I've been contemplating the role it actually plays in the service - part of the reason I'm revising it. I definitely haven't got an outcome.