New Zealand composer, choral conductor and music educator
This is the website of David Hamilton (b. 1955), one of New Zealand’s most widely performed composers. Until 2001 Head of Music at Epsom Girls Grammar School in Auckland, from 2002 he has been concentrating mainly on composing and reducing teaching commitments to part-time. He continued to work with Opus, the top choir of Epsom Girls Grammar School until the end of 2003, and conducted St Mary's Schola (St Mary's College 2008-2012). He was a foundation member of the New Zealand Youth Choir (1979-1982), and has also been Deputy Music Director of Auckland Choral (1996-2011). With a strong interest and involvement in choral music, Hamilton’s music is being increasingly performed by choirs around the world. Recent significant performances have been in Italy, Japan, Singapore and the USA, and works have been commissioned by choirs in England, Japan. Ireland the USA and Finland. He is also active as a choral adjudicator having been invited to Japan in 2000 (Takarazuka International Chamber Choir Contest) and 2003 (Japan Choral Association high schools choir competition), and to Hawaii in 2005 (Pacific Basin Music Festival). In September 2009 he was an adjudicator and workshop leader at the Trelew international choir competition in Argentina, and in 2012 received an invitation to be an adjudicator at the prestigious Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales (with a return invitation for 2013). Also in demand as a workshop presenter in New Zealand and overseas. He has lectured in both the School of Music and School of Education at the University of Auckland.
He is also busy as a choral conductor with community choirs, having worked with Tauranga Civic Choir, Napier Civic Choir, Pakuranga Choral Society and South Auckland Choral Society, as well as conducting Auckland Choral on several occasions. Major works conducted include Lambert's 'The Rio Grande', Haydn's 'Nelson' Mass (three times) and 'Little Organ Mass', Handel's 'Samson', Mozart's 'Requiem' and Clarinet Concerto, Saint Saëns 'Christmas Oratorio', Gounod's 'Saint Cecilia' Mass, Mendelssohn's "Vom himmel hoch", Bach cantatas, and Britten's 'Ceremony of Carols', along with a number of his own choral cycles.
Full biographical details and lists of works can be accessed on other pages.
For commercially published works see below.
Website last updated: February 2013
Watch out for a new updated and overhauled website coming soon!
Sing Aotearoa 2013
The national choral event returns in 2013, again taking place in Rotorua. This major gathering of choirs and choral people occurs every three or four years. The featured composer in 2013 is David Hamilton! A new work will be written for the event and will be featured in the combined 'forest sing' experience.
Two new CDs of Hamilton choral works now available.
At the end of 2012, two new compilations of choral music were put together. The new compilation of treble-voice music includes a work written for highly regarded Seattle choir Mirinesse Women's Choir. And the new mixed-voice compilation includes some of the composer's most widely performed choral works. The are CDs are (with lists of works on each CD):
The Treble-Voice Choral Music of David Hamilton Volume 4
Prayer of a Woman
We Shall Walk Through the Valley
A Child Lay in a Little Crib
Shepherd’s Song at Christmas
The Son of the Virgin
My Master Hath a Garden
Walk You in the Light
A Song of Ruth
Such a Parcel of Rogues (song by Robert Rurns)
Count Me the Stars
A Peace Prayer
De Angel Roll De Stone Away
Full Moon Rhyme
There Will Come Soft Rains
Ave Maris Stella
A Blessing for Saint Kentigern
Music for Mixed-Voice Choirs Volume 2
Ecce beatam lucem
In the garden
Walk you in the light
The Pale and Silver Moon’s Blue Silk and Blossom
The Moon is Silently Singing
Veni Sancte Spiritus
Dance Song to the Creator
Neither of these is a commercial release, so copies are only available directly from the composer.
Wet weather and a warm welcome in Wales!
In mid-May an unexpected invitation came to join the adjudication team at the world-famous Eisteddfod in Llangollen in Wales (UK) during the first week of July. This annual event includes a range of performing arts' competitions including major choral competitions culminating in the "Choir of the World". This is the same event that the New Zealand Youth Choir won in 1999. It was a challenge to get flights out of NZ at short notice, being the end of the school term and also high season for travel to Europe and the UK. And of course the Olympics are on from late July in London.
The event ran from 3rd to 8th July, and included solo vocal and instrumental categories, folk music (small and large groups), barbershop choruses, and choral categories. In addition to the main pavilion where most competitive events occur, there were several other 'stages' where concerts took places throughout the day. And various other events took places in venues around the small town of Llangollen. With relatively few exceptions the standard of performance is high, especially from the choirs. I particularly enjoyed being part of the team adjudicating the 'senior children's choir' category (choirs ages 12-18 years) and was impressed by the quality of singing at the top end. It was also interesting to hear some diverse and challenging repertoire, with choirs offering pieces of real substance and interest. The contest draws heavily from England and Wales, but groups travelled from as far away as Australia, the USA, and Singapore, with folk groups from diverse cultures including India, Turkey and Algeria. This year's "Choir of the World" was the fine German male-voice choir Delica Ton.
Apart from the final night, the evenings consisted of public concerts in the 4000-seat pavilion. A major event was the performance of Karl Jenkins' new work "The Peacemakers" premiered in New York in early 2012. This substantial piece received a warm reception from the audience.
Unfortunately the weather did not co-operate, and some said it was the wettest eisteddfod in memory! At times the rain threatened to drown out the softer singing in the pavilion, and one choir hardly needed to use the rainsticks that featured in their piece. The eisteddfod brings together a wide range of cultures and performers, and amongst the adjudication team there were representatives from Estonia, Hungary, Poland, Canada, Ireland, England and Wales. And of course New Zealand - possibly for the first time on the adjudication panel.
Llangollen provided a warm welcome and the town embraces the eisteddfod whole-heartedly, from the opening day's parade to the strong support for all the events both day and night. Colourful flags decorate the streets, and colourful costumes could be seen everywhere. Certainly a model of international co-operation and artistic collaboration. And most of those working behind the scenes doing it all on a volunteer basis. An event to be treasured, and an event to be seen if at all possible.
For another perspective on Llangollen's eisteddfod, here is a link to a blog by one of the other adjudicators, Liz Garnett:
New choral work for Georgia College and State University, USA
On March 17th 2012 the women's choir and orchestra of Georgia College and State University premiered "Serenade" commissioned by the institution. Conducted by Dr Jennifer Flory, the choirs at the university have performed several Hamilton pieces, including "There Will Come Soft Rains". The new work is a setting of a poem by Edward Coote Pinkney. The composer was at Georgia College for the week leading up to the première presenting workshops and lectures.
Other new works 2012, including a major work for Auckland Choral
Auckland Choral will present a new Hamilton work on 25 August 2012. The new piece, "The Necessary Rain" is a further setting of a text by Bill Sewell from his cycle of poems "Erebus". This work follows on from "Breaking the Quiet" for baritone and orchestra written in 2008. Both works set texts relating to the crash of an Air New Zealand sight-seeing flight in the Antarctic on 28 November 1979. At the time it was the world’s fourth worst aviation disaster, killing 257 passengers and crew. Both pieces are beginning steps towards an opera based on that event, and more particularly on the aftermath – the royal commission and its conclusions. “Erebus: a poem” by Bill Sewell was published in 1999. It is an extended poem in thirty-four sections, and covers not only the events of the crash, but also the aftermath and its effect on New Zealand society. “The Necessary Rain” is the sixteenth section of the poem, and as with “Breaking the Quiet” the poet draws attention to the fact that nobody was there to witness the crash, and nobody was there who could have warned the pilot of the imminent danger as the plane headed directly at Mount Erebus. Here is a link to an article in Auckland's Central Leader:
Premiered at the Westlake Girls' and Boys' High Schools' proms concert on 30th March were two new works:
- "Children of the Fire Gods" written for the Westlake Symphony Orchestra (conducted by David Squire). This will feature in the orchestra's program for the KBB Music Festival in Auckland in August.
- "Ecce beatam lucem" written for NZ's top school choir Choralation (conducted by Rowan Johnston). This is part of the choir's repertoire for The Big Sing national finale.
On 23 June, GALS (Auckland's Gay and Lesbian Singers) gave the first performance of "A Bright Light Still Shines" for SATB choir and piano. It was warmly received by a large crowd at the choir's mid-year concert. GALS celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2012, and is commissioning a new Hamilton piece for the choir's celebration concert in late October. A video of the premiere performance can be found at:
A new work for two percussionists and orchestra was premiered by Taranaki Youth Orchestra combined with the New Plymouth Orchestra on Sunday 22 July. "Double Percussion Concerto No.2" has been written for two fine young percussionists from New Plymouth. A capacity audience greeted the new work warmly, and a link to the performance on YouTube can be found here:
In 2012 the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra is running a series of workshops for six selected composers to write works for the newly restored Auckland Town Hall organ with full symphony orchestra. The project began with a selection process based on proposals put forward by composers, and in May the first workshop was held. Whatever the composers had ready was played through and the composers then went off to re-work, re-write and extend what they had already done. The next workshops are in August and November, with a performance of the six new pieces scheduled for 23 May 2013. The new Hamilton work is titled "Chimera" and will feature Auckland's civic organist John Wells.
Now Available: Treble-Voice Choral Music CD Volume 3
Recorded in February 2011, a set of pieces for two-part treble voices and piano is now available on CD. Recorded by a specially formed group, with two tracks sung by Auckland Boys' Choir as a bonus. Contact the composer for details on ordering the CD. The pieces included on the CD are:
1. Kia hora te marino
2. Child of my heart
3. Moon Fish
5. When my Mother sings to me
6. Dear Santa
7. Tell me again (the story of Christmas)
8. Ave Maria
9. Two Blessings
- Ko Ihu te Ariki.
- Tiaho I roto
10. A Blessing for this Day
12. A Blessing for Saint Kentigern
Three new works for community choirs
On 18 December 2011, South Auckland Choral Society premiered a new Christmas work for choir and brass band. Commissioned by the choir, the work consist of five movements - one for the band alone. The texts of "Christmas Here and There" contrast the New Zealand summertime experience of Christmas, with the more traditional northern hemisphere winter Christmas images.
During the early part of 2011 David Hamilton worked with Pakuranga Choral Society and Mercury Bay Community Choir (Whitianga). New works were written for both choirs. For Pakuranga Choral Society "The Shop of Dreams" sets seven lullaby texts - and even includes a special part for the audience to join in with at the end of the work! Alongside the more gentle traditional kinds of lullaby texts are settings of Jack Prelutsky's :Last Night I Dreamed of Chickens" and a rollicking Margaret Mahy text "Baby is Falling Asleep". The work is scored for alto solo, SAB choir and piano and was premiered the weekend of 11 and 12 June in concerts at Morrinsville on the Saturday and Howick on the Sunday afternoons..
For Mercury Bay Community Choir the new work was "Down on the Farm". This cycle of five movements sets New Zealand poetry about the landscape and farming. The first is a witty story of a rather vain and fussy cow called Belinda, who wanted to enter the cow beauty show. Arriving late, she had to be content with being given some money by the man at the gate, for her own manicure set and a mirror. The second text is a brief Ruth Dallas poem about the constantly changing colours of the flowers in a summer meadow. The third text is about a dog whose owner realises that a small garden was not where the animal desired to live - he wanted to roam the hills as a sheep dog. ‘Drought’, the fourth text, is a short poem describing the landscape during a hot dry spell of weather. The final text tells of beginning a new farm on land that has been let go to ragwort and fern. This new work, for SAB choir and piano, premiered on Sunday 29th May in a concert in Whitianga which also featured St Mary's Schola from St Mary's College in Auckland.
Napier Civic Choir premieres "Awful Ogre's Awful Day"
On Sunday 15 August 2010 Napier Civic Choir, conducted by the composer, presented the first performance of "Awful Ogre's Awful Day" - a setting of texts from the poetry book by Jack Prelutsky. Also on the programme was a performance of Haydn's "Nelson Mass". The review in the local paper commented:
"...David Hamilton's precise direction ensured the high overall quality of an expressive performance. 'Awful Ogre's Awful Day' is a setting of nine clever and amusing verses for children by American poet Jack Prelutsky. As well as a highly skilled conductor, David Hamilton is an established international composer with many acclaimed compositions to his credit. His ability in this art was certainly evident with the appropriate character of each verse captured in his widely varied and innovative settings."
(Peter Williams, Hawkes Bay Today,16 August 2010)
A second conducting engagement for the year occured in late November - an invitation from South Auckland Choral Society to conduct their Christmas concert saw performances of Saint-Saens "Christmas Oratorio" and the Christmas work "The Road to Bethlehem" written by the conductor.
Major performances in 2010
The early part of 2010 saw several new works being premiered. "Flight" was commissioned by the Manukau Symphony Orchestra as a short fanfare-like concert opener for the orchestra's first concert of the year. It was conducted by the orchestra's Music Director Uwe Grodd in the orchestra's first concert for the year.
"Me he korokoro tui" was commissioned by the Out and Loud Festival. This gathering of gay and lesbian choirs was held in New Zealand for the first time, and attracted choirs from Australia and the USA as well as local groups. The performance was conducted by noted choral conductor Karen Grylls on Easter Sunday (4th April) in the Auckland Town Hall. The work also featured the Town Hall's recently refurbished organ.
Auckland choir Viva Voce celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2010 and for the concert on 25th April a new choral work was requested by conductor John Rosser. He asked for something which referenced silver in some way, and the text set is "The Pale and Silver Moon's Blue Silk and Blossom" by American (?) poet Michael Reston. The work is slow moving and spacious with plenty of lush harmonies. (Incidentally, if anyone knows Michael Reston - or spots this reference to his poem - please get him to contact me. I found the poem on poemhunter.com and I haven't managed to make contact with the poet yet.)
Sunday 2nd May saw a new work being premiered by South Auckland Choral Society under Peter Watts. The concert was a programme devoted to Saint Cecilia (the patron saint of music) and the new piece, "And Music's Power Obey" sets three texts on the subject of music.
As usual The Big Sing, the annual choral contest for secondary schools, saw a large number of Hamilton pieces performed. In Auckland 20 of the 54 choirs chose Hamilton works as their NZ performance. Included was a new work written for Choralation (Westlake Girls' and Boys' High Schools) - a setting of a text by Spanish poet Machado "Una Noche de Verano".
Experiences in Trelew (Argentina) at the 9th International Choral Festival
From 13-19 September I was privileged to be on the jury for this choral contest in Argentina. Trelew is a regional city, about 2 hours flying south of Buenos Aires in the Patagonia region. Occurring every two years, the contest largely attracts choirs from Latin America, but this year the Latvian Male Choir also attended. A pre-selection process ensures that the choirs taking part are of a good standard, and the prize money on offer is not inconsequential. First prize in one category was 6000 pesos – about NZ$2,200.
One of my tasks was to conduct the massed choirs in one piece, rehearsed during the morning massed singing session. For this I used an arrangement I had made of “Me He Manu Rere”. The massed singing was led by Steen Lindholm from Denmark, a delightfully engaging conductor who had the singers right in the palm of his hand.
A second task was to lead a workshop each morning. The choirs were divided amongst the jury members, and we saw the same group four times for an hour and half each time. For this I conducted my arrangement of “Hine e Hine”, my own “Blessing”, and Anthony Ritchie’s “Timepiece”. The last of these proved a challenge for the group, but they were determined to sing it on the last day in concert – and they managed a very creditable performance. I was a little dismayed on arrival to discover my workshop had been called “Traditional Maori Music”, so I swiftly emailed SOUNZ for some material that I could show to my workshop group to give them an idea of what true traditional Maori music sounded like and how it looked when notated.
The final duty of the five jurors (two from Argentina, and one each from Finland, Kenya, and New Zealand) was to judge the competitive sessions. These were done by theme: folk music, and sacred music, and then by choir type: female choirs, chamber choirs (up to 20 voices) and mixed-voice choirs. Several of the choirs sang in more than one voice-type category by entering their women’s section, or their best singers as a chamber choir.
The standard of the best choirs was very high and there was some heated discussion amongst the jury members on several occasions. Repertoire ranged from Renaissance polyphony through to contemporary Argentinean works. There were several special awards including one for a piece first heard at the contest. Set test pieces were also included in some categories.
Everyone was very welcoming and generous, and Trelew is in an interesting part of the country. There is a strong Welsh presence in the area, and in nearby Gaiman Welsh is still spoken and taught to young people. It even boasts its own Eisteddfod! The next World Choral Symposium is also based in this area – centered on the nearby coastal city of Puerto Madryn. The Trelew festival director, Daniel Garavano, is heading the Symposium organisation for 2011. The next contest in Trelew is therefore not until 2013.
"School's out as composer gets serious"
This headline in the Monday November 18 2001 issue of the NZ Herald, headed an article about the move from teaching full-time to composing.
The article can still be checked out at the NZ Herald’s website by accessing the following link:
Recent and upcoming performances
Saturday 20 April 7.30pm
(Runnymede United Church, 432 Runnymede Rd., Toronto, CANADA)
"The Circle of Days"
Cantores Celestes (conducted by Kelly Galbraith)
Saturday 13 April 8.00pm (Hochscule für bilende Künst, Hamburg, GERMANY)
"The Moon is Silently Singing"
Wednesday 27 March 7pm (St Andrew's Church, Taupo)
"A Little Easter Cycle"
Taupo Choral Society
Sunday 2 December 2pm (Crossroads Church, Papakura)
"Angels and Shepherds and Wise Men All"
South Auckland Choral Society (conducted by the composer)
Friday 30 November (Georgia College, GA, USA)
"Christmas Come In!"
Georgia College University Chorus (conducted by Dr Jennifer Flory)
Monday 29 October 7pm (St Benedict's Church, Newton, Auckland)
"Ave Maris Stella"
St Mary's Schola conducted by the composer
Also included in the concert are a number of other Hamilton works
Sunday 16 September (Westlake Girls' High School)
"Cross Winds" (for massed wind players)
Participants at the NZ Woodwind Competitions
Saturday 25 August (Auckland Town Hall)
"The Necessary Rain" for solo soprano, choir and orchestra
Auckland Choral (conductor: Uwe Grodd) with soprano Ursula Langmayr
Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 August (Hamilton)
"And Music's Power Obey" (in a new version for choir and orchestra)
Cantando Choir conducted by Rupert D'Cruze
for SAB choir and piano (or organ)
A setting of the traditional Latin Mass texts plus two additional “anthem” movements including a setting of the hymn text “All People that on Earth do Dwell”. A simple tonal setting with limited repetition of text, makes it suitable for both concert and liturgical use.
The work consists of ten movements, and the whole work lasts about 25 minutes.
Premiered in March 2007, it has been recorded by a specially formed vocal group under the direction of the composer.
CD only: $12.00
CD and perusal copy of the score: $15.00
(both offers include postage within NZ)
Conducting Pakuranga Choral Society - Morrinsville concert June 2011.
In rehearsal Haydn's "Nelson Mass" - Napier 2010.
Auckland Choral concert 2 August 2009 (premiere of "Orpheus")
Auckland Choral in concert
29 July 2006 (conductor: David Hamilton)
Photo from the premiere of 'Missa Pacifica'
Recent new works...?
The Son of the Virgin (2011)
This text, originally in the Catalan dialect, is generally associated with Christmas. It tells of giving various gifts - things that would have been familiar to the writer of the text - to the infant Jesus: raisins, olives, figs, sweet honey etc. There is a metaphorical hint of the events of Easter in the last lines. “The Son of the Virgin” was written for a choir workshop with students of Ascham School (Sydney, Australia) when they visited St Mary’s College in Auckland as part of their tour to New Zealand in 2011.
Shine Out, Fair Sun (2011)
The poem “Shine Out, Fair Sun” is generally deemed to be by an anonymous author, although it has also been credited to George Chapman (1559?-1634). It contrasts the heat and light of the sun with the winter landscape, calling on the sun to “…make this winter night our beauty’s Spring”. “Shine Out, Fair Sun” was written for Choralation (conductor: Rowan Johnston), the mixed-voice choir of Westlake Girls’ and Westlake Boys’ High Schools.
Something Told the Wild Geese (2011)
A setting of the short poem by Rachel Lyman Field (1894-1942) which tells of the geese that, in spite of still seeing the golden fields of summer, can feel the urge to begin their winter migration. Something tells them that frost and snow are on the way and it is time to fly. Even though the summer sun is on their wings, there is “winter in their cry”.
Escape at Bedtime (2011)
From Robert Louis Stevenson’s collection “A Child’s Garden of Verses” this fantastical poem tells of a child’s impressions of nighttime and the “thousands of millions of stars” which appear to be chasing him or her. Even when packed off to bed, the sight of the stars remains in the child’s mind’s eye. Several star constellations are named in the poem. “Escape at Bedtime” was commissioned by Sydney Grammar School for the school’s music tour to New Zealand in 2011.
Song in Summer (2011)
A movement from "Down on teh Farm" setting a Ruth Dallas poem about the constantly changing colours of the flowers in a summer meadow.
The Shop of Dreams (2011)
SAB choir, piano
This cycle of pieces sets lullaby texts, although in a couple of instances I have taken this idea quite liberally. The cycle’s title comes from the first text, by American Mary Jane Carr, where it is imagined that a shop on a hill sells the dreams that we experience at night. The second text, by an unknown poet, addresses itself to the little fish in the ocean who can rest now that the boat’s crew is asleep and fishing is done for the day. One challenge with this cycle was to avoid it becoming terribly soporific! So the third text comes from one of my favourite American poets, Jack Prelutsky. If you dream of chickens,. there might be unexpected consequences! The fourth poem, an anonymous text from America, likens the baby’s bed to a boat sailing the skies - a not uncommon metaphor. The fifth text, again anonymous, is a lullaby describing the elements of the natural landscape in autumn. Each of the animals has its particular place to sleep but “…my baby's nest is her little bed”. The sixth text is by popular New Zealand poet and author Margaret Mahy. Again there is a dramatic change of mood. In Mahy’s poem the house is full of the noise and clatter one associates with a household full of children, yet baby is somehow managing to fall asleep amidst the “racket and rumpus”. The final text is by nineteenth century poet Christina Rossetti and returns to the familiar world of traditional lullabies. Here, the audience is also invited to join in the music, and the cycle ends gently and quietly! “The Shop of Dreams” was written for Pakuranga Choral Society for a concert conducted by the composer in May 2011.
Down on the Farm (2011)
SAB choir, piano
This short cycle sets five poems by New Zealand writers. The texts all deal with aspects of farming or typical farm landscapes. The first is a witty story of a rather vain and fussy cow called Belinda, who wanted to enter the cow beauty show. Arriving late, she had to be content with being given some money by the man at the gate, for her own manicure set and a mirror. The second text is a brief Ruth Dallas poem about the constantly changing colours of the flowers in a summer meadow. The third text is about a dog whose owner realises that a small garden was not where the animal desired to live - he wanted to roam the hills as a sheep dog. ‘Drought’, the fourth text, is a short poem describing the landscape during a hot dry spell of weather. The final text tells of beginning a new farm on land that has been let go to ragwort and fern. “Down on the Farm” was written for perfomance by Mercury Bay Community Choir (Whitianga) in a concert conducted by the composer in May 2011.
2 pianos - 8 hands
Based on the notated birdsong of the tui, this work for 4 pianists at 2 pianos was written for a group of students at university (including 2 ex-students of the composer) to use as part of their chamber music studies and as a competition piece. A gentle and rhythmic work (it never rises above mezzo-forte), the piece lasts about 5½ minutes.
The Voices of Children (2010)
A setting of “Nurses’ Song” by English poet William Blake (1757-1827). There are two versions of the poem. This second , and shorter, version published in 1794’s “Songs of Experience” shows the Nurse as someone who is bitter and jealous of the freedom of children’s play. This setting was written for the inaugural SingDownunder choral festival in Auckland, as a piece for the combined treble-voice choirs to perform. The music is deesigned for quick learning, and features simple canonic textures.
Awful Ogre's Awful Day (2005/2010)
solo alto and baritone, SATB choir, chamber orchestra
Setting texts from Jack Prelutsky's book "Awful Ogre's Awful Day", these fun pieces tell the story of a day in the life of the title character. Scored for small orchestra: 3 trumpets, 2 percussion, piano and strings, this work is ideally suited to regional and community choirs, and is very 'audience friendly'.
The Pale and Silver Moon's Blue Silk and Blossom (2010)
Commissioned for the 25th anniversary of Auckland chamber choir Viva Voce. The poem by Michael Reston, found on an internet poetry site, is a short and atmospheric text. The music matches that mood, with slow moving chords in the key of D flat major, and a richly textured choral palette.
And Music's Power Obey (2010)
SATB, ensemble (flute, trumpet, timpani, violin, cello, piano, organ)
The text of the work is a set of three poems about music, speaking in turn about its personal importance and effect, its use as a lullaby, and its magical and healing properties. “And Music’s Power Obey” was written at the request of conductor Peter Watts for performance by South Auckland Choral Society.
Imagined Dances (2010)
flute, violin, guitar
“Imagined Dances” is a set of four pieces using traditional dance forms. The first is the slow and stately sarabande from the Baroque period. This dance form has a tendency to accentuate the second beat of the bar, and in this sarabande there is a constant shift from major to minor and back again. The second dance is Argentina’s tango - a seductive and sensual dance with its distinctive accompaniment rhythm heard first in the guitar. The third dance is a fast waltz, although in the middle the energy slackens off a little for a while before resuming its hectic pace through to the last bar. The final piece of the set is titled “Mexicana” and doesn’t use any specific dance form, but does use rhythms typical of Mexican folk music and dances, especially the huapango with its mix of duple and triple rhythms. The pieces were written for student performers in New Plymouth.
Me he korokoro tui (2009)
semi-chorus (SATB), SATB, organ
Commissioned for the Out and Loud Festival 2010. The words are a mix of Maori and English, contemporary and traditional. They speak of singing, and being united together in song. The words also refer to the tui, one of New Zealand’s most musical song-birds.
Child of my Heart (2009)
This short work sets a poem by Edwin Markham (1852-1940), American poet, teacher, lecturer and social activist. The poem “Child of My Heart” addresses a new-born child directly, asking where it has come from and questioning where life will lead it.
Prayer of a Woman (2009)
SSAA, 2 horns, harp
Returning once again to the poetry of Robin Hyde, this piece was written for Mirinesse - a Seattle women's choir conducted by Rebecca Rottsolk.
Embrace the Night (2009)
A Christmas piece, setting a poem by Clay Harrison (for whom, contact information would be appreciated). This night is, of course, the night Christ was born. Written for the annual Christmas concert at St Mary's College, Auckland.
A Blessing for This Day (2009)
A short blessing for treble voices, the text of which calls for a blessing on each part of the day from dawn to night. Written for St Mary's Schola (St Mary's College, Auckland)
Hine e Hine (2009) - two new versions
In addition to previous arrangements of this popular Maori song for SSAA and SSATB, there are now two new versions. One for solo soprano with SATB choir (unaccompanied), and another for SSA choir with piano accompaniment.
flute, guitar, 2 percussion and piano
A chamber work based around the event known as Kristallnacht ("Night of Broken Glass"), the 70th anniversary of which occurred in 2008. The night, which is often considered the beginning of the Holocaust, saw hundreds of Jews rounded up and killed, with many synagogues and businesses ransacked. This chamber work, written for a group of senior students at New Plymouth Boys' High School, is a rhythmic and dissonant piece of writing for an unusual ensemble.
Father Bless Me to the Dawn (2009)
A short blessing for treble voices, setting a text by David Adam. Written for St Mary's Schola (St Mary's College, Auckland).
2 SATB choirs and piano
This atmospheric work sets various traditional Maori texts to do with Matariki (the Maori new year). Mixing clusters of notes with more conventional melodic writing, this piece creates an aural picture of the stars at night. Written for Choralation (Westlake Girls' and Boys' High Schools).
Bring Us In Good Ale (2009)
TBB, congas, piano
Setting a fourteenth century text, this energetic piece mixes two-in-a-bar and three-in-a-bar rhythms throughout. Written for Mainly Men of Rangitoto College.
Off to Outer Space Tomorrow Morning (2009)
A lighter setting in ballad style. The thoughts and feelings of an astronaut as he prepares to depart on a space journey.
This Bread I Break (2008)
A short communion anthem, setting a Dylan Thomas poem.
The Cruiser (2008)
A setting, somewhat in teh style of a sea-shanty, of a nineteenth century New Zealand poem about a small boat making its way into port. Written for Waitomo Caves Choir.
The Hidden (2008)
SATB, organ (or piano)
Commissioned by the 2008 Many Choirs Festival (a combined church choirs event), this piece sets a text by noted New Zealand writer Joy Cowley from her collection 'Psalms Down Under'..
This short blessing was written to by sung by members of Auckland Choral at the funeral of a choir member. Simple part-writing and simple harmonies, are used to create a gentle and reflective setting of the text by Wellington poet and Catholic sister Anne Powell.
Canticle 5 (2008)
soprano, oboe, piano
Commissioned as part of the "Stations of the Cross" exhibition at the Gus Fisher Gallery *University of Auckland)( this work is based on the 2nd station - Jesus receives the cross, and sets the line of text "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children."
flute, alto saxophone, bassoon, cello and piano
Commissioned by New Plymouth Boys High School for a group of top performance students, this lively and engaging work gives each instrument in the unusual chamber ensemble a chance to shine.
Bow Low, Mary (2008)
This piece was written for the Nasereci Ladies Choir in Fiji who had performed other choral works of mine with some success in local competitions. It has reasonably easy vocal lines, and sets a traditional Afro-American spiritual text.
A Treble-Voice Liturgy (2008)
2-part treble voices, organ (or piano)
Written for Auckland Boys Choir, this set of nine movements covers the essential liturgical music for an Anglican service. It includes pieces for responses to the reading, acclamations and dismissal. Some optional additional instrumental parts are included.
Count Me the Stars (2008)
Commissioned by Kristin School in Auckland, this works sets the poem of the same name by Australian poet Kylie Johnson.
Full Moon Rhyme (2008)
This atmospheric setting of the poem by Australian Judith Wright was written for Leading Notes choir at Westlake Girls High School. Relatively easy voice leading, and an impressionistic piano part.
Christmas Crackers (2007)
solo soprano, mixed-voice choir and piano (with optional harp)
A cycle of nine Christmas pieces, with a special emphasis on texts which relate to the experience of children and Christmas. The texts range from the Afro-American traditional of spirituals, through Victorian poetry, to modern humorous lyrics. The cycle has been written for South Auckland Choral Society for premiere in early December 2007.
The Road to Bethlehem (2007)
for SAB choir and organ (or piano)
A cycle of seven Christmas pieces which tell of many of the more traditional elements of the Christmas story: the shepherds, the angels etc. The texts are drawn from a variety of sources. Written for the Hibiscus Coast Singers, this is scheduled for premiere in early December 2007.
The Bogeyman (2007)
2-part treble voices and brass band (or piano)
Composed for Auckland Boys Choir to sing in a Proms-style concert with the Dalewool Auckland Brass, this piece sets a poem by Jack Prelutsky from his poetry collection "Nightmares: Poems to Trouble Your Sleep".
Night Watch Song (2007)
2-part male voices (TB), and piano
This piece sets five of the six verses of ‘The Night Watch Song of the “Charlotte Jane”’ by James Edward Fitzgerald, a nineteenth century immigrant to New Zealand. He sets the poem on the boat in which he travelled to New Zealand. The music uses a rhythmic 'sea shanty' style.
My Other Jandal (2007)
A fun piece setting a poem by NZ poet Don Franks. Just why does only one jandal always get lost?!
Not Made With Hands (2007)
SSA (or SAB), piano
A setting of NZ poet Ruth Gilbert's poem which often appears in poetry anthologies. Lyrical vocal writing is underpinned with rippling piano arpeggios.
The Moon Always Follows the Sun (2007)
A lively setting, using jazzy calypso-influenced rhythms, of an African poem:
"Calm down, little brother, Time heals all wounds.
No matter how much one is weeping, The moon always follows the sun."
Whakarongo ki te reo (2007)
SATB, organ (or piano)
Written for the choir at St Luke's Church Remuera in Auckland, this setting takes sources from Maori hymns and the book of Matthew. The text relates to Palm Sunday although could be used on other occasions.
These works have been commercially published by a music publisher. Copies should be available from a good sheet music retailer or choral music specialist. Copies can also be obtained direct from the composer.
Upper voices (SA, SSA, SSAA)
A Celtic Blessing (1995) SSAA (SULASOL S392)
Alleluia (1985) SSAA (SULASOL S641)
Ave Maria (1993) solo sop., 2-part choir (or SSA), piano (or organ) (SULASOL S427)
Be With Me Lord! (1999) SSAA (SULASOL S639)
Bound for Canaan Land (2003) SSAA (SULASOL S1054)
Christmas Cradle Song (1996) SA (SULASOL S540A)
Daniel Saw the Stone (2005) SSA (SULASOL S1304)
Don't You Let Nobody Turn You Roun' (2004) SSAA (SULASOL S1305)
E pari ra (2003) solo soprano, SSA, piano (arrangement of the Maori song) (SULASOL S1631) (new in 2011)
Got a Home In That Rock (1997) solo soprano, SSAA (SULASOL S501)
Läksin Minä Kesäyönä Käymään (1989) 2 SSA choirs (SULASOL S341)
O Vos Omnes (1991/92) SSAA or SSATB (SULASOL S428)
Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day (1999) SSA, guitar (or piano) (SULASOL S1056)
The Christmas Star (2000) Sa, flute and piano (SULASOL S1578 (new in 2011)
This Old Hammer (1983) SSAA (SULASOL S640)
Across the Line (Three New Zealand Folksongs) (2005) TTBB (SULASOL S1303)
Alleluia (1984) antiphonal men's voices, horn, organ (SULASOL S642)
Four New Zealand Maori Songs (2001) TTBB (SULASOL S1632) (new in 2011)
I'm A-Going to Join the Band (2005) solo baritone, TBB, piano (SULASOL S1306)
May The Road Rise To Meet You (1990) TTBB (SULASOL S498)
Time Pieces (2004) TTBB, piano (SULASOL 1316)
A New Commandment (2003) solo soprano and baritone, SATB (SULASOL S1302)
Caliban's Song (1988) SSAATTBB (SULASOL S499)
Christmas Cradle Song (1996) SATB, organ (or piano) (SULASOL S540B)
Got a Home in That Rock (1997/2000) version for solo soprano, SATB
Love Came Down At Christmas (1991) SAB, organ (SULASOL S539)
Lux Aeterna (1979) SSAATB (SULASOL S500)
Me he manu rere (2009) SATB (arrangement of the Maori song) (SULASOL S1580) (new in 2011)
Set Me as a Seal (1999) SSATB
Veni, Sancte Spiritus (2000) SSATB (SULASOL S1315)
BRILEE MUSIC (USA)
Christmas Bells (1996) 2-part voices and piano (BriLee Music BL139) (out of print 2003)
COLLA VOCE MUSIC (USA)
A Song Of Ruth (1991) SAB (Colla Voce Music 21-20402)
May The Road Rise To Meet You (1990) SSAA (optional guitar) (Colla Voce Music 21-20207)
May The Road Rise To Meet You (1990) SATB and organ (Colla Voce Music 21-20106)
Hine e Hine (1997) SSATB unaccompanied (earthsongs)
Song For A Young Country (1989) SSAATTBB (earthsongs)
KJOS MUSIC (USA)
My Master Hath A Garden (1985) SSAA, flute (Neil A. Kjos Music Co ED.8762)
OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS (UK)
Lullaby Carol (in "World Carols for Choirs")
The First Christmas (in "Christmas Voiceworks")
We Three Camels (in "For Him All Stars")
WALTON MUSIC (USA)
An Irish Blessing (HL08501525)
Only the Moon has Secrets (HL08501534)
The Moon is Silently Singing (HL08501530)