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This song cycle for soprano and piano has texts by the composer in Maori and English.
"Awa Herea memorably evokes the physical appearance of symbolic significance of these braided rivers... cosmic weather-driven energy." (Covell, Sydney Morning Herald).
"Its pace was shrewdly varied and the music encompassed a range of styles - from sung declamation to florid lyricism - without incongruity." (Jack, Independent).
"The cycle displays all the characteristics of her [Gillian Whitehead's] mature work. The vocal line is at once exultant and contemplative, the piano writing incisive or lulling; the formal shaping novel yet accessible. It is a memorable piece, filled with the energetic spirit of the natural world and finding through that spirit its own serenity."
Commissioned by Tracy Chadwell, soprano, with assistance from Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council (now Creative New Zealand) and the Arts Council of Great Britain.
Seven sections: Vocalise; Karakia; Awa Herea; The Berries; Lake Ianthe; Scale and perspective; Awa Herea (conclusion)
Texts by Gillian Whitehead and Keri Kaa (translations)
14 Mar 2002: Performed by Helen Medlyn and Rachel Thomson at the Ilott Theatre, in Wellington
Performed by Mere Boynton (soprano) at the Composing Womens' Festival in 1995
Performed by Tracey Chadwell (soprano) and Pamela Lidiard (piano)
Performed by Mere Boynton (soprano) and Craig Newsome (piano)