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When composing this piece I had in mind a portrayal of my two-year old son Tristan, and the effect he had on my life. It seems to me that living with a young child can uncover previously hidden aspects of a parent's personality. A high degree of sacrifice is demanded. This can make parents into more caring people, but it can also place them under enormous stress. The ways in which we react reveals significant things about ourselves, such as our levels of tolerance, and our ability to communicate.
Although these ideas provided the stimulus for Music for Tristan, there is no specific programme of events in the music. Much of the material in the piece derives from the opening melody. There are five main sections in the piece, forming an arch (A B C B A). The outer sections are slower and expressive, while the inner sections are fast and dynamic.
Commissioned by the Music Federation of New Zealand for Sharon Joy Vogan's 1989 New Zealand tour. It is also intended as a tribute to Sharon and her fine skills as a pianist.
Performed by Sharon Joy Vogan
Performed by Tom McGrath