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This work employs the device of a passacaglia, ie a recurring harmonic sequence, in this case linked to a talea - a rhythmic ostinato - of expanding and contracting durations and dynamics. The phasing of chord sequence and talea, their being different in length, results in an 'elliptical' profile of the sequence that draws focus to a different part of it each time it comes around. As it passes it draws in fragments of its transformed self, as well as other cyclic events, giving a continually renewed range of contrasting colours from the the orchestra, the predominant opposition being, as the title suggests between 'dark' and 'light' timbres: the process of the work in broad terms is a transformation from the one state to the other. The work was inspired by the New Zealand painter Colin McCahon's 'Northland Panels'.
28 Nov 1998: Performed in a rehearsed reading by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Marc Taddei as part of the NZSO-SOUNZ Readings