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The title refers primarily to the idea of a crag of land washed by the ocean. Hence the feelling of driving currents, eddies and waves. The suggestion of rock music is intentional too.
A contrasting lyrical section near the middle of the work bears the imprint of waiata, a type of traditional unaccompanied Maori singing which uses microscopic changes in pitch, vibrato, timbre and slides to obtain colour and musical expression.
Towards the end of Pacific Rock a fragment from New Zealand composer Anthony Watson's 1969 Sonata for solo viola is included as a salute to a musical ancestor.
Notes taken from Toru, Atoll CD (ACD 143)
Commissioned by Timothy Deighton
16 Feb 2000: Performed by Timothy Deighton (viola) at Pennsylvania State College of Arts and Architecture, Pennsylvania, USA
04 Feb 2005: Performed by Timothy Deighton (viola) at St John's Church in Nelson as part of the Adam Chamber Music Festival
Performed by Timothy Deighton (viola)
Recorded by Robert Ashworth in November 2011 at Stebbing's Studio, in Auckland.