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Blue Work


duo for piccolo/flute/alto flute, and Maori flutes

Year:  1999 Instrumentation:  piccolo, C flute, alto flute. Taonga pūoro: tumu tumu, karanga manu, putorino toroa, putorino maine, putorino nui, purerehua, pakunu. Taonga pūoro parts mostly improvised.

Year:  1999
Instrumentation  piccolo, C flute, alto flut...

Films, Audio & Samples

Gillian Whitehead: Hinerauk...

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Gillian Whitehead: Hinerauk...

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Sample Video

Sample: Excerpt from Hine-Raukatauri

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In the tradition of the Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, Hine Raukatauri is the goddess of music and dance. She is embodied in the form of the female case-moth, who hangs in the bushes and sings in a pure, high voice to attract the male moths to her. Her hair is found as a fern, the hanging spleenwort, and her voice is heard in the sound of the pūtōrino, an instrument known only in Aotearoa (the Māori name for New Zealand). The pūtōrino is an instrument that can be played in various ways – as a flute, as a trumpet and as a means of enhancing or altering the human voice.

Hineraukatauri is written for two performers, one playing conventional flutes (piccolo, C and alto flutes), and the other for taonga puoro (instruments). The score features three different pūtōrino, which, like all taonga pūoro, (and also the songs and chants) have a small pitch range, rarely exceeding a fourth, which varies from instrument to instrument. Three pūtōrino are used in this piece - one made of albatross bone and two of wood, and both the flute and trumpet voices are used. Other instruments used are a karanga manu (bird-caller), a purerehua (swung bull-roarer) and tumutumu (tapped instruments.)

The flute player's part is notated, but the music for the taonga pūoro is improvised; there are areas when the flute player is encouraged to improvise with the taonga.

Commissioned note

Commissioned for Richard Nunns and Alexa Still

Richard Nunns | Alexa Still

Dedication note

Dedicated to Richard Nunns and Alexa Still

Contents note

One movement

Text note

Text by Hirini Melbourne

Performance history

19 Aug 1999: Performed by Alexa Still (flute/piccolo), Richard Nunns (putorino); National Flute Association of America Convention, Atlanta, USA.

14 Mar 2002: Performed by Richard Nunns (Taonga Puoro) and Bridget Douglas (Flute) at Ilott Theatre in Wellington

19 Jun 2007: Encompass: Tuhonohono

21 Jun 2007: Encomapss: Tuhonohono

16 Sep 2010: “Kiwi Tracks” Air on Hawaii Public Radio

28 Mar 2012: NZ Music for Woodwinds

17 Apr 2012: New Zealand in L.A.

19 Jun 2014: Te Ao Mārama

Performed by Ingrid Culliford (flutes) and Richard Nunns (taonga puoro)

Performed by Richard Nunns (Taonga Puoro) and Alexa Still (Flutes) on Whitehead at the Atlanta Flute Convention, Georgia, United States in 1999

Performed by Richard Nunns (taonga puoro) and Alexa Still (flutes)

Performed by Alexa Still (flute), Ingrid Culliford (flute) and Richard Nunns (taonga puoru)

featuring Horomona Horo (Taonga puoro)

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