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Transcend celebrates the high technical and musical ability of the individual members of the modern symphony orchestra. Such increased standards in instrumental performance have been observed throughout the twentieth century, but are noticeable particularly in the last thirty years as the result of improved design in many instruments, sensitive and challenging teaching and the desire of musicians to extend their interpretative powers and expressiveness. Composers have recognised the new virtuosity of the symphony orchestra and the Concerto as a genre has widened considerably to display the different sections, ensembles and soloists within the orchestra.
Elements of the traditional 'concertante' style can be heard in Transcend in the solo and ensemble parts of the work with cadenza-like passages added for good measure. The work is in one continuous movement with slow and fast sections alternating and contrasting each other. Melodies are sifted from the contrapuntal textures and are transformed, fragmented and developed as mosaical patterns.
The title Transcend refers not only to the idea of musicians playing beyond their normal expectation but also to the nature of human artistic and spiritual experience. As a powerful art form, Music can lift us out of the mundane into a rich artistic and spiritual realm. Art and spirituality thus become transcendent when they take us beyond our normal experience.
Transcend was commissioned by the Auckland Philharmonia. The work was first performed by the Auckland Philharmonia conducted by Miguel Harth-Bedoya at the Auckland Town Hall on 3 July 2003.
Commissioned by the Auckland Philharmonia
03 Jul 2003: Performed by the Auckland Philharmonia conducted by Miguel Harth-Bedoya; Auckland Town Hall
20 Feb 2015: Recorded by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Hamish McKeich, as part of the 2015 NZSO/RNZ Concert/SOUNZ Recordings, at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington.