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The piece is a relatively light-hearted reflection on the journey from birth through childhood to adolescence. It opens with birth-pains and a reference to Stravinsky's famous ballet, The Rite of Spring. This reference is a source of ideas for melodies and motifs that follow, filtered through the use of a magic square.
The main theme of the first section is a quirky 12-note idea on the violin, followed by a more driving theme. A passage of plucked notes leads to another 12-note theme on bassoon. These themes are developed, and build into a wild dance, one of two dance-like passages in the work that owe a debt to Transylvanian folk music. They symbolize the life force that is only too apparent in young children. The frisky, playful first section gives way to a short bassoon solo, leading to a slow middle section, marked 'mesto' or sad. A simple idea on the strings reflects a sense of loneliness, reinforced by bassoon melody that follows. A short double bass solo near the end is rudely interrupted by the opening of the third section, and a brief introduction leads to a lively 12-note theme on the violins. This toccata-like section is highly energetic in character, and includes a long-range accelerando in the dance passage. When the main theme returns it is abridged and channeled into a short, changeable coda.
Commissioned by Chamber Music New Zealand and composed for the group Divertissiment for their New Zealand tour in 2006
one movement in three sections: vigoroso; mesto; allegro molto
26 May 2006: Performed by Divertissment at Invercargill
07 Aug 2008: Recorded by Divertissiment - Preman Tilson (bassoon), Donald Armstrong (violin), Rebecca Struthers (violin), Andrew Thomson (viola), Rowan Prior (cello) and Hiroshi Ikematsu (double bass) at Expressions Theatre in Upper Hutt
21 Jun 2010: ACO: Anthony Ritchie Portrait
Performed by Divertissement in Wellington