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The title Te Whanganui-a-Tara or ‘The Great Harbour of Tara’ is the original Maori name for Port Nicholson, commonly known as Wellington Harbour. I conceived the piece while living in the hillside suburb of Roseneath, where from certain vantage points the harbour lies enticingly at one’s feet in several directions. The piece is in three movements.
I. Entwining melodic figures on alto flute, joined by guitar and cello relate a time before any human presence around this body of water; the hills and valley are alive with the sounds of birds and insects.
II. Energetic motions convey the great Earthquake of the 1400s, which raised the land where Wellington airport now stands; the ensuing calm of the changed landscape is indicated by an ascending motif over an open fifth.
III. A contemporary portrait; the busy lives of the inhabitants scattered all around the quiet presence of the great harbour of Tara.
Written for guitarist Kazuhito Yamashita, the work received its premiere in ‘Green Concerts Volume Two’ held at ALTI Hall, Kyoto, in April 1995.
Commissioned by Kazuhito Yamashita and Green Concerts, Kyoto, Japan
Dedicated to Kazuhito Yamashita and Keiko Fujiie