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Sample: 00'50'' to 01'58''See details ➔
Sample: First page of each movement.See details ➔
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Greenstone Sinfonia is a sinfonia concertante in the classical sense, a multi-movement work in which several soloists work together with the orchestra to make a concerted whole. It differs from a concerto grosso in that its solo parts are more individual, tending to play off, rather than into, the fabric of the orchestra.
While the music in this piece is in the style of the composer, the name and mood of each movement is derived from the pounamu talismans of New Zealand. Carved by Maori craftsmen in greenstone jade (and sometimes bone), these highly prized objects were not only worn as jewelry: they helped to convey a sense of status and attitude towards life. The different shapes symbolized the relationship of the Maori to nature, their ancestors, and the spirit world.
A Patu is a war club: as a greenstone it represents facing and overcoming life’s challenges. The first violin soloist introduces a lilting, expectant theme, building as the other instruments join in a song of greeting. A trade-off of solo statements leads to a haka, a slapping, chanting Maori cry of defiance and readiness for battle.
The highly ornate symbol of Hei matau was used as a charm for safe journey over water, and represents the hook used by Maui to catch the mighty fish that became the North Island of New Zealand. This movement is a peaceful contrast to the first in its lazy rocking meter and billowing phrases.
Manaia is a spirit that protects and provides for an iwi, or tribe, portrayed in profile as part-way between the worlds of spirit and flesh. The music is spirited and bird-like, fluttering and dancing from quartet to orchestra with the viola as the bridging instrument.
The ‘cello takes over in the last movement, Koru, named for the spiraling twist of the native fern frond. Paying tribute to that emblem of unfolding nature, melodies unwind with slow, deliberate calm, layering one on another through a simple, hymn-like chord progression into a joyous ode to life.
Commissioned by the Santa Rosa Symphony Young People's Chamber Orchestra
Dedicated to Maia Lillian Kincaid
2. Hei Matau
15 Jan 2005: Performed by Lauren Dillon and Annie Tracy (violins), Megan Hall (viola), Michaela McRee (cello), Santa Rosa Symphony Young People’s Chamber Orchestra with director Linda Ghidossi-DeLuca at the First United Methodist Church, in Santa Rosa, California, USA
18 Jan 2010: Performed by Lauren Dillon and Annie Tracy (violins), Megan Hall (viola), Michaela McRee (cello), Santa Rosa Symphony Young People’s Chamber Orchestra with director Linda Ghidossi-DeLuca at the Sebastopol Independent Charter School in Sebastopol, California, USA