Saturday, January 10, 2009

The 'grandfather of NZ music' strikes again


1st day of my holidays, and I woke at something like 4.30 am. Eventually went back to sleep, but some visitors got up early, and so most of us were around by seven. Finally lack of sleep caught up with me and I went back to bed, only to be woken by some music on the radio.
It turned out to be the end of Douglas Lilburn's: Elegy in Memoriam Noel Newson. From where I was in bed listening, it sounded as though the words came from Shakespeare - I caught 'nothing shall afright thee' or some such, but the rest of it was so badly articulated that I couldn't get the detail at all.
More than that though was the almost perverse way in which the string accompaniment seemed to be at odds with the singer(s). The latter were chauntering along in a banal enough way - the melody line, typically of Lilburn, having virtually no melody - but the strings kept fluffling around doing some chordal stuff that seldom integrated with the singers. And at the end, they played a few desultory bars and pretty well gave up. Lilburn the great pioneer New Zealand composer shoots music in the foot again!
I can't find much out about this piece of music (the few references on Google all seem to go to broken links). To be fair, I'll see if I can track it down at the library and give it another shot. But what I heard this morning (even coming out of a deep sleep) was enough to make me think that I'm not going to be impressed.
Later: I've just found a small amount on the SOUNZ site. The last piece, as I thought, was to words by Shakespeare: Fear no more the heat o' the sun. Herrick, Blake and Herbert are the other three lyricists.
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