He rimu pae noa

taonga puoro (1 or 2 players), flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano

Composed 2009, duration 8’00”

Dedicated to Horomona Horo and Richard Nunns.
Comissioned by the New Zealand School of Music, with funding from Creative New Zealand.

He rimu pae noa, page 1He rimu pae noa, page 2

Like many whakataukī, or traditional sayings, he rimu pae noa conveys a rich range of meanings. Literally, it describes seaweed set in motion by the tide. Metaphorically, it also refers the restlessness of a traveller, and the movement of a whole bed of seaweed in the same current alludes to a group of people working in harmony. This in particular has a strong resonance with the collaborative process from which the piece arose.

The instrumental ensemble provides a framework, and a backdrop, for the improvisation of the taonga puoro. At the same time it attempts to maintain its own identity, in conversation with the solo lines. Precisely specified gestural events are distributed in a flexible rhythmic framework, which aims at a balance between control and spontaneity.

I am deeply grateful to Horomona Horo, for a richly rewarding collaboration, and to Richard Nunns, whose work over many years is a deep source of inspiration.

Performance by SMP Ensemble, February 2011, with Jeremy Hantler, taonga puoro: