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18 May - 10:10 pm NZ
Recorded live at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington
1 February, 2012
Ross Harris is one of New Zealand’s most prominent and prolific composers. Born in Amberley, North Canterbury, Harris began his studies at the University of Canterbury and completed a Masters in composition at Victoria University with Douglas Lilburn. After a brief period playing French Horn in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, he went on to become an Associate Professor of composition at Victoria, teaching other now prominent composers including Gareth Farr, John Psathas, Miriama Young– to name just a few.
Harris has had a long-standing working relationship with the poet Vincent O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan provided the texts for Harris’s Symphony No. 2, the operas Black Ice and Brass Poppies. The Floating Bride, The Crimson Village was written when Ross Harris was the Creative New Zealand/Jack C. Richards Composer-in-Residence at the New Zealand School of Music. Springing from a conversation between the poet and the composer, O’Sullivan wrote 15 poems inspired by the paintings of Marc Chagall. Harris went on to set 11 of them for soprano and piano, which were premiered in 2009.
Originally composed with orchestral sounds in mind, Harris rescored the work for soprano and orchestra. In 2010, the NZSO performed this orchestral version at its Made in New Zealand concerts.
New Zealand soprano Jenny Wollerman completed her postgraduate studies with four years at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. After graduating in 1991 with a Master of Music in Opera, she undertook further study at the Banff Centre in Canada and the Britten-Pears School in Aldeburgh, England, before returning to pursue her career in Australia and New Zealand. She has since appeared throughout Australasia, as well as in Britain, Belgium, Ireland and Taiwan, performing with the New Zealand, Tasmanian, Adelaide, West Australian and Taiwan Symphony Orchestras.
One of the inaugural Dudamel Conducting Fellows at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Associate Conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Perry So received first prize at the Fifth International Prokofiev Conducting Competition in 2008 (held in St. Petersburg), only the third time the top prize had been awarded in the history of the competition.
Engagements in the 2011-2012 season include debuts with the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, and his Hollywood Bowl debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as return visits to the New Zealand and Asturias Symphony Orchestras, the National Symphony Orchestra Taiwan, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.
The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra is this country’s only professional full-size orchestra. One of the world’s oldest national symphony orchestras, they’ve been delighting audiences with memorable concerts and recordings since 1946.
They’re continually on the road, touring as many as 100 symphonic concerts as well as dozens of dedicated concerts for children and small communities each year. While they present all their main programmes in Auckland and Wellington, they tour New Zealand extensively.
A rooster is walking the bluest night.
More blue than night, more night than
So the day begins the sky reddens the
The handless clock is ticking faster
So it goes, so it goes.
It will soon be night again as the village
You are the beautiful one
As the song insists!
You are the big sky
Like the earth insists!
You are, you are
My heart, my heart
My red bird
My eternal heart
How the cheeks of the dancer
Are the morning’s rising
How the flip of the clown
Turns the heart of the lover,
How they swing the abyss
My clown, my lover, my acrobat, my
The stars are throbbing
See their skipping pearls,
The sun’s red apple is rolling,
The day unfurls
How the cheeks of the dancer
Are the morning’s rising,
How the flip of the clown
Is the lover’s heart.
The ladder to the moon,
Who has taken my rungs?
How will I find my home
When the moon is down?
My feet will sing in the dark
They will know their way.
A river runs through the sky,
every wharf a star
The rabbi lies in the tall green grass
The grass is green as the hill of Zion.
Where have they gone,
my Lord, my People?
The wolves draw close and the fist at
Freezes the hand on the child’s head.
In the brightest colours swing the
In the curve that travels from heart
Yet the path through the dark is as thin
Thin as a wrist in tomorrow’s grasp.
Give me a horse, a green horse,
A bride who floats like a fish in the sky,
Give me a candle singing like a bird
In a window in a village where the tables fly.
Trot for me, mon cheval vert,
Follow the veil that billows to the stars
Let the candle rise like a crescent moon,
In the tilted house
With its dancing chairs
May the bride lie easy on the cloud
above the singing
And the ladders rise for the silver groom.
Let the days shine bright as a kitchen pot,
Let the doves cavort in the blue high room.
The cradle is white as the dark of a goose.
The lovers are flying in their rainbow skies,
See our lantern, love,
Gather the sheaves as the night comes
Stack the moonlight, reap the rainbow,
Clear the road for the walking star.
The cradle is white as the back of a goose.
Its wings as hushed as the morning’s far.
You can talk without a passport
To the cow with yellow horns,
Ask the man like my father
To take you in his arms.
Those mothers on the doorstep
And oh, the clusters
Of neighbours on the snowy road,
And so many sisters!
As many rollicking brothers
As the skies go spilling stars
Count them one by one by one.
How many millions pass.
I know the road of hate has nowhere to
I know the road of love can never end.
As I know the small blue boat in the
The green balloon above the scarlet
The quilted house and the endlessly
Forever, where the road never ends.
As the fool crammed with so many
So a lamp walks its brightness, finding
The girl working so many stiches
God’s finger bleeds when she pricks her
As he sings of the man who carries the
Who knows the quietest tunes God ever
And the cross he sings, on the sky above
While the soldier, the soldier, always
Believes in only the beat of the heaviest
Sings the fool whose head is a halo like a
My God for the other clarity
That you have given my soul
My God for the tranquility
That you gave to my soul
My God, the night has come
You will close my eyes
And I will paint again
Pictures for you
On earth and in heaven
The Floating Bride, The Crimson Village Programme note by Francis Moore
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