25 Nov 2016

KIT POWELL: Whale

From Resound, 10:01 pm on 25 November 2016

Philip Powell (tbn), Kit Powell (tape realisation). Recorded by RNZ Concert, 1 January 1993.

Kit Powell

Kit Powell Photo: kitpowell.ch

Kit Powell was born in Wellington, New Zealand, in 1937. While studying in Europe in 1966/67 he met Brigitte, his Swiss wife. Since 1984 the Powell family have lived in Switzerland. Both children are musicians: Philip, a trombonist and Fiona, a soprano. Kit Powell has an MSc (in maths) from Victoria University of Wellington and a BMus (Hons) from Canterbury University. He taught maths and music at Linwood High School, Christchurch from 1962 until 1975 when he joined the staff of the Christchurch Teachers College. In Switzerland he taught Music Theory at the Hochschule fur Musik und Theater in Zurich and English privately until his retirement in 2003. 

"Whale was written in two versions, one for choir and tape (No. 80b) and the present version for trombone and tape. The tape sounds are inspired by analyses of whale songs and the sections are marked by fragments of real whale sounds. The work uses Abelian Form* and proportions related to the letters: W H A L E (13 8 3 5 3 - numbers from the Fibonacci Series). The tape imitations of whalesong were realized partly with programs from the Composers Desktop Project and partly using an"fof" synthesis program on a Macintosh. One can imagine an attempt by a man to make contact with a whale. He calls, using a Maori Karanga which the whale finds rather curious but finally obliges by repeating: Haere mai at the end." - Kit Powell

An excerpt from Kit Powell's Whale score

An excerpt from Kit Powell's Whale score Photo: supplied