17 Nov 2017

PHILIP NORMAN: Changing Lanes

From Resound, 9:05 pm on 17 November 2017

Diedre Irons (pno). Recorded by RNZ Concert, 6 March 2005.

Composer Philip Norman

Composer Philip Norman Photo: Gareth Watkins/Wallace Arts Trust/Lilburn Trust

Composer, conductor, author, speaker, educator and publisher Philip Norman has been entertaining New Zealand audiences for forty-five years. His output of over 250 compositions ranges from orchestral, chamber music and opera, through secular and sacred choral and vocal works, to musicals with playwright Roger Hall (including Love Off the Shelf and Footrot Flats – still New Zealand’s best selling musical) and ballets for the Royal New Zealand Ballet such as the highly successful Peter Pan. Philip holds a PhD in musicology, and is the award-winning author of Douglas Lilburn: His Life and Music and the compiler and publisher of John Ritchie at Ninety: a festschrift. He was invested as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to music and music theatre in 2015.

About Changing Lanes, for piano, Philip writes: ‘Terror is teaching your son to drive in rush hour traffic and realising a change of lanes is necessary. Panic is furtive glances behind, ears alert for squealing brakes, body braced for the crunch of metal on metal, urge to scream suppressed for fear of spooking your young charge. Relief is the realisation you have crossed the line, car unrumpled, bodies unscathed. Exhilaration is moving once again with clear space ahead. None of this has anything to do with my composition of Changing Lanes but it is where the title came from. Change is one of life’s hardest manoeuvres, yet often it is the anticipation that brings the greatest challenge. In this piece, my indecision was which lane to drive down stylistically. In the end, my answer was a question: why keep to one style? Why not make a feature of transition? The work was composed especially for Diedre Irons, a dearly departed neighbour of three years in Christchurch before she changed lanes for a warmer Wellington. Funding for the composition was from Creative New Zealand.’

Kenneth Young introduces Changing Lanes by Philip Norman.

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