Auckland-born composer John Rimmer studied composition with Ronald Tremain at the University of Auckland, and went on to study electronic music, analysis and composition at the University of Toronto. His compositions use a wide variety of musical forces: instrumental, orchestral and choral. About a quarter of his works employ electroacoustic resources and many works are published and recorded. He is the founder of the Karlheinz Company, an ensemble for new music at the University of Auckland, and played horn with them for many years.
The basic idea behind Composition 10 is to pull the timbre of the instrument into an electronic sound world while simultaneously drawing the electronic music towards the sound of the bass. Thus at the very end of the piece, the last sound on the tape is derived from a pre-recording of the instrument. In addition, the bass uses an electronic pick-up device in the latter half of the piece. This distorts and transforms the real timbre of the instrument and moves the piece into a world of phantasy, with its grotesque aural images. A wide variety of timbres appears in the bass part. These have been explored and documented by the famous American bassist, Betram Turetzky, who has been largely responsible for the rise in the status of the bass as a solo instrument.Composition 10uses some of these new timbres and attempts to give full rein to the virtuoso capabilities of the instrument.Composition 10was completed on December 30, 1977. The electronic music was realised in the Electronic Music Studio of the Victoria University of Wellington.