Stephen de Pledge (pno). Recorded by RNZ Concert, 13 August 2016.
Arts laureate Ross Harris is one of New Zealand’s leading composers. He has written more than two hundred compositions including opera, symphonic music, chamber music, klezmer and electronic music. He has won the prestigious SOUNZ Contemporary Award more times than any other New Zealand composer. Harris received a QSM in 1985 for his opera Waituhi with libretto by Witi Ihimaera and the CANZ Citation for Services to New Zealand Music in 1990. His major works include five string quartets, five symphonies, a violin concerto (premiered by Anthony Marwood in 2010) and a cello concerto (premiered by Li-Wei Qin in 2012). His collaborations with poet Vincent O’Sullivan have produced two operas, a symphony, three song cycles and Requiem for the Fallen.
Aria was one of a number of pieces written at the request of piano teacher Judith Clark for her Victoria University piano students. A central slow-moving line in the middle register is somewhat like a cantus firmus, around which the music is woven.