This piece is subtitled Journey To The Afterlife. I began writing it in 1998. The inspiration was my first visit to the northernmost part of New Zealand, Cape Reinga. As I stood overlooking the cliff called Te Rerenga Wairua – literally, ‘the spirits’ leap’ I had what I can only describe as a spiritual experience.
Te Rerenga was premiered on Saturday February 12, 2011 in St Luke’s Lutheran Church, Oviedo: the University of Central Florida Symphony Orchestra, skillfully directed by Laszlo Marosi. A most moving event.
I believe Te Rerenga is one of my strongest pieces. It is a free chaconne on a Victorian chorale against which are set melodic strands influenced by the Maori chant of farewell, the waiata tangi. The score ends with a passage derived from the call of the bellbird. While this music constantly pits tonal against atonal material the dominant impression is overwhelmingly tonal. Nevertheless the chorale melody and all the other melodic material is derived from just one source: a twelve note series. This in turn is derived from the notes of the birdsong.
Te Rerenga is dedicated to James Undercofler, former director of the Eastman School, in gratitude for his longtime support and encouragement.
Orlando, Florida, 2009
Instrumentation: Standard Orchestra
1 Picc. 3 Fl. 2 Ob. 1 C.A. 2 BbCl. 1 BassCl. 2 Bsn. 1 Cbsn. // 4 FHn. 3 BbTpt. 3 Tbn. 1 Tba. // Timp. 3 Perc. Hp. Pno. // Str.
University of Central Florida Symphony Orchestra, Laszlo Marosi
A video of the same performance
Vaia’ata Print (self-published)