Gareth Farr: From ‘Frozen Landscapes’: Movement 1

“Frozen Landscapes was written for Helen Webby and guitarist Davy Stuart in 2006, as a commission from Christchurch Arts patron Christopher Marshall, and premiered in his series Sunday Classics Inc. I initially intended it to be a piece that would fit nicely within the rest of Helen and Davy’s repertoire, of which a substantial part is Gaelic music. I wrote the last movement first, and when Davy started working on it, his wife said it sounded like icicles, and wondered whether it was inspired by my trip to Antarctica in 2005. I listened to it again, and totally agreed – somehow I’d unconsciously written an Antarctic piece without realizing! The first two movements weren’t finished at that point, and so inevitably the piece became more deliberately icy from that point on, with images coming to my mind of the snow capped peaks, the huge crevasses, and the more delicate little patterns that appear in the ice formations. The piece exploits the modal nature of the folk harp (you can set the strings to any scale you want), and I’ve created an unusual mode based on D with a key signature of Fsharp and Gsharp.”
Gareth Farr began his studies in composition and percussion performance at the University of Auckland (where Helen and Gareth shared a practice room for a year!). Composer, percussionist and cabaret entertainer (aka Lilith Lacroix), Gareth Farr is recognized as one of New Zealand’s most versatile and successful contemporary composers.

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