Singing of Shaky Places

Contemporary NZ poems set to music.

Contemporary NZ poems set to music.

TREMBLY TIMES: A fissure in the road after the Kaikoura earthquake in November. Shaky Places, the title of a song cycle to be performed next year by Gisborne Choral Society, is a nod to New Zealand’s, at times, unstable land. File picture

A very New Zealand work created for Wellington’s Capital Choir will make up part of the Gisborne Choral Society’s first production for 2017.

Shaky Places is the aptly-titled song cycle of 14 contemporary New Zealand poems set to music composed by Felicia Edgecombe.

“There is quite a variety of works in there. Shaky Places is written for a community choir,” says Gisborne Choral Society musical director and conductor Gavin Maclean.

Poems that make up the song cycle include pieces by Sam Hunt, Bill Manhire, Dinah Hawkin, Brian Turner and Lauris Edmond. The composition opens with After The Tremor, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman’s response to the February 22, 2011 Canterbury earthquake. Holman was in Christchurch at the time.

His poem opens with the lines:

after the tremor the neighbour

after the terror the stranger

after the stranger the doctor

after the doctor the soldier

after the soldier the looter

after the looter the vulture

after the horror the ruins

This is followed by a work based on another tragic landmark in New Zealand’s history, the November 1979 crash by an Air New Zealand flight to Antarctica.In Manhire’s powerful, poignant poem Erebus Voices, the mountain speaks first, then the dead, who say:

We fell.

Yet we were loved and we are lifted.

We froze.

Yet we were loved and we are warm.

We broke apart.

Yet we are here and we are whole.

The eclectic selection of poems is not all dark though. Included is some very Pacific light as found in Riemke Ensing’s Pohutukawa Magic.

The tree is a circle of green waiting

The sea a circle of blue watching

A storm of tui singed by fire

The tree suffused with red

There is Jenny Bornholdt’s wry poem Make Sure (“Make sure you fall in love with a man who you know will survive in the bush . . .”) followed by Maui’s Alternate Prayer which is made up of the gospel song Amazing Grace sung simultaneously with E Papa Waiari.

Poet and Capital Choir member Rachel McAlpine’s World rounds off Shaky Places.

Finding another work to complement Edgecombe’s composition will be a challenge.

Something is bound to shake loose before long, says Maclean.

  • Rehearsals for Shaky Places begin on February 7, at St Andrew’s Community Centre in Cobden St, starting at 7.30pm.

New singers are always welcome, says Maclean.

A very New Zealand work created for Wellington’s Capital Choir will make up part of the Gisborne Choral Society’s first production for 2017.

Shaky Places is the aptly-titled song cycle of 14 contemporary New Zealand poems set to music composed by Felicia Edgecombe.

“There is quite a variety of works in there. Shaky Places is written for a community choir,” says Gisborne Choral Society musical director and conductor Gavin Maclean.

Poems that make up the song cycle include pieces by Sam Hunt, Bill Manhire, Dinah Hawkin, Brian Turner and Lauris Edmond. The composition opens with After The Tremor, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman’s response to the February 22, 2011 Canterbury earthquake. Holman was in Christchurch at the time.

His poem opens with the lines:

after the tremor the neighbour

after the terror the stranger

after the stranger the doctor

after the doctor the soldier

after the soldier the looter

after the looter the vulture

after the horror the ruins

This is followed by a work based on another tragic landmark in New Zealand’s history, the November 1979 crash by an Air New Zealand flight to Antarctica.In Manhire’s powerful, poignant poem Erebus Voices, the mountain speaks first, then the dead, who say:

We fell.

Yet we were loved and we are lifted.

We froze.

Yet we were loved and we are warm.

We broke apart.

Yet we are here and we are whole.

The eclectic selection of poems is not all dark though. Included is some very Pacific light as found in Riemke Ensing’s Pohutukawa Magic.

The tree is a circle of green waiting

The sea a circle of blue watching

A storm of tui singed by fire

The tree suffused with red

There is Jenny Bornholdt’s wry poem Make Sure (“Make sure you fall in love with a man who you know will survive in the bush . . .”) followed by Maui’s Alternate Prayer which is made up of the gospel song Amazing Grace sung simultaneously with E Papa Waiari.

Poet and Capital Choir member Rachel McAlpine’s World rounds off Shaky Places.

Finding another work to complement Edgecombe’s composition will be a challenge.

Something is bound to shake loose before long, says Maclean.

  • Rehearsals for Shaky Places begin on February 7, at St Andrew’s Community Centre in Cobden St, starting at 7.30pm.

New singers are always welcome, says Maclean.

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