Blushing Skies (2014)
for orchestra: 3232 / 4220 / 4 perc / hp / strings
Overall Winner & Orchestra's Choice Award, 2014 NZSO Todd Young Composer Awards
Blushing Skies begins at 43:52
I have been fascinated by the beauty of sunsets as long as I can remember. Last year I saw a particularly memorable one as I stood on the Orakei Wharf in Auckland Harbour, which sparked this musical response. The sky was glowing with ever-changing pinks, reds, yellows, oranges, and notable hints of gold on a cloud-canvas of endless textural variety. I wanted to recreate this experience musically by exploring combinations of warm and luminous timbres, whilst slowly merging and moving between these harmonic ‘colours’ and warm, ‘romantic’ clusters of sound.
I began by looking into the colour-sound relationship of the synaesthetic composer Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992), and have loosely based my harmonic material on various modes he associated with some of the sunset colours. In terms of timbre, there is a focus on the warm registers of the double reeds, horn, and strings; the ethereal qualities of harp and metallic percussion, and the rich, otherworldly sound of superball mallet on tam-tam. The texture imitates the clouds’ blurred beginnings and ends, its transparency, and its subtle patterns.
Blushing Skies was the Overall Winner & Orchestra's Choice at the 2014 NZSO Todd Young Composer Award
Score & Parts available at SOUNZ Centre for New Zealand Music