Carr comes from the first generation of New Zealand composers
born, and gaining prominence, a decade after the father
of New Zealand composition, Douglas Lilburn.
studies at home, he came to London, on an NZ Government Bursary
to study composition at the Guildhall with Benjamin Frankel.
Further studies followed with Petrassi, in 1954, and Carl Orff,
in 1957, whereafter he settled into a life of teaching
in England and Australia. Returning to New Zealand in 1984,
he moved to Waiheke Island in 1991 where he spent his final
years. Despite the obvious time consumed by teaching and conducting, Carr
managed to creative an impressive body of works - over 100 pieces,
of which four Symphonies and a Sinfonietta (all recorded) stand
as the pinnacle of his achievement - in all forms including
opera and ballet.
present disk brings together radio recordings of four representative
works, all characterised by bright colours and an air of outgoing
pleasure. As can be guessed from the title, Auckland 71:
Ode was commissioned to celebrate the 100th anniversary
of the founding of the city. It's a spirited piece, quoting
several well known tunes from the time of the founding and culminating
in a delightful choral setting of words celebrating the city.
Seven Elizabethan Lyrics are equally pleasing and if
I have a complaint it is that each of the settings is too short
- the songs range in duration from 1 minute 26 seconds to 2
minutes 21 seconds - and leave one wanting more. But there's
nothing wrong with that.
both these pieces the (I suppose) amateur choirs, despite some
occasional throaty sounds, acquit themselves well and the composer
gets the best from all his performers.
Piano Concerto is a thornier prospect, based on serial
principles. Shades of Stravinsky and, oddly, Les Six, permeate
the score, which is, by turns, serious and light-hearted. Sally
Mays, the dedicatee plays with total commitment.
me, the prize of the disk is The End of the Golden Weather,
a purely musical evocation of a monologue by Bruce Mason. Basically
a nocturne in rondo form, it has flashes of light
bursting into the texture for the briefest of moments -
one quite disturbingly sounding like the Dawn Interlude from
Peter Grimes! But don't let this worry you, the music
is always Edwin Carr. Taddei directs a subtle and atmospheric
the various locations and the 13 years range of the recordings
the sound is very well matched and has a wide dynamic range
especially satisfying in a rich bass. This isn't music which
is going to set the Hauraki Gulf on fire, but it is well-crafted,
thoroughly enjoyable music written by a composer who knew how
to please both his public and his performers.
am very pleased to know Mr Carr!