Composer - Elmsly, John

Ritual Triptych (NZTrio Commission, premiered September 2014) – 17′

Postcards – 15′

Ritual Triptych:

It would be tempting to look for a religious connotation with such a title, but the allusion is simpler. This is simply a work whose full energy is in a central panel, which is, at times, an explosive landscape of patterns, repetition, overlaps, collisions: the complexities of life. The central panel is framed by more focused, evocative, meditative commentaries.

The composer writes: “There is no direct visual inspiration for the work, though I have long had a fascination with the various historical manifestations of the idea. Perhaps there are parallels in this obsessive central movement, with Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch, one of the greatest masterpieces of the Northern Renaissance, or with the erotic danger and confusion in Francis Bacon’s Triptych 1970.”

John Elmsly has wide interests in all aspects of contemporary composition, substantial experience in electroacoustic music. He recently retired from his position as Head of Composition Studies in the School of Music at the University of Auckland, where he has taught since 1984. He also directed the Karlheinz Company contemporary music ensemble, which frequently broadcasts on Radio NZ Concert and often features music from the Asia-Pacific region. Elmsly’s compositions include works for symphony orchestra (a number recorded and/or performed by the Auckland Philharmonia and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra), vocal and choral music, chamber and solo music commissioned by many leading performers, and electroacoustic music. His music has been performed and broadcast in many countries. Recent premieres include ‘Singing after the East Wind’ for alto flute and electronics by Abigail Sperling, and a new string quartet commissioned by the Jade Quartet.

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