An Anzac Reflection
Scored for: Violin and Piano or Viola Piano
Other info: Responding to the theme of War and Peace, An Anzac Reflection references The Last Post on violin/viola at the start and end of the work, framed within a hypnotic broken chord piano accompaniment. This opening leads into a more indulgent section, exploiting double stopping in viola and wide-spread accompanying chords exploring the extremities of the piano. A lilting melody filled with lush sounding double-stopping ensues, before the music heads towards a jazzy swing ballad feel, with piano and violin/viola alternating melodic phrases. After a return of the earlier lilting melody on viola, the piece comes to a close, with another brief reference to The Last Post. The work was commissioned by Milan Milisavjevic and Sherry Grant for their NZ War and Peace recitals in May 2019.
O My Children, My Poor Children!
Scored for: Big Band & SATB Choir
Other info: ‘O My Children, My Poor Children!’ received its world premiere performance as part of the ISCMS Festival in Shanghai Symphony Hall on 23 February 2019. This work is a jazzy setting for SATB choir and Big Band of part of Henry Longfellow’s epic poem, 'Song of Hiawatha'. Written in 1855, the poem relates the fictional adventures of Native American characters facing the universal dangers of wars and fighting and contains a heart-felt plea for peace.
"Chris wrote a wonderful work that captured the imagination of both players and singers, and provided an idiomatic performance experience that was not typical for either the choir members or jazz band players. The debut performance was very well received by the audience, and Chris had the novel experience of students wanting him to autograph their scores after the concert!" David Squire, Director of NZ Youth Choir
“It is an authentic and accessible jazz work that allows the young singer to experience this important genre in a meaningful way. The text adds meaningful depth and it would make a wonderful addition to a program that focuses on the good in humanity. It perfectly balances between choir and jazz ensemble, with moments where the instrumentalists play alone and allows talented soloists to shine”. Dr Robert Hasty, Director of ISCMS Festival Choir & Big Band.
Scored for: Organ
Other info: This work was commissioned by Philip Smith, Cathedral Organist at Holy Trinity Cathedral Parnell, to showcase their newly renovated organ and was premiered at the Grand Opening Recital on Saturday 16 September 2017. The work subsequently won first prize in the 2018 District of Colombia Chapter of the American Organists Competition for a Commissioned Composition for Organ Solo. In addition to winning US5000 prize money, the work received its US premiere given by internationally renowned organist, David Briggs, at a Pipes Spectacular Concert in Washington DC in the fall of 2019.
The Organ Toccata incorporates some of the typical toccata traits of virtuosity, fast-flowing passages and imitative interludes. Added to this, there are time signature changes to contend with in virtually every single bar, together with frequent dynamic and registration changes to consider too! The melodic and harmonic ideas are all based on Messiaen's 2nd mode of limited transposition, an octatonic or eight note scale alternating semitone with wholetone.
What Are We?
Scored for: Big Band & Voice
Level: Medium to advanced
Other info: A slow jazz ballad with a haunting melody for solo voice and Big Band. Text is by Auckland poet, Neil Hawkes. Written forThe King's College Little Big Band in 2014.
"The melody, laid-back feel and interesting chord progressions, took me back to my first exposures to the wonderful compositions of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn". Stu Johnstone, Auckland bass player, composer and arranger.