"We Change the World is a reminder that we all have the power to make change. This performance features a selection of 21st century compositions by New Zealand composers that celebrate the world we live in, but also challenge us to face some of the dark realities of our society and consider what needs to change. Each composer is reacting, in their own way, to the world around us, as well as its past and its future.
As musicians we are charged with bringing those notes to life and providing a bridge between the composer and the audience.
Building in size and scale, the first piece is for solo violin: earth, air, water by David Farquhar. Commissioned as the test piece for the semifinal of the 2005 Michael Hill International Violin Competition, it is an ode to the three natural resources we cannot live without. As the world’s population grows, these will only become more precious.
The second piece, Ben Hoadley’s oboe trio, expands on this by transporting us into the wonderful natural environment of New Zealand. Each of the three movements are inspired by coastal scenes: Miramar Peninsula at the entrance of Wellington Harbour; Ohope Beach in the Bay of Plenty and Turakirae, a wild stretch of coastline at the very bottom of the North Island, with its beautiful shifting light and tides. It is an illustration of what’s at stake if we do not protect the environment.
Since the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior in 1985, New Zealand has been at the forefront of nuclear activism. John Rimmer takes inspiration from the 1970s anti-nuclear poem “No Ordinary Sun” by Hone Tuwhare in his oboe quartet, Fragile Earth. Here, Rimmer and Tuwhare are talking about the fragility of the earth in terms of nuclear warfare, but it is applicable in so many ways, from climate change to the destruction of ecological habitats.
Scored for a chamber ensemble of string quartet, oboe and piano, Shadows Cross the Water was written to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the arrival of New Zealand’s first refugees in 1944 from Poland to Pahīatua. It makes us reflect on the terrible and dislocating movement of children in war times. The title Shadows Cross the Water has three meanings: literal shadows crossing water; refugees escaping across the Mediterranean; and also, two close friends of Whitehead – Peter Maxwell Davies and Jack Body – had recently died and were moving on to the next realm.
So, how can we change the world?"
– Noah Rudd (oboe)
Learn more about, and to book tickets to this free performance at NGV Australia here.