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Saint Paul SundayFeatured Artist

The New Zealand String Quartet

Two New Zealand Composers: Jack Body and Gareth Farr

  Jack Body
  Jack Body

Jack Body (b. 1944)
Jack Body's music covers almost all genres, including solo, chamber and orchestral music; music-theatre; and music for dance and film, as well as eclectro-acoustic music. He is particularly fascinated with the music and cultures of Asia, and Indonesian music has been a particularly strong influence on his style.

After completing his master's degree in music at Auckland University in 1967, Jack Body attended the Ferien Kurse fur Neue Musik, Cologne, and the Institute of Sonology, Utrecht, Netherlands from 1968-1969. From 1976-77 he was guest lecturer at the Akademi Musik Indonesia, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and since 1980 has lectured at the School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. His music has been played widely with performances in Australia, England, France, Holland, Canada, the United States, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Japan by such performers as Lontano, the Kronos Quartet, and the Shinsei Nihon Symphony Orchestra. He also works in experimental photography and computer-controlled sound-image installations, having received commissions from several public galleries.

Jack Body is an energetic advocate of New Zealand music and has organized a series of Sonic Circuses (simultaneous multi-venue music marathons). He is the current editor of Waiteata Press Music, the principal publisher of New Zealand scores, and has also edited 12 CDs of New Zealand music. In 1985 he received the Canz Citation for Services to New Zealand music.

Jack Body writes about his Three Transcriptions:

Over recent years I have become fascinated by the transcription of a heard music into a playable form of written notation. Through this process I believe I can better experience the music "from the inside out,", and understand how it functions. Inevitably, the resulting 'reconstituted' music is not a facsimile of the original but rather a kind of transformation, "filtered" through my perception of the original. I also allow myself some license to enhance what I consider to be important elements of the original.

Three Transcriptions is a collection of three different musics which I transcribed especially for the Kronos Quartet. The first movement "Long Gi Yi" is from a recording sent to me by a Chinese friend, featuring the long-ge, a multiple jew's harp of the Yi people in South West China. The instrument is tiny, comprising three or more metal blades. As with other jew's harps the melody appears in the overtones which are resonated in the mouth cavity of the player. Because the long-ge has multiple blades (i.e. fundamental tones), the music texture is a charming two-part counterpoint.

Movement two is a transcription of Betsimisaraka music from Madagascar played on an 18-string valika, a tube zither. This beautiful instrument exists in various shapes and sizes, and is related to the bamboo tube zithers of Indonesia and the Philippines. The performer on the original recording is Marorazana and the movement, with its engaging juxtaposition of simple and compound meters, is called "Ramandriana". The third movement, "Rarschenita", is a wild dance in 7/8 meter from the Shops region of Bulgaria. The performers in the original recording were from the village of Varna.

  Gareth Farr
  Gareth Farr

Gareth Farr (b. 1968)
Gareth Farr, composer, pianist, and percussionist, was born in Wellington on Leap Year Day 1968. He studied composition, orchestration, and electronic music at Auckland University and was a member of the Auckland Philharmonia and the Karlheinz Ensemble before moving to Wellington for further study at Victoria University, where he was a pupil of Jack Body's. There he became known for his exciting compositions, often using the Indonesian gamelan. He played frequently as part of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) before going to the Eastman School in Rochester, New York, for advanced study. At 25 he became Chamber Music New Zealand's youngest composer-in-residence. Since then, his works have been performed by the NZSO, the Auckland Philharmonia, the Wellington Sinfonia, the New Zealand String Quartet, and a variety of other professional musicians. He is currently working on a percussion concerto for Evelyn Glennie that will premiere in July 2000.

Mondo Rondo
Mondo Rondo
The world is round.
The world is a serious place.
This string quartet is round.
This string quartet is not a serious piece.
The world is a string quartet.
The world is not a serious place.
Mondo Rondo.

The New Zealand String Quartet:
Helene Pohl, violin
Douglas Beilman, violin
Gillian Ansell, viola
Rolf Gjelsten, cello

Musician Discography: Currently Available Release


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