Non Sequitur Music

Te Po-teki

Play the first 1'40" of Te Po-Teki, as performed live violinist by Mark Menzies.



















Composer: David Heuser
Instrumentation: Violin
Year Composed: 1992
Duration: 7 minutes
Pages (score): pages
Cost: Purchase: $7.00

Premiere: Mark Menzies, violin, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, November 19, 1992

Program Notes:

Te Po-teki was written for the violinist Mark Menzies in the Summer of 1992. It is about seven minutes long. Mark is from New Zealand and I wanted to somehow tie that into the piece. The title comes from a Maori creation chant which begins:
Te Kore (The Void)
Te Kore-tua-tahi (The First Void)
Te Kore-tua-rua (The Second Void)
Te Kore-nui (The Vast Void)
Te Kore-roa (The Far Extending Void)
Te Kore-para (The Sere Void)
Te Kore-whiwhia (The Unpossessing Void)
Te Kore-rewea (The Delightful Void)
Te Kore-te-tamaua (The Void Fast Bound)
Te Po (The Night)
Te Po-teki (The Hanging Night)
Te Po-terea (The Drifting Night)
Te Po-whawha (The Moaning Night)
Hine-make-moe (The Daughter of Troubled Sleep)
Te Ata (The Dawn)
And so on. (This translation is from Joseph Campbell's The Hero With a Thousand Faces.)

The piece opens with a rising, accelerating line which is followed by short, angry, repeated double stops. After this figure is heard twice, soft, sul ponticello double stops introduce a new, contrasting harmonic/melodic sound. Nearly all the piece is built from these two ideas. In the first part of the piece, the two are exchanged and intertwined without too much alteration, although a more melodic line eventually emerges as well.

The next section of the piece takes a half-step descending idea out of that melodic line (Db-C in this case) and begins to move away from opening material. After a strong return to the soft double stops again, the Db-C motive begins to grow into new intervals and pitches - and for the first time the tempo increases, with notes practically exploding up the violin. A short pizzicato passage breaks the intensity, but the explosion is completed with a double-stop, pedal-A section which threatens to spin out of control as it shifts radically up and down the instrument.

This is cut off by the short, repeated double stops of the opening, and, as they fade out, we are back at the beginning: the two opening ideas trading off with each other, only now they are both serene. The piece ends with a quiet shadow of the opening rising line, now seeming to continue upwards to infinity.

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