Old Conservatory, Zurich
Tide Pools for choir (SATB), piano, speaker and some small percussion—dedicated to Brigitte (who shares my passion for Tide Pools).
Tide Pools was suggested by Willi Gohl, a piece with a New Zealand flavour, which would show various choral techniques:
- madrigal style (1. Sea Squirts),
- spoken chorus (2. Starfish),
- improvisation (3. Octopus).
- To this I have added a dramatic movement (4. Mussels) in which pitch is free but rhythm is very important
- and a burlesque (5. Gastropods) which makes fun of a well known New Zealand tune “Now is the Hour”.
The work shows a certain amount of nostalgia on my (and Brigitte's) part for the New Zealand foreshore and the animals which live there. The text-fragments were taken from R. K. Dell's book, Seashore Life, (Reed, 1981) and from Margaret Orbell's The Natural World of the Maori, page 28, (Bateman 1985) - 4. Mussels. Although Willi GohI, the conductor, suggested a choral work, he is also Willi GohI the pianist. Therefore the piano plays an important role in these pieces. He also proposed some small percussion. I imagine the percussion part being played by a member (or members) of the chorus. Instruments required are: claves (1. Sea Squirts), a maraca (2. Starfish), a small gong. (3. Octopus), a tambourine (4. Mussels) and the same four instruments again in 5. Gastropods. The Speaker also plays a very important part in Tide Pools. I see him/her as a soloist standing in front of the choir and playing the role of a rather serious teacher, who doesn't seem to notice the occasional funny side of what he/she is saying.
The above lines were written more than 20 years ago. Willi Gohl (1925-2010), famous in Switzerland as a choral conductor and music educator, has in the meantime died. Whether he actually toured New Zealand as he had planned I never heard, nor whether he performed Tide Pools there or elsewhere. Now I have made a complete revision of the work removing the improvisatory passages (especially from 3. Octopus) and in general making it more accessable to general choirs.