Ngā Hihi o Matariki

 Posted by on July 9, 2021
Jul 092021

Ngā Hihi o Matariki (the rays of Matariki, the Pleiades) is a significant work of symphonic proportions in seven movements by Gareth Farr, together with Ariana Tikao and Mere Boynton.

Celebrating Māori new year, it recognises a celestial event of uniqueness and beauty.

Nga Hihi o Matariki Gareth Farr NZ composer

From Anne French’s review:

For me, the most impressive movement was the fifth, Põhutukawa, in which Boynton’s glorious voice communicated the grief of loss, evoking the memories of treasured people who have died. It is traditional to mourn the recently dead at Matariki, when their souls leave the Earth to become new stars.

By the time we reached the seventh section, Hiwa-i-te-rangi, all about hopes and dreams, Farr was prepared to throw everything at it. The rototoms were drumming complex slit-drum rhythms, plus bass drum and timpani, Tikao arrived on stage with a pūtātara, Mere Boynton opened her throat, and the back of the orchestra went wild. It was a huge and thrilling climax. And then just the voice, and the tinkling sounds of the starlight percussion.

The Wellington audience immediately let out a great shout – the most fervent applause I can remember for a new work. But not just any new work: 66 minutes of commissioned work for orchestra by one of our favourite composers for the new national festival of Matariki.

Read Anne’s full review here.