An immersive piece that combines live piano with the ancient song of the South Island Kōkako, the 'Grey Ghost' , last sighted at Mount Aspiring National Park, Aotearoa/New Zealand in 1967. The soundscape is comprised of transformed historic Kōkako recordings from the 'Grey Ghost's' North Island cousin, alongside the native Tui.
'Grey Ghost' is a tribute to the natural beauty of New Zealand and a celebration of the rich history and culture of the Kōkako. Let the haunting melodies of this unique and interactive performance transport you to a world of wonder and beauty.
During performance, the soundscape can be streamed by audience members through their mobile phone, allowing the listener to participate in the performance. This may be reinforced by speakers on stage.
The combination of piano melodies and ethereal Kōkako calls transport the listener to a forest of spatialised sound.
Prior to the concert, the audience should be directed to the following website to stream or download the track: https://miriamayoung.bandcamp.com/track/grey-ghost-soundtrack-alone .
A QR code can be generated for the program to direct to this soundtrack.
Year: 2017, revised 2022
Instrumentation: Piano (optional vocal part in piano), fixed media soundtrack.
Duration: 11 min.
Difficulty: Medium-advanced — Suitable for advanced students or professionals
Commission note: Commissioned by Xenia Pestova for Chamber Music New Zealand
Premiere: Xenia Pestova — 16 Jul 2017. Chamber Music NZ tour, James Cumming Wing, Gore, New Zealand
The composer has noted the following styles, genres, influences, etc. associated this work:
Minimalist, electronics, birdsong of New Zealand, new technologies, app. Influences: Radiohead, Moroccan vocal music, Tristan Perich, Ligeti Piano Etudes, Liszt.
Together with loudspeaker playback, audience can use smartphones to perform the fixed media soundtrack. The soundtrack can be streamed here, whilst the pianist plays: https://miriamayoung.bandcamp.com/track/grey-ghost-soundtrack-alone
'We all had Apps on our phones, and [the pianist] gave us an upbeat to play. Because people were scattered through the audience and there were slight differences in the timing, when you pressed play, all of a sudden.... You were in the Cathedral of the bush, with these dreamlike bird sounds.... It made you really, really listen. It was so clever.... I really loved it.'
- Fiona McCabe for Radio New Zealand, reviewing Xenia Pestova's Wellington performance (2017).