Caricatures for PianoOpus 33, 30, J.A.Ritchie Bellbird
Caricatures is a compilation of piano music by father and son composers John and Anthony Ritchie. The volume is designed for pianists of about Grade 8 level and above.
Caricatures is named after John Ritchie's delightful Three Caricatures for Piano (1987). Originally written as incidental music for the Moliere comedy 'Le Malade Imaginaire', the movements are a Toccatina which describes a hypochondriac father, a sentimental Sarabande describing the devoted daughter, and a lively Jig poking fun at the medical faculty.
The other pieces in the volume were written by Anthony Ritchie.
Olveston Suite(1988), has six movements which were inspired by rooms in the historic Dunedin home, Olveston.
There are three pieces from Anthony's early piano work Poems of Spring (1981): Yearning, Lover's Dance and Calm. These pieces complement the other five 'Poems of Spring' which were published by Promethean Editions in their volume entitled 'Firestarters'.
Rounding off the volume is Music for Tristan (1988), named after the composer's son. It was composed for Sharon Joy Vogan and recorded by her on the SOUNZ CD 'Finemusic'. The slow and expansive outer sections contrast with the lively inner sections. Showing echoes of Ravel and Bartok, it is the most difficult of the pieces in Caricatures, and would be suitable for L.T.C.L. level.
The price of this volume is NZ$24.95. Order by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Caroline Bay Suite is ready for release in May 2004. It was commissioned in 1999 by the Timaru Branch of The Institute of Registered Music Teachers, and was written for young pianists of grade 3 or 4 level. There are four pieces, which were inspired by frequent stops at Caroline Bay while the composer was travelling between Dunedin and Christchurch.
Sunrise over the Bay
On a calm, still morning the sun rises over the water, represented by slowly ascending melodic lines. We see light playing on the gentle waves. This piece has expressive lines in both hands, and explores the whole register of the piano.
The beach is a wonderful place for children to play. In this piece we see them hopping, jumping, circling around, and having a generally good time. This piece is good for articulation, and contains several quirky ideas.
Running at the Beach
New Zealanders have a passion for outdoor exercise, and in this piece we watch a lone runner pacing along Caroline Bay. She gets closer and then disappears into the distance. The music has a modal character, and uses an ostinato.
During the Summer holidays there is always a carnival, or fair held at Caroline Bay. This piece re-creates the light-hearted atmosphere of the carnival, and features a heavy bass melody and loping right hand part.
The Flute Concerto was composed for flutist Alexa Still (Principal flute, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra) in 1993 while Ritchie was Composer - in - Residence with The Dunedin Sinfonia. Unlike the Symphony "Boum", written in the same year, this concerto is a generally happy and open-sounding work, and reflects aspects of Alexa Still's personality as well as her playing.
The first movement is energetic in style, with a bubbling first theme contrasted by a darker and slower second theme, exploring the lower register of the flute.
The slow second movement is lyrical and improvisational in style, with two cadenzas at the start of the movement. The first of these was scored for bass clarinet, but becomes a flute solo in the version for piano and flute.
The third movement is like a sequence of dances with different characters, bound together by a buffeting crotchet rhythm. This theme was inspired by the composer attending a performance by The Muttonbirds, a well-known NZ rock group.
The Flute Concerto was recorded (in the orchestral version) by Alexa Still and the NZSO in 1996, on the Koch CD 3-7345-2-H1, entitled Kiwi Flute (now sadly not available). Another recording, again by Alexa Still, is in process at present.
The Flute Concerto is enjoying increasing popularity internationally. In 2006 the flute magazine Flute Focus included some articles on how to play this concerto (July, October issues).
Peninsula Suite was released in May 2007. It is a collection of 6 piano pieces describing wildlife around the Otago Peninsula. Each piece aims to describe a feature of these animals as well as offering a variety of technical challenges to the pianist. Peninsula Suite was commissioned by the Otago Branch of The Institute of Registered Music Teachers, and was written for pianists of grade 4 or 5 level.
A bouncy piece featuring syncopated rhythms and an unusual scale.
Technical feature: left hand geography.
Slow and lugubrious, with a lyrical right hand melody over a sustained left hand part.
Technical feature: pedal work.
Flowing piece mimicking the sound of pigeon wings beating.
Technical feature: the crossing of hands.
Hoiho Hip Hop
Jazzy in style; the use of black and white keys symbolises penguins.
Technical feature: change of meters and key signatures.
Lively staccato piece with driving motor rhythms.
Technical feature: light staccato touch, finger work.
Flowing lyrical lines and expressive harmonies.
Technical feature: three part textures in places. Slightly more challenging than the other pieces.
The Viola Sonata is a version of the Viola Concerto which was written while Ritchie was Composer-in-Residence with the Dunedin Sinfonia in 1994, and first performed in Dunedin the following year, with Donald Maurice as the soloist.
It is a personal work in which the viola takes on various characters, and describes human relationships. The solo part speaks in a natural and uncontrived voice, and consequently there are few shows of virtuosity in the concerto.
The first movement, allegro tempestuoso, opens in turmoil and includes an idea inspired by one of Bach's Brandenburg concertos. A lighter, folk-like theme emerges and acts as a link to the second main theme which is cooler in mood and tinged with sadness.
The long theme at the start of the slow movement began life as a solo piece, and unfolds slowly on the dorian mode.
The third movement, a cadenza, follows and acts as a link to the finale. Dance-like in character, the finale provides a resolution to the tensions of the previous movements. Some of the themes are influenced by popular music styles, and near the end there is a slightly slower section which recalls Bluegrass music; this was inspired by the American group, the Blue Sky Mountain Boys. The concerto comes to a conclusion with strident and jazzy chords.
The viola concerto has become a popular work, and was first recorded commercially by Timothy Deighton with the Penn's Woods Festival Orchestra for a CD of NZ viola music Atoll ACD 202.
Although in 8 parts, this is a simple, evocative setting of Denis Glover's
poem through the eyes of West Coaster, Arawata Bill. Suitable for adult
or youth choirs. From the Song Cycle Mountains and Rivers
This set of 4 songs includes the well-known 'Time-piece', a striking
setting of Cilla McQueen's quirky poem. Suitable for adult and
advanced youth choirs. Note: 'Time-piece' may be purchased separately
For fifty years (1951-2000) John Ritchie composed a carol (or a snippet) for the Christmas cards he sent to friends all over the world. In recent times the Jubilate Singers, conducted by John Pattinson, performed many of them at concerts and included fourteen on a CD of Ritchie's choral music titled 'Winter and Rough Weather'.
This publication of unaccompanied carols offers nine of them dating back to 1954. They cover a wide variety of moods in John Ritchie's unmistakeable style with its clear textures, surprising key changes and delightful word-settings.
Good choirs will find them easy while average choirs (large or small) will be rewarded by thorough rehearsal. Many of the settings offer new slants on the seasonal message.
$15.00 ISMN M-9013201-3-0
Four Songs for Baritone & PianoOpus 42, 3, 73 Bellbird
Four Songs for Baritone & Piano
My Father Today - words by Sam Hunt The Bay - words by James K. Baxter Lament for Barney Flanagan - words by James K. Baxter Tangi - words by Hone Tuwhare
These songs for baritone come from three different compositions by Anthony Ritchie.
My Father Today and The Bay are from To Face the Night Alone (1990) for baritone, choir and orchestra, composed originally for the City of Dunedin Choir.
Lament for Barney Flanagan (1981) is a stand-alone song, composed while Ritchie was still a student at Canterbury University. It was premiered by his friends Campbell McLachlan (baritone) and Alistair Lennie (piano), at the Cambridge Music School in the 1980s.
Tangi comes from the chamber opera The Trapeze Artists (1995), commissioned by Louise Petherbridge and first performed at the Otago Festival of Arts, in 2000.
These songs have been slightly edited and revised for this edition.
The poems by Hunt, Baxter and Tuwhare deal in various ways with the themes of loss and death. My Father Today and Tangi are laments for lost loved ones. Lament for Barney Flanagan mourns the death of a publican in a more ribald manner, sounding a cautionary note to all heavy drinkers. The Bay mourns the loss of childhood innocence, with reflections on the poet's early days around the seaside town of Brighton, near Dunedin.
These songs may be performed separately or as a group.
Tutira Mai is a traditional Maori song which has been arranged for female voices. It was written for the Rangi Ruru Chorale in 1988, and this original version was for sopranos, altos, solo flute, solo cello and piano.
The piece proved so popular, particularly with school choirs, that a second version which didn't require the solo instruments was produced. The second version has identical vocal parts to the first, but only the piano for accompaniment. Both versions last one and a half minutes.
This volume, for the conductor and pianist, includes the score of both versions. It also contains the solo flute and cello parts, which may be photocopied for the players.
The vocal part has also been produced in leaflet form, suitable for giving to individual choir members. Sets of these may be purchased from Bellbird for a small fee.
Two Bird Songs have been included in the Initial Grade of the Trinity College Singing Syllabus this year.
Albatross, Flying So High by Anthony Ritchie
Albatrosses are regular visitors to Dunedin, New Zealand. Each year the birds of the colony return from their ocean voyages to nest.
Korimako, Bellbird by Sue Court
The Korimako, or Bellbird, is native to New Zealand and is famous for its beautiful and complex bird-calls.
These songs originally appeared in Moa Music, a collection of 18 children's songs with a common theme of New Zealand wildlife, by Anthony Ritchie and Suzanne Court. It was published by Trio Publications of Dunedin, in 1995, in book form and on cassette.
Anthony Ritchie wrote songs for his young son Tristan, based on their shared experiences. Suzanna Court found inspiration for her songs in her various pets and childhood memories.
These songs have been very popular amongst singers in both recitals and competitions, and have had notable performances by Deborah Wai Kapohe, Jenny Wollerman and Pepe Becker. They are easy to learn and offer satisfying vocal lines, combined with lovely texts by two of New Zealand's most well known writers.
Song - poem by James K.Baxter
A soulful evocation of the figure of Jesus Christ as a working man.
He Moemoea (A Dream) - words by Keri Hulme
Portrays a quintessential New Zealand image, a child dancing on a beach. It is lively in character and provides a nice contrast with 'Song' which is slower.
The piano part in both songs is colourful but not too demanding technically.
He Moemoea is also available in a higher key (a tone higher) for sopranos.