Douglas Lilburn – Complete Electro Acoustic Works – free online New Zealand music

Douglas Lilburn (1915-2001) is considered ‘the father of New Zealand music’. In 1965 he created his first major electronic work in the studios of Radio NZ, our musical landscape was changed forever. Lilburn never looked back, and continued to work exclusively in electronic music (including founding Victoria University’s electronic music studio in 1970), until his death in 2001.

In Douglas Lilburn – Complete Electro Acoustic Works,  some works are purely electronic; others were inspired by the natural sounds of the sea or bush, or the writings of leading New Zealand writers such as Allen Curnow, Denis Glover and Alistair Campbell.

All the pioneering work that influenced later composers like Jack Body, John Rimmer and Phil Dadson is here: found sounds, sampling, spoken word, birdsong, self-generated sounds (banging on cans, for example) and so on.

So too are the exploratory techniques: splicing, filtering, and soundscaping using entirely synthetic materials. His first major electronic work, The Return, is here. It also includes ‘Five Toronto Pieces’, which features  a setting of Denis Glover’s Sings Harry – probably the first New Zealand electronic composition.

This album (and over 52,000 more) is available online for free from anywhere with your library card number and PIN.

For New Zealand Music Month we are featuring a daily dose of free online New Zealand music from Naxos Music Library and the Source.

A Chaos of Delight by Eve de Castro-Robinson – free online New Zealand music


A Chaos of Delight by Eve de Castro-Robinson
is a collection of solo and chamber works by de Castro-Robinson includes Split the Lark, Small Blue and Tumbling Strains, while performers include Andrew Uren, Dan Poynton and Mark Menzies.

The first in my Chaos of Delight series of pieces based on birdsong, Chaos of Delight I requires the bass clarinettiest to trill, click, screech, book and roll in a virtuosic display of avian sonorities, using the full range of the instrument, from the boom of the kakapo to the shriek of the morepork and the bleat of the bush falcon. All these can be heard amongst sounds which exploit the unique characteristics of the bass clarinet, such as its uncannily high register, slap tonguing and multiphonics.

The title is taken from a passage in A Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand by Falla, Gibson and Turbott: there are still many quiet places far from the madding crowd, where the mind can become, in Darwin’s phrase, ‘a chaos of delight’ at the abundance and variety of birds which pass before the eye or perplex the ear.

This album (and over 52,000 more) is available online for free from anywhere with your library card number and PIN.

For New Zealand Music Month we are featuring a daily dose of free online New Zealand music from Naxos Music Library and the Source.

Mr. Darwin’s Dances by Jonathan Besser – free online New Zealand music

Composer/pianist Jonathan Besser was born in New York City in 1949, and studied composition in New York. Resident in New Zealand since 1974, he has composed and performed original music for many film, radio, stage and TV as well as making numerous recordings.

Mr. Darwin’s Dances by Jonathan Besser contains two works – Mr. Darwin’s Dances and Precious Legacy Suite:

Mr Darwin’s dances

I composed this music after reading my Australian friend Roger McDonald’s “Mr Darwin’s Shooter” – I was taken on a journey on the salty decks of history through Roger’s inspired language.

Precious Legacy

In 1998 a very powerful Jewish exhibition arrived in Auckland at the same time I did. The exhibition from Prague was called “Precious Legacy – treasures from the Holocaust”. I was touched equally by the household and the sacred objects; how religious practice and everyday life were so bound together. It was an important opportunity to reflect on the enormity of feelings that the Holocaust evokes. My people, my culture, my history, my century.

This album (and over 52,000 more) is available online for free from anywhere with your library card number and PIN.

For New Zealand Music Month we are featuring a daily dose of free online New Zealand music from Naxos Music Library and the Source.

Piano Preludes by Anthony Ritchie – free online New Zealand music

Piano Preludes are an ancient musical form, dating back to the Baroque period and Anthony Ritchie’s feature Sharon Joy Vogan on Piano.

Anthony Ritchie was born in 1960 and educated in Christchurch. He completed a Ph.D. on the music of Bartok, and studied composition with Attila Bozay at the Liszt Academy. Recently he has turned his attention to opera, completing “Quartet” for the 2004 International Festival of the Arts, and The God Boy, for Opera Otago (2004). Ritchie said:

I spent many teenage hours learning pieces from Chopin’s 24 Preludes, Debussy’s two books of preludes, and Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues. So when I set about composing a large work for piano I thought of these role models before me. I decided to write my own set of 24 preludes and make a small mark of respect to these great composers, with dedications to them in No.2 (Chopin), No.13 (Debussy), No.16 (Shostakovich) and No.17 (Bach).

This album (and over 52,000 more) is available online for free from anywhere with your library card number and PIN.

For New Zealand Music Month we are featuring a daily dose of free online New Zealand music from Naxos Music Library and the Source.