This work is published as a saddle-stitched full score booklet for reference and study.
About the work:
Aquarius was commissioned by the Broadcasting Corporation of New Zealand for the Schola Musica and its founding conductor, Ashley Heenan, to mark the 21st anniversary of the orchestra’s foundation.
John Ritchie writes: 'The title Aquarius recognises the founding date of the orchestra, February 1961. It also conveys an image of An, the ancient sky god, who poured the waters of immortality on the earth, thereby establishing the tradition of the water carrier. The basic musical intervals of the outer movements of the suite suggest An as depicted by the poet Aratus. In between is the murmuring quietude of the sea, home of Piscus Austinus, the southern fish.
'The first movement has baroque origins. Two solo violins decorate and enlarge upon the unison ritornello theme with which the work opens, a dorian melody involving cross-rhythms and considerable rhythmic ambiguity. It is a strong melody which leads in a number of tonal directions and to a variety of developmental situations, including a drum-like passage and a ‘waltzy’ venture into bitonalism. The concertino/ripieno relationship is to the fore throughout.
'The slow movement comprises an introduction followed by a pastoral melody—one of my best tunes—with the character of a folk song (this reappears in a more extended form in The Snow Goose for flute and orchestra).
'The finale opens with the melodic interval of a major seventh which becomes a predominating characteristic throughout. It initiates the main theme, sets going a hiccuping fugato in the middle of the piece and informs the coda, so that the last two notes of the movement are the same as the first two.'