The full Māori name for the island is 'Te Puia o Whakaari', meaning 'The Dramatic Volcano.' It was named 'White Island' and 'discovered' by Captain Cook on 1 October 1769 because it always appeared to be in a cloud of white steam. It is New Zealand's most active cone volcano, and has been built up by continuous volcanic activity over the past 150,000 years. Playable by bass quartet or larger forces, the music encompasses contrasting episodes in the history of this most active and dramatic volcano. An underlying drone emphasises the ever-present danger, above which two solo basses sing short musical motifs in the higher register, with sudden dramatic changes of powerful energy and ferocity. The piece ends slowly and quietly...
'Te Puia o Whakaari - Scenes of The Dramatic Volcano' was premiered on Saturday 6 May 2017 at Blackwell Hall, Weston Library, Oxford by David Heyes, Richard English, Thea Sayer, Aidan Adcock, Claire Frampton, Lucy Middleton, Leo Klintman, Alice Ratcliffe, Finn Gauden and Edward Hewlett, conducted by John Traill.
David Heyes studied double bass with Laurence Gray and Bronwen Naish and later at the Royal College of Music in London. He completed his post-graduate studies in Prague with Frantisek Posta (Principal Double Bass, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra). He has given recitals and masterclasses in 13 countries over the past few years and has been a juror at a number of international competitions, twice as chairman.
David has been Specialist Double Bass Tutor at Wells Cathedral School for 19 years and received a prestigious award from the David Walter Charitable Trust of New York for his pioneering activities as a soloist, teacher, publisher and commissioner of new music for double bass. He works with composers throughout the world and is particularly interested to expand the double bass repertoire, by commissioning new works and by rediscovering forgotten ones. Over the past 30 years he has commissioned more than 500 works, from beginner to virtuoso, and from one to twenty basses.
David has transcribed more than 200 works for double bass, many published by Recital Music, and in recent year has also composed a number of original works for double bass which have been performed in Britain, America, Venezuela, Turkey, Ecuador, Ireland, Spain, Mexico, Germany and Czech Republic. David is self-taught as a composer and his music has been described as lyrical, evocative and accessible, but certainly of the 21st-century.