Pain in the Arse


year: 2012    instrumentation: piano trio    commissioned by: NZTrio

A few years ago, the Kronos Quartet told me an amusing story. As they descended in a hotel lift on their way to rehearse a piece of mine, one member of the quartet asked another, ‘Oh, did you remember to bring the Body Parts?’ A startled silence fell on the other passengers in the lift…Well, parts of the body are a rich source of metaphor. Hence the concept for this trio, to which yet more movements will be added as time passes.

First came Fire in the Belly, commissioned by NZTrio in 2007. The new movement, completed in February 2012, is Pain in the Arse, that annoying someone or something that causes us extreme irritation or frustration. But there are also literal meanings: rectal pain caused by a fissure, an abscess, infection, or most commonly, by haemorrhoids… actually, I find the business of composing ‘a bit of a pain’, meaning that it’s hard work! On the other hand, the rewards in the end can make it all worthwhile – such as having my music performed by the dedicated and wonderfully spirited NZTrio!


click here for Pain in the Arse at SOUNZ