8:00 pm Thursday 13 March: Home Fires
We cross to the Auckland Town Hall for Home Fires, the first of three concerts commemorating the centenary of the start of the First World War, featuring music written around 1914-18 or reflecting on the experience of that first devastating war of the 20th century.
The programme features three British composers whose music reflects joy, tragedy, and a stoic pride. and Vaughan Williams and George Butterworth.
After Butterworth tragically died while fighting in the Battle of the Somme, Vaughan Williams dedicated his London Symphony to his memory. Chinese-Australian cellist and APO favourite Li-Wei Qin returns to perform Elgar’s magnificent Cello Concerto, which was written just after the end of the war and displays an immense emotional outpouring.
(1) Home Fires
Li-Wei Qin (cello), Auckland Philharmonia/Eckehard Stier
BUTTERWORTH: A Shropshire Lad; ELGAR: Cello Concerto in E minor Op 85
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Symphony No 2, A London Symphony (RNZ)
This concert will be broadcast live from the Auckland Town Hall by Radio New Zealand Concert
8:00 pm Friday 14 March: The Keleman Quartet
This brilliant young quartet from Hungary, currently taking Europe by storm, is making its New Zealand debut.In this concert, they pair the classics, Haydn and Mozart, with Bartók and the great Hungarian modernist Ligeti.
The Kelemen Quartet has developed a world-wide following since winning the Musica Viva Grand Prize at the 2011 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition. Hungarian passion. Classical perfection. Contemporary fire.
MOZART: String Quartet No 19 in C K465, Dissonance; KODÁLY: Serenade for two violins & viola Op 12
HAYDN: String Quartet in D Op 20/4; BARTÓK: String Quartet No 4 (RNZ)
This concert will be broadcast direct from Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre by Radio New Zealand
8:00 pm Saturday 15 March: Nathan Haines
Now based in London and signed to Warner Classics Nathan Haines returned to New Zealand last year to release his new recording Vermillion Skies with a group of local musicians.
Nathan left for studies in New York in 1991 which immersed him in the worlds of jazz, hip-hop and Latin music. He returned to New Zealand but soon became restless and moved to London in 1995 (his present home). Nathan eventually teamed up with West London based producer and DJ Phil Asher and they became an internationally recognised force that blended jazz harmony with dance rhythms and a hip-hop sensibility.
Nathan Haines (sax), John Bell (vibraphone), Kevin Field (pno), Ben Turua (dbass), Alain Koetsier (drums)
FIELD: Good Friday; HAINES: Lady Lywa; Frontier West; Five Dimensions; Celestial You; Universal Man; Ancestral Dance (recorded in the Leigh Sawmill, Hauraki Gulf by RNZ)
This concert was recorded live at the Leigh Sawmill North of Auckland by Radio New Zealand
8:00 pm Monday 17 March: Bravo! Britten
Benjamin Britten was born in Lowestoft England in 1913. Over the course of his life he would give the world some of the greatest vocal works of the 20th century, from his opera Peter Grimes, to the War Requiem and the Ceremony of Carols, to simple folk song arrangements. But his chamber music seems to have dwelt in the shadows of his immense output.
As part of the Centenary Celebrations, the New Zealand String Quartet toured a series called Bravo Britten around New Zealand. The kaleidoscope of works in each programme are by composers who had a profound influence on Britten’s music and were close to his heart and include a quartet by Britten, himself.
(1) STRAVINSKY: Concertino; BRITTEN: String Quartet No 1 in D Op 25; BRIDGE: Idyll No 1; Pieces Nos 1 & 2; MOZART: String Quartet No 22 in Bb K589, Prussian (recorded in the Hunter Council Chamber, Victoria University, Wellington by RNZ)
This programme was recorded live in Victoria University’s Hunter Council Chamber by Radio New Zealand
8:00 pm Wednesday 19 March: La Capella Reial de Catalunya
La Capella Reial de Catalunya is a vocal group that was founded by Jordi Savall in an attempt to recreate a typical music group found in the chapel of a royal court on the Iberian Peninsula in the Renaissance era and into the Baroque.
In 1974, Savall, a viola da gamba soloist, had co-founded the instrumental group Hespèrion XX (later Hesperion XXI). Originally a quartet, Hespèrion often added other instruments as required by its repertory, which covers the Renaissance and Baroque eras in Europe.
La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Hespèrion XXI/Jordi Savall
El Libre Vermell de Montserrat (Songs and dances in honour of the Black Virgin of Montserrat)
ANON: O Virgo splendens; Stella splendens; Laudemus Virginem; Los set gotxs; Splendens ceptigera; Polorum Regina; Cuncti simus; Mariam Matrem; Imperayritz de la ciutat joyosa; Ad mortem festinamus; O Virgo splendens (recorded in the Santa Maria del Pi's Church, Barcelona by Spanish Radio of Catalonia)
This concert was recorded live in St Maria del Pi’s Church, Barcelona by Spanish Radio of Catalonia
8:00 pm Thursday 20 March: Ross Harris
Harris’s latest Symphony, No.5.which uses poems by Hungarian poet Panni Palasti, is based on her experiences as a child in Budapest in 1944. These are sung tonight by Sally-Anne Russell (mezzo). Paired with Harris’s work is Mahler’s buoyant and immensely joyful Fourth Symphony, built around his song ‘Das himmlische Leben’, which imagines a child’s vision of Heaven. Tonight’s performance features talented soprano Madeleine Pierard.
Sally-Anne Russell (mezzo), Madeleine Pierard (sop), Auckland Philharmonia/Eckehard Stier
HARRIS: Symphony No 5 (première performance); MAHLER: Symphony No 4 in G (recorded in the Auckland Town Hall by RNZ)
This concert was recorded live in the Auckland Town Hall by Radio New Zealand
Photo of Ross Harris by Gareth Watkins, Lilburn Trust, Wallace Arts Trust