Music Alive

Coming up

8:00 pm Thursday 2 October: Torleif Thedéen

Cello playersSchumann’s reasons for writing a cello concerto at this time (1850) remain unclear. While it may have been intended as a vehicle for Christian Reimers, the young principal cellist of his Dusseldorf Orchestra, a performance never eventuated. Even after the concerto was published in 1854, it seems to have attracted little notice.

Not until the earlier part of the 20th century did it assume a firm place in the cello repertory, owing largely to the passionate advocacy of Pablo Casals. Rounding out tonight’s concert are two famous works by Czech composers, Smetana and Dvořák.


Torleif Thedéen (cello), Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra/Christopher Seaman

SMETANA: Vltava, from Má Vlast; SCHUMANN: Cello Concerto in A minor Op 129; DVOŘÁK: Symphony No 7 in D minor Op 70

This concert is being recorded live by Radio New Zealand and broadcast at the slightly later time of 8 o’clock.

8:00 pm Saturday 4 October: Gareth Farr

Gareth FarrRespighi was drawn to the sensual, decadent climate of the Rome depicted by the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio, and reflected that in his celebrated suites, three of which we are to hear tonight – Feste Romane (Roman Festivals), Fontane di Roma (Fountains of Rome) and  Pini di Roma (Pines of Rome).

And what could better match the feisty boldness of the Italians than a new commission from firebrand composer Gareth Farr? Full of vigorous rhythms and vivid orchestral colours, Farr’s new Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (La dolce vita) features Tony Lee, whose performance quickens the pulse and re-energises the spirit.

Tony Lee (pno), Wellington Brass Band, New Zealand SO/Pietari Inkinen

RESPIGHI: Roman Festivals; FARR: Concerto for piano & orchestra (première performance); RESPIGHI: Fountains of Rome; Pines of Rome (recorded in the Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington by RNZ)

This concert was recorded live in Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre by Radio New Zealand

Listen to Elizabeth Kerr’s review of this concert

8:00 pm Monday 6 October: Bianca Andrew

Bianca AndrewThe Mozart symphony has one of the most perfectly wrought structures. Charles Groves called it a work of passion, violence and grief, and this sense of grief certainly finds resonance in the Mahler song cycle, Kindertotenlieder. Bianca Andrew lends her warm, luminous mezzo soprano voice to these songs of love, longing and loss.

In December, 1833, the German poet Friedrich Ruckert lost his two youngest children to scarlet fever. During the following six months he immortalised his grief in 425 Kindertotenlieder - Songs on the Deaths of Children. Mahler had been raised in a family of 14 children, of whom eight had died in infancy and Ruckert’s collection of poems had always cast a spell on him.

Bianca Andrew (mezzo), Orchestra Wellington/Marc Taddei

HAYDN: Symphony No 82 in C, The Bear; MAHLER: Kindertotenlieder; MOZART: Symphony No 40 in G minor K550 (recorded in the Opera House, Wellington by RNZ)

This concert was recorded live in the Opera House, Wellington by Radio New Zealand

Listen to Bianca Andrew's interview on Upbeat.

8:00 pm Thursday 9 October: Concert for horns

French hornThe programme includes works by Haydn, Poulenc and Schumann’s Concert piece for 4 Horns, written in 1849.

The APO’s horn section is led by Principal Nicola Baker, as they tackle this rousing firecracker of a piece. British conductor Paul Goodwin also leads the orchestra through two other wonderful works: Haydn’s mighty ‘Military’ Symphony and Poulenc’s playful Sinfonietta.

The catalyst for this Sinfonietta by Francis Poulenc was a commission from the BBC to mark the opening of its “Third Programme” in 1947. Characteristically, Poulenc missed his deadline, and the Sinfonietta was premiered the following year as a radio broadcast. It was the nearest this composer ever came to writing a symphony. 

Nicola Baker, Emma Richards, Carl Wells, Simon Williams (horns), Auckland Philharmonia Orch/Paul Goodwin

HAYDN: Symphony No 100 in G, Military; SCHUMANN: Concert Piece in F for four horns Op 86; POULENC: Sinfonietta (RNZ)

This concert will be broadcast direct from the Auckland Town Hall by Radio New Zealand