The Sunday Feature

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2:00 PM Today

John Amis Composer Portraits

We pay tribute to the British broadcasting personality who died last year, aged 91, with this series made in 1981 and recently re-mastered. Known to many through the My Music panel game, John Amis visited this country several times and recorded programmes for Radio New Zealand on two occasions. His experience working with and interviewing hundreds of musicians and composers made him a witty contributor, admired for his phenomenal musical knowledge and his ability to drop into the programme an appropriate and often hilarious personal anecdote whenever called upon. While the spoken content is contemporary to the 1980s, Amis's personal associations with each of the composers make his comments still very relevant thirty years later.

Five programmes

(2) Igor Stravinsky

Considered the world's greatest living composer at the time, Stravinsky came to New Zealand a little over 50 years ago and conducted our National Orchestra in two memorable performances, including music from The Firebird (RNZ)

Displaying all 81 audio

  • John Amis Composer Portraits - Igor Stravinsky ( 40′ 43″ )

    Just over a hundred years ago Igor Stravinsky attended the premieres of his controversial ballets The Firebird, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring when they were performed to Paris audiences. And a little over 50 years ago he came to New Zealand and conducted our National Orchestra in two memorable performances, including music from The Firebird. Stravinsky is the focus of this portrait by John Amis recorded in 1981 (RNZ).

    From Appointment on 23 Nov 2014

  • John Amis Composer Portraits - Percy Grainger ( 48′ 30″ )

    John Amis looks at the colourful and sometimes eccentric Percy Grainger, a world famous pianist, teacher and writer, who today is known mainly for his folk song arrangements. Recorded in 1981 (RNZ).

    From Appointment on 16 Nov 2014

  • Roger Flury ( 58′ 50″ )

    Just before returning to the UK after 40 years in New Zealand, Roger Flury (music librarian, historian and broadcaster) spoke with Des Wilson (RNZ).

    From The Sunday Feature on 09 Nov 2014

  • Larry Pruden (1925-1982) ( 55′ 54″ )

    Peter Mechen looks at the life and work of Taranaki-born composer Larry Pruden, talks to those who knew him, and learns about the collected edition of Pruden's works being published by Promethean Editions (RNZ).

    From Appointment on 02 Nov 2014

  • Conversations with Harry ( 57′ 23″ )

    Cultural entrepreneur Harry Seresin was an identity in Wellington from his arrival in 1939, safe from Nazi persecution, through several decades of energy and passion for life and the arts. In 1992 he talked with Dinah Priestley about his family background, his businesses, the establishment of Downstage Theatre, The Settlement and his coffee gallery at Parsons Bookshop (RNZ).

    From Appointment on 26 Oct 2014

  • The Low Down - Bass Riffs ( 48′ 4″ )

    In this episode of The Low Down, jazz bassist Nick Tipping gets into the groove, featuring great bass riffs. Tap your toes to Slice of Heaven with Dave Dobbyn & Herbs, Paul Simon's Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes, and Bill Withers' Lovely Day.

    From The Sunday Feature on 19 Oct 2014

  • The Low Down - Monsters of the Deep ( 50′ )

    In this episode of The Low Down, jazz bassist Nick Tipping shines a light on the monsters of the deep and their spectacular bass playing. You'll hear virtuosic playing from Edgar Meyer, Jaco Pastorius' Portait of Tracy, and Berimbass with Renaud Garcia-Fons.

    From The Sunday Feature on 12 Oct 2014

  • The Low Down - Bass Pedals ( 49′ 49″ )

    In this episode of The Low Down, jazz bassist Nick Tipping lays a firm foundation with tunes built over the static bass. The bass pedal includes Naima from John Coltrane, Spring is Here from Charlie Haden, and Ravel's Piece en Forme de Habanera. (Part three of five.)

    From The Sunday Feature on 05 Oct 2014

  • The Low Down - Bass Players ( 46′ 13″ )

    In the third episode of The Low Down, jazz bassist Nick Tipping plumbs the depths for great bass players, including Ray Brown with the Oscar Peterson Trio, Edgar Meyer performing Bach, and some 'elevated love' from the Esbjorn Svensson Trio. (Part two of five)

    From The Sunday Feature on 28 Sep 2014

  • The Low Down - Bass Lines ( 51′ 39″ )

    Jazz bassist Nick Tipping cranks up the bass with memorable bass lines. You'll hear the Pat Metheny's So May it Secretly Begin, Netherworld Dancing Toys' For Today, and music from Handel's 2nd Concerto for Two Wind Choirs. (Part one of five).

    From The Sunday Feature on 21 Sep 2014

  • Composers on Camera - Composer as Hero ( 57′ 39″ )

    Thomas Goss compares the cinematic narrative of the epic hero-composer to our own assumptions and impulses in appreciating concert music.

    From The Sunday Feature on 31 Aug 2014

  • Composers on Camera - Composer as Lover ( 57′ 26″ )

    Thomas Goss explores how the subject of romance is elevated to philosophical and artistic heights when merged with the identity of a great composer.

    From The Sunday Feature on 24 Aug 2014

  • Composers on Camera - Composer as Madman ( 57′ 29″ )

    Thomas Goss discusses composer-film specialist Ken Russell & his penchant for over-the-top portrayals, and reviews other films in which hysteria trumps drama.

    From The Sunday Feature on 17 Aug 2014

  • Composers on Camera - The Beethoven Meme ( 57′ 55″ )

    Thomas Goss offers a comparison of three recent movies about the greatest classical composer, and suggests how their different views add up to one Messianic testament.

    From The Sunday Feature on 10 Aug 2014

  • Composers on Camera - How Amadeus Changed Everything ( 57′ 9″ )

    Thomas Goss takes a long view of cinematic composers, and how one film lifted their narratives from the mundane to the epic.

    From The Sunday Feature on 03 Aug 2014

  • Lola Johnson ( 58′ 23″ )

    Fifty-five years after recording the country's first classical piano LP Lola Johnson talks with Peter Mechen.

    From The Sunday Feature on 27 Jul 2014

  • The Influence of Saïd ( 55′ 30″ )

    East, West: Cultural Counterpoints - Programme 5: With illustrations from the past and the present, in literature, music and other cultural artefacts, we see how Said's vision has changed the way we think about the interrelationship between West and East.

    From The Ideas of Edward Saïd on 29 Jun 2014

  • Saïd on Music and Silence ( 46′ )

    East, West: Cultural Counterpoints - Programme 4: In a 1997 essay Edward Said explored the development of Western Classical Music from Beethoven through Wagner to Schoenberg and beyond. John Drummond explores Said's stimulating and controversial ideas.

    From The Ideas of Edward Saïd on 22 Jun 2014

  • Saïd on Aïda ( 54′ 35″ )

    East, West: Cultural Counterpoints - Programme 3: Edward Said (1935-2003) was a Palestinian-American scholar and public intellectual. John discusses Saïd’s views on Verdi’s Aïda.

    From The Ideas of Edward Saïd on 15 Jun 2014

  • Edward Saïd’s Orientalism ( 51′ 19″ )

    East, West: Cultural Counterpoints - Programme 2: Edward Saïd (1935-2003) was a Palestinian-American scholar and public intellectual. Dr Vijay Devadas look at one of his most influential books Orientalism (RNZ).

    From The Ideas of Edward Saïd on 08 Jun 2014

  • The Ideas of Edward Saïd ( 49′ 53″ )

    East, West: Cultural Counterpoints - Programme 1: Edward Said (1935-2003) was a Palestinian-American scholar and public intellectual. Professor John Drummond and Dr Vijay Devadas look at the life and works of one of the leading thinkers of the second half of the 20th century.

    From The Ideas of Edward Saïd on 01 Jun 2014

  • The Flying Dutchman ( 53′ 56″ )

    Aidan Lang looks at Wagner's third completed opera and the first of his so-called "Romantic" operas along with Tannhäuser and Lohengrin.

    From The Sunday Feature on 25 May 2014

  • Stravinsky and the Machine - Think Nothing ( 44′ 28″ )

    New Zealand musicologist and author of Experiencing Stravinsky: A Listener’s Companion (2013), Robin Maconie, charts the fruitful relationship between Stravinsky’s music and advents of technology. Part 1 of 2.

    From The Sunday Feature on 18 May 2014

  • Emerging Artists at NZ Opera ( 49′ 3″ )

    Clarissa Dunn finds out how NZ Opera's intern programme helps young New Zealand singers to forge a career in the international profession of opera singing.

    From The Sunday Feature on 04 May 2014

  • Jian Liu ( 48′ 10″ )

    Head of Piano at the New Zealand School of Music since 2011, Dr Jian Liu has an established international performing and teaching career. Jian Liu talks with Kenneth Young about his life in music.

    From The Sunday Feature on 27 Apr 2014

  • The Planets ( 51′ 38″ )

    Gustav Holst's 'The Planets' is a triumph of orchestration, but many of its features and innovations are taken for granted. Thomas Goss takes us on a tour of the unique architecture and fascinating conception of this 20th-century masterpiece.

    From The Sunday Feature on 20 Apr 2014

  • Moondog: The Viking of 6th Avenue ( 57′ 34″ )

    Ryan Smith explores the world of Moondog, the American street musician who became an iconic figure in New York City.

    From The Sunday Feature on 09 Apr 2014

  • Tchaikovsky and Brahms ( 53′ 10″ )

    The rivalry between Tchaikovsky and Brahms was legendary, and it went beyond mere distaste for one another's musical direction. Thomas Goss explores the uneasy friendship and resulting musical ferment in the lives of the two giants. (RNZ)

    From The Sunday Feature on 06 Apr 2014

  • The organ of Napier Cathedral ( 44′ 13″ )

    The organ in Napier Cathedral has been restored and enlarged to become New Zealand's most advanced cathedral organ. Kerry Stevens follows the restoration which honours the organ builders who have contributed to the instrument over many decades.

    From The Sunday Feature on 30 Mar 2014

  • Nicky Spence ( 44′ 14″ )

    Scottish tenor Nicky Spence's varied career spans contemporary opera, traditional opera, crossover, recital work, recording and more. He's in the country to sing in NZ Opera's production of Don Giovanni in Christchurch and here Nicky Spence talks with Christine Argyle.

    From The Sunday Feature on 23 Mar 2014

  • Appointment for 5 March 2014 ( 53′ 17″ )

    John Wells canvasses organist superstar Cameron Carpenter.

    From Appointment on 05 Mar 2014

  • Renata Scotto - A legend looks back, Part 2 ( 53′ 10″ )

    Legendary Italian soprano looks back on her life, from her earliest memories as a young girl falling in love with opera, through her thriving career singing some of her most famously acclaimed roles, up to her present day triumphs directing opera productions and teaching young singers in her greatly sought-after master-classes (RNZ/WFMT).

    From The Sunday Feature on 02 Mar 2014

  • Renata Scotto - A legend looks back, Part 1 ( 54′ 29″ )

    Legendary Italian soprano looks back on her life, from her earliest memories as a young girl falling in love with opera, through her thriving career singing some of her most famously acclaimed roles, up to her present day triumphs directing opera productions and teaching young singers in her greatly sought-after master-classes (RNZ/WFMT).

    From The Sunday Feature on 23 Feb 2014

  • Charlotte's Web - Piera McArthur ( 59′ 29″ )

    Charlotte Wilson talks to Piera McArthur, painter, music-lover, and subject of a lifetime's retrospective at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery, about the place of music in her life.

    From Summer Sonic on 31 Dec 2013

  • Charlotte's Web - Marti Friedlander ( 59′ 57″ )

    Arriving in New Zealand in 1958, Marti Friedlander immediately turned to photography to explore the new country and society around her, and has captured many of this country's most important images: artists and politicians, children and kuia, protests and landscapes. Charlotte Wilson asks her about the place of music in her life.

    From The Sunday Feature on 30 Dec 2013

  • Risë Stevens (1913-2013) ( 58′ 54″ )

    The glamorous American mezzo-soprano lived almost 100 years. Roger Flury & Des Wilson review her career on the opera stage and in the movies.

    From The Sunday Feature on 29 Dec 2013

  • High Class Middlebrow - Part 3: Gavin Sutherland ( 57′ 5″ )

    Brian Kay talks to conductor, composer and arranger Gavin Sutherland who has numerous light music recordings to his credit.

    From The Sunday Feature on 22 Dec 2013

  • High Class Middlebrow - Part 2: Ronald Corp ( 57′ 21″ )

    Brian Kay talks to conductor and composer Ronald Corp, whose recordings of light music for Hyperion in the 1990s became immensely popular and helped to re-ignite interest in the field of light music.

    From The Sunday Feature on 15 Dec 2013

  • High Class Middlebrow - Part 1: John Wilson ( 58′ 4″ )

    Brian Kay talks to conductor, composer, arranger John Wilson, whose musical genius is behind many successful projects in light music and film music.

    From The Sunday Feature on 08 Dec 2013

  • Tobias Ringborg ( 55′ 40″ )

    Visiting Swedish conductor talks with Christine Argyle.

    From The Sunday Feature on 01 Dec 2013

  • Candide: Too Much Genius ( 57′ 55″ )

    A look at Leonard Bernstein's 20th century musical presented by Elric Hooper & Des Wilson.

    From The Sunday Feature on 24 Nov 2013

  • Carmen: I am here, I am me ( 58′ 42″ )

    Jack Body's composition 'Songs & Dances of Desire' entwines the life of Bizet's opera character with the story of one of NZ's notable characters, Carmen Rupe. NB - listener discretion is advised due to strong language and adult themes (RNZ)

    From The Sunday Feature on 17 Nov 2013

  • Don Carlos ( 58′ 14″ )

    Versions of Don Carlos, presented by Michael Vinten.

    From The Sunday Feature on 13 Oct 2013

  • Eckehard Stier ( 58′ 26″ )

    Tim Dodd talks to the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra's Music Director and Chief Conductor, a man of prodigious energy who also holds positions at Görlitz Opera and the Neue Lausitz Philharmonic Orchestra.

    From The Sunday Feature on 06 Oct 2013

  • Wagner, the Sea and the Dutchman ( 59′ 24″ )

    Heath Lees explores the role of the sea in Wagner's opera The Flying Dutchman.

    From The Sunday Feature on 29 Sep 2013

  • Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau ( 58′ 26″ )

    Peter Shaw profiles the 20th Century's greatest lieder singer.

    From The Sunday Feature on 15 Sep 2013

  • Welsh tenor Dennis O'Neill ( 58′ 26″ )

    The distinguished Welsh tenor and educator talks with Christine Argyle.

    From The Sunday Feature on 08 Sep 2013

  • Soprano Taryn Fiebig ( 56′ 24″ )

    Helpmann Award-winning Australian soprano Taryn Fiebig talks with Christine Argyle.

    From The Sunday Feature on 01 Sep 2013

  • Fanelli (1860-1917) ( 55′ 32″ )

    When it comes to discussing the origins of Impressionism in French music, the work of composer Ernest Fanelli is surrounded by controversy. Presented by Roger Wilson.

    From The Sunday Feature on 25 Aug 2013

  • Light Music: Into the Future ( 55′ 7″ )

    Brian Kay presents a selection of his favourite pieces of Light Music. In this programme, rather than celebrating the glories of the past, he looks at living composers taking the genre into the future.

    From The Sunday Feature on 11 Aug 2013

  • Light Music: Signature Tunes ( 56′ )

    Brian Kay presents a selection of his favourite pieces of Light Music. In this programme his theme is "Signature Tunes".

    From The Sunday Feature on 04 Aug 2013

  • Light Music: Going Places ( 55′ 36″ )

    Brian Kay presents a selection of his favourite pieces of Light Music. In this programme his theme is "Going Places".

    From The Sunday Feature on 28 Jul 2013

  • Beethoven Quartets (Part 3) - The Road to Parnassus ( 50′ 17″ )

    Beethoven Quartets 3: The Road to Parnassus. Peter Walls explores the character of Beethoven's great cycle of String Quartets.

    From The Sunday Feature on 14 Jul 2013

  • Beethoven Quartets (Part 2) - Testament ( 55′ 15″ )

    Beethoven's Quartets 2: Testament. Peter Walls explores the character of Beethoven's great cycle of String Quartets.

    From The Sunday Feature on 07 Jul 2013

  • Beethoven Quartets (Part 1) - Mozart's Spirit, Haydn's Hands ( 50′ 32″ )

    Beethoven's Quartets 1: Mozart's spirit, Haydn's hands. Peter Walls explores the character of Beethoven's great cycle of String Quartets.

    From The Sunday Feature on 30 Jun 2013

  • How Will Opera Survive? (Part 4) ( 59′ 1″ )

    Panel discussion, chaired by John Drummond, on prospects for opera as viewed in and from New Zealand - with Aidan Lang, Margaret Medlyn and Garth Wilshere

    From How Will Opera Survive? on 23 Jun 2013

  • How Will Opera Survive? (Part 3) ( 55′ 40″ )

    Challenges and opportunities.

    From How Will Opera Survive? on 16 Jun 2013

  • How Will Opera Survive? (Part 2) ( 47′ 32″ )

    The future for opera performers.

    From How Will Opera Survive? on 09 Jun 2013

  • How Will Opera Survive? (Part 1) ( 54′ 8″ )

    The future for opera companies.

    From How Will Opera Survive? on 02 Jun 2013

  • The Rite of Spring - 100 year shock wave ( 56′ 38″ )

    Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring is still provocative and disturbing a century after its premiere caused one of the most sensational scandals in artistic history. In this anniversary documentary, the ballet's 100 year shock-wave is traced from its initial explosion on May 29th 1913 right up to the present time. First-hand recollections of the famous first night from Dame Marie Rambert, who was one of the dancers, and Igor Stravinsky, who was in the audience, lead through to comments on the work's enduring power from performers of today - dancer Dame Monica Mason, dancer Deborah Bull, choreographer Jean-Christophe Maillot, and conductors Valery Gergiev, the late Sir Colin Davis, and Bernard Keeffe - as well as dance re-constructionist Millicent Hodson and musicologist and historian Geoffrey Norris. Narrated and produced by Jon Tolansky.

    From The Sunday Feature on 26 May 2013

  • Sir Colin Davis ( 58′ 59″ )

    Interview with the late Sir Colin Davis by Jon Tolansky, recorded in 2006.

    From The Sunday Feature on 19 May 2013

  • Madama Butterfly ( 57′ 52″ )

    After its disastrous premiere in 1904 Puccini responded with the first of several revisions.

    From The Sunday Feature on 05 May 2013

  • Adolphe Sax ( 43′ 25″ )

    Presented by Thomas Goss (RNZ).

    From The Sunday Feature on 28 Apr 2013

  • Remembering Britten, Part 2 ( 56′ 55″ )

    Presented by Jon Tolansky (RNZ/WFMT).

    From The Sunday Feature on 21 Apr 2013

  • Remembering Britten, Part 1 ( 56′ 55″ )

    Presented by Jon Tolansky (RNZ/WFMT).

    From The Sunday Feature on 14 Apr 2013

  • Hohepa - The making of an opera ( 59′ 56″ )

    Presented by Amelia Nurse.

    From The Sunday Feature on 03 Feb 2013

  • The Sunday Feature for 23 December 2012 - Kathleen Ferrier ( 58′ 51″ )

    Roger Flury and Des Wilson mark the British contralto's centenary.

    From The Sunday Feature on 23 Dec 2012

  • The Sunday Feature for 9 December 2012 - Messiah with Brian Kay ( 58′ 9″ )

    Brian Kay looks at the background to Handel's masterpiece and plays excerpts from a wide variety of recordings of different styles.

    From The Sunday Feature on 09 Dec 2012

  • The Sunday Feature for 18 November - David Zinman ( 58′ 22″ )

    The international conductor talks with David Morriss

    From The Sunday Feature on 18 Nov 2012

  • The Sunday Feature for 11 November - I Musici ( 53′ 6″ )

    David Morriss talks with the group's leader Antonio Anselmi.

    From The Sunday Feature on 11 Nov 2012

  • The Sunday Feature 21 October 2012 - Sir Georg Solti ( 1h 57′ 9″ )

    A centenary tribute, presented by Jon Tolansky.

    From The Sunday Feature on 21 Oct 2012

  • The Voice Box (Part 2) ( 58′ 23″ )

    Clarissa Dunn looks at some of the most intriguing vocal virtuosi from opera singers to yodellers to beat boxers: those artists who’ve taken the vocal instrument to physical and imaginative extremes.

    From Appointment on 11 Oct 2012

  • The Sunday Feature for 7 October 2012 ( 55′ 29″ )

    Brian Kay explores the various ways composers have approached writing music for the text of the Gloria.

    From The Sunday Feature on 07 Oct 2012

  • The Voice Box (Part 1) ( 42′ 45″ )

    From baby cries to flamenco cante, Clarissa Dunn looks at the extremes of pitch, the mysteries of vibrato and the expression of emotion through the human voice.

    From Appointment on 04 Oct 2012

  • The Sunday Feature for 30 September 2012 ( 56′ 35″ )

    Brian Kay explores the various ways composers have approached writing music for the text of the Magnificat.

    From The Sunday Feature on 30 Sep 2012

  • The Sunday Feature for 9 September 2012 ( 57′ 33″ )

    Oliver von Dohnányi. The Slovak conductor talks with Christine Argyle.

    From The Sunday Feature on 09 Sep 2012

  • The Sunday Feature for 2 September 2012 ( 58′ 40″ )

    Forgetting Ida Rubinstein - Part 2 - Death of the Myth. Presented by Elric Hooper & Des Wilson.

    From The Sunday Feature on 02 Sep 2012

  • The Sunday Feature for 26 August 2012 ( 57′ 39″ )

    Forgetting Ida Rubinstein - Part 1 - La Belle Epoque. Presented by Elric Hooper and Des Wilson.

    From The Sunday Feature on 26 Aug 2012

  • Frederick Delius' Magnificent Dance of Life and Death ( 57′ 4″ )

    Presented by Dr Emanuel Garcia and Simon Romanos (RNZ).

    From The Sunday Feature on 19 Aug 2012

  • The Sunday Feature for 12 August 2012 - Puccini on Disc ( 58′ 25″ )

    Roger Flury discusses his new book on Puccini's discography with Des Wilson.

    From The Sunday Feature on 12 Aug 2012

  • Versions of Fidelio ( 56′ 50″ )

    Michael Vinten looks at the various versions of Beethoven's only opera.

    From The Sunday Feature on 15 Jul 2012