Many performing arts organisations released their 2013 programmes this month, including APO, CMNZ and NZSO (in chronological order). I have combed their offerings to assemble a list of “new music” you can hear next year, if you’re interested in such things.
Classification of what “new music” is is entirely arbitrary. An asterisk * indicates a world première. Unless noted, all dates are the Auckland performances, because that’s where I’m living next year and this list is primarily for my benefit. My arbitrariness extends to a level of laziness sufficient not to chronicle the entire country.
Also, lots of organisations with smaller budgets are yet to announce their programmes. No, I probably won’t keep updating this list as they do.
(Added 1 November: Auckland Arts Festival.)
(Added 6 November: Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, even though they’re coming nowhere near Auckland.)
(Added 7 November: Michael Hill International Violin Competition, with its NZ test piece.)
(Added 16 November: the Adam Chamber Music Festival in Nelson. Quite a lot of “new” music there.)
New Zealand “New Music” Composers’ Music
* Chris Adams: Mahuika (Nicholas Sutcliffe, APO/Hamish McKeich – 23 May)
Christopher Blake: Till Human Voices Wake Us (James Egglestone, NZSO/Tecwyn Evans – 24 April, Wellington only)
Jack Body: Arum Manis (Kronos Quartet – 11-14 March, WN CH & DN only)
* Jack Body: Songs and Dances of Desire (Norio Sato, Xiao Ma, Anna Pierard, APO/Kenneth Young – 8 March)
* Jack Body: [new work for solo violin] (Michael Hill International Violin Competition semi-finalists – 2-3 July, Queenstown)
* Claire Cowan: [new work for piano trio] (NZTrio – 8 May)
Lyell Cresswell: Concerto for piano and orchestra (Stephen De Pledge, CSO/Benjamin Northey – 23 March, CH)
Phil Dadson: MAYA (CSO/Tecwyn Evans – 16 Feb, CH)
* Eve de Castro-Robinson: the glittering hosts of heaven (NZSO/Pietari Inkinen – 21 June)
* Robbie Ellis: Relish in Immature Bombast (Tim Noon, Jono Sawyer, APO/Hamish McKeich – 23 May) THAT’S ME
David Farquhar: Short Suite from Ring Round the Moon (NZSO/Tecwyn Evans – 12-19 October, Wellington, Otago & Southland only)
* Gao Ping: The Mountain (CSO/Benjamin Northey – 23 March, CH)
Gao Ping: Su Xie Si Ti – Four Sketches (NZTrio – 24 March)
Gareth Farr: Ahi (NZTrio – 8 February, Nelson)
Gareth Farr: The Nor’West Arch (CSO/Tom Woods – 31 August, CH)
* Gareth Farr: [new work for string quartet] (Goldner String Quartet – 3 October)
(*) Gareth Farr/Richard Nunns: Ngā Kete o Toru (Horomona Horo, NZTrio – 24 March)
* David Hamilton: Chimera (John Wells, APO/Hamish McKeich – 23 May)
* Ben Hoadley: Huia (Indra Hughes, APO/Hamish McKeich – 23 May)
* Samuel Holloway: [new work] (some or all of Jack Liebeck, Victoria Sayles, Julia Joyce, Andrew Joyce & Stephen De Pledge – 15-31 July, closest is Hamilton)
Ross Harris: Chaconne for solo viola (Gillian Ansell – 2 February, Nelson)
* Ross Harris: String Quartet No 5, Songs from Childhood (New Zealand String Quartet – 6 February, Nelson)
* Ross Harris: Symphony No 5 (Sally-Anne Russell, APO/Eckehard Stier – 15 August)
* Ross Harris: [new work for flute, saxophone & piano] (Rebecca Steele, Debbie Rawson & Diedre Irons – 2-9 March, closest is Hamilton)
* Martin Jaenecke: Meditation (instrumentation TBA – 8 February, Nelson)
* Victoria Kelly: Toi Huarewa/Suspended Way (Horomona Horo, NZTrio – 24 March)
Douglas Lilburn: Drysdale Overture (APO/Nicholas Altstaedt – 5 September)
* Jenny McLeod: [new song cycle] (Jenny Wollerman & Emma Sayers – 6 February, Nelson)
* Philip Norman: Mahy (Juliet Reynolds, Tainui Kuru, CSO/Kenneth Young – 4 May, CH)
Larry Pruden: Soliloquy for strings (NZSO/Pietari Inkinen – 12 April)
John Psathas: Abisheka (New Zealand String Quartet – 9 February, Nelson)
John Psathas: Helix (NZTrio – 6 February, Nelson)
John Psathas: Orpheus in Rarohenga (Jenny Wollerman, Paul Whelan, Orpheus Choir of Wellington, NZSO/Tecwyn Evans – 25 May)
John Ritchie: String Quartet (Penderecki String Quartet – 6 February, Nelson)
Craig Utting arr. Owen Moriarty: Onslow Suite, 2nd mvt (New Zealand Guitar Quartet – 9 February, Nelson)
* Ed Ware: Duo for saxophone & viola (Martin & Victoria Jaenecke – 8 February, Nelson)
* Ryan Youens: Tiraki (Nicholas Forbes, APO/Hamish McKeich – 23 May)
* Anthony Young: Thirteen – Theme and Variations (Rachael Griffiths-Hughes, APO/Hamish McKeich – 23 May)
Living Foreign “New Music” Composers’ Music
John Adams: Harmonielehre (NZSO/Tecwyn Evans – 25 May)
Thomas Adès: Three Studies from Couperin (APO/Garry Walker – 30 May)
Kalevi Aho: Sieidi (Colin Currie, NZSO/Osmo Vänskä – 13 July)
Sérgio Assad: Uacarena (New Zealand Guitar Quartet – 9 February, Nelson)
Chen Yi: Tibetan Tunes (NZTrio – 24 March)
Ross Edwards: Symphony No 1, Da pacem Domine (NZSO/Tecwyn Evans – 24 April, Wellington only)
Marc Eychenne: Cantilène et Danse (Rebecca Steele, Debbie Rawson & Diedre Irons – 2-9 March, closest is Hamilton)
Sofia Gubaidulina: Lied ohne Worte (TBA who… probably Martin Jaenecke on saxophone, but it’s a trumpet & piano piece? – 8 February, Nelson)
Christos Hatzis: Quartet (Penderecki String Quartet – 9 February, Nelson)
Ian Krouse: Antique Suite after Neusidler (New Zealand Guitar Quartet – 9 February, Nelson)
Ram Narayan (arr Kronos transc. Ljova): Raga Mishra Bhairavi: Alap (Kronos Quartet – 11-14 March, WN CH & DN only)
Arvo Pärt: Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten (NZSO/Osmo Vänskä – 13 July)
Einojuhani Rautavaara: Cantus Arcticus (APO/Eckehard Stier – 7 November)
Steve Reich: WTC 9/11 (Kronos Quartet – 9 March)
Wolfgang Rihm: String Quartet No 11 (Minguet Quartet – 3 February, Nelson)
Paul Schoenfield: Café Music (NZTrio – 8 February, Nelson)
Bright Sheng: Four Movements for piano trio (NZTrio – 8 May)
Valentyn Silvestrov: String Quartet No 3 (Kronos Quartet – 11-14 March, WN CH & DN only)
Tan Dun: Ghost Opera (Wu Man & Kronos Quartet – 9 March)
Tan Dun: Martial Arts Trilogy (Ryu Goto, Tan Wei, Yingdi Sun, NZSO/Tan Dun – 15 February)
Mark-Anthony Turnage: Scherzoid (APO/Eckehard Stier – 21 February)
Aleksandra Vrebalov: …hold me, neighbor, in this storm… (Kronos Quartet – 11-14 March, WN CH & DN only)
Ellen Taaffe Zwilich: Piano Trio (NZTrio – 8 May)
Wu Man/David Harrington/Chen Shi-Zheng: A Chinese Home (Wu Man & Kronos Quartet – 9 March)
Dead Foreign “New Music” Composers’ Music
Alexander Arutiunian: Trumpet Concerto (Brent Grapes, APO/Eckehard Stier – 28 February)
Béla Bartók: Music for strings, percussion and celesta (APO/Rory Macdonald – 4 July)
Béla Bartók: Rhapsody No 1 for violin & piano (Douglas Beilman & Péter Nágy – 7 February, Nelson)
Béla Bartók: String Quartet No 5 (Penderecki String Quartet – 7 February, Nelson)
Béla Bartók: String Quartet No 6 (Tokyo String Quartet – 14 June)
Leonard Bernstein: West Side Story Symphonic Dances (CSO/Tom Woods – 23 November)
Benjamin Britten: Violin Concerto (Kolja Blacher, NZSO/Lawrence Renes – 28 September)
Benjamin Britten: Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (NZSO/Joana Carneiro – 8 November)
Benjamin Britten: War Requiem (Orla Boylan, Timothy Robinson, Ivan Ludlow, Voices NZCC/Karen Grylls, APO/Eckehard Stier – 23 March)
Paul Hindemith: Cello Concerto (Johannes Moser, APO/Michał Dworzyński – 16 May)
Zoltán Kodály: Dances of Galánta (APO/Nicholas Collon – 20 June)
Erich Korngold: Piano Trio (NZTrio – 2-16 May, closest is Hamilton)
Erich Korngold: Symphony in F# (APO/Eckehard Stier – 1 August)
György Ligeti: Trio for horn, violin & piano (Robert Johnson, Helene Pohl & Péter Nágy – 3 February, Nelson)
Bohuslav Martinů: Julietta Suite (APO/Eckehard Stier – 1 August)
Bohuslav Martinů: Madrigal Stanzas (Jack Liebeck & Stephen De Pledge – 22 July)
Ástor Piazzolla: Four Seasons of Buenos Aires (CSO/Tom Woods – 25 May CH, 26 May TIM)
Francis Poulenc: Flute Sonata (Rebecca Steele & Diedre Irons – 2-9 March, closest is Hamilton)
Francis Poulenc: Les Biches Suite (APO/Eckehard Stier – 24 October)
Arnold Schoenberg: Pelleas und Melisande (APO/Eckehard Stier – 25 July)
Arnold Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht (APO/Eckehard Stier – 14 November)
Alexander Scriabin: Symphony No 4, Poem of Ecstasy (NZSO/Pietari Inkinen – 22 March, Wellington only)
Alexander Scriabin: Twelve Preludes (Péter Nágy – 2 February, Nelson)
Igor Stravinsky: The Firebird, 1919 version (CSO/Benjamin Northey – 23 March, CH)
Igor Stravinsky: The Rake’s Progress (Andrew Goodwin, Madeleine Pierard, Paul Whelan, Liane Keegan, Helen Medlyn, Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus/John Rosser, APO/Eckehard Stier – 9 August)
Igor Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring (CSO/Tom Woods – 31 August, CH) START A BLOODY RIOT
Igor Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring (APO/Eckehard Stier – 14 November) START A BLOODY RIOT Take 2
Igor Stravinsky: The Soldier’s Tale (Julia Milsom, Emma Johnston, George Parker, CSO/Hamish McKeich & Peter Falkenberg – 18 & 19 September, CH)
Jenő Takács: Two Fantastics (Debbie Rawson & Diedre Irons – 2-9 March, closest is Hamilton)
Heitor Villa-Lobos: Assobio a Jato (Bridget Douglas & Rolf Gjelsten – 2 February, Nelson)
Kurt Weill: Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny Suite (APO/Eckehard Stier – 24 October)
Kurt Weill: The Threepenny Opera Suite (APO/Eckehard Stier – 24 October)
- The Penderecki Quartet in Nelson Lakes National Park (5 February) – includes works by Erwin Schulhoff & Marjan Mozetich
- Richard Nunns at the Adam Chamber Music Festival in the morning, and in the evening with Whirimako Black (6 February)
- Wu Man at the Auckland Arts Festival (10 March) – lots of major composers have written for pipa for her
- NZSO National Youth Orchestra/Richard Gill (31 August) – includes “NZSO Todd Corporation Young Composer Awards Commission”
- APO Sanctuary Series: Percussion & Friends (7 & 9 October) – likely to include “new music”
- The Tallis Scholars (23 October) – performing works by John Tavener & Arvo Pärt.
I wrote and presented the most recent Composer of the Week programme for Radio New Zealand Concert. It’s not about a single composer; the topic is rather works written for Mstislav Rostropovich. You can listen to it here until Sunday 28 October (embedding won’t work sorry).
Yes, of course, there are the famous cello concertos: Shostakovich’s two, Prokofiev’s Symphony-Concerto, all of Britten’s cello works, but there’s a whole lot more besides.
In the programme I don’t even have a chance to mention any pieces by Olivier Messiaen, Iannis Xenakis, Pierre Boulez, Kaija Saariaho and James Macmillan, just to name a few. But I do get to play music by Aram Khachaturian, Leonard Bernstein, Krzysztof Penderecki, Miecysław Weinberg, and Boris Tchaikovsky (no relation).
Actually, I realise now I completely left out Ástor Piazzolla, not even name-checking the guy. Oh well, wasn’t just him I left out.
Well represented too is Alfred Schnittke, a name that’s often left off when talking about Rostropovich’s great composer collaborators. I get in a bit of his opera Life With an Idiot and his Cello Sonata No 2.
And then Le Vent du Nord and H’Sao today:
Besides these four, I went to see Rita & Douglas (compelling performance from Jennifer Ward-Lealand and very well-judged playing by Michael Houstoun, might have been a bit long though), the Spooky Men’s Chorale (lol), and the wind quintet Zephyr performing both for the Festival and for Chamber Music New Zealand (a well put-together programme with very interesting music).
But my most fun experience of the Festival? Catching up once again with an old mate from Wellington, Carlos Navae, and being invited to play trombone for his late-night Festival Club gig. Haven’t had a Latin jam in aaaaages. (Wellington: lots of Latin music. Dunedin: not so much.)
Radio New Zealand last week, and Television New Zealand this week. All I need to do is resurrect NZPA from the dead and I’d have the trifecta.
Megan Martin and Ross The Cameraman from TVNZ’s Dunedin bureau came along to the most recent Song Sale at The Church. She filed this report for Close Up in which we sing of blenders, root vegetables, the onset of Spring, spiteful inheritances, and Mark Sainsbury.
Next Song Sale is Thursday 25 October, btw.
Just had an interview with Eva Radich on Radio New Zealand Concert’s Upbeat programme. I talk about:
- In meinem letzten Leiden for Auckland Youth Orchestra (tomorrow in Whangarei, Sunday in Helensville, Friday 5 October in the Auckland Town Hall);
- Relish in Immature Bombast for Tim Noon, Jono Sawyer and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (Thu 23 May 2013 in the Auckland Town Hall);
- The Piano Tuner’s Performance Appraisal for Estrella, the eight-hand two-piano quartet (probably never getting performed again);
- and Song Sale Dunedin.
Eva joins the list of people who don’t like the title ‘Relish in Immature Bombast’. I suggest it’s still no less ridiculous than ‘Concerto for Organ, Drum Kit and Orchestra No 1′.
Last week I was in Wellington and I had the opportunity to play He Kōrero Pūrākau mo te Awanui o Te Motu, that bright red piano ornately carved by Michael Parekowhai. I had a friend video some of the performances at Te Papa.
Here’s the YouTube playlist. It contains attempted Maori strum in Tūtira Mai Ngā Iwi (yes, bajingajink on piano), a singalong on Poi E, a New Zealand music lesson on Pōkarekare Ana, the Split Enz classic Message to My Girl, and Beyoncé’s Single Ladies.
And as a bonus, here’s Trubie-Dylan Smith’s Das kraftwerkische Blenderlied performed at the last Song Sale:
Last of all, a quick notice: on Friday, Improsaurus performs their first ever long-form improvised musical. It’s called Improv: The Musical. We’ve been working really hard to get this up and running, I’m looking forward to it.
A month ago I was informed that my application for the 2013 University of Otago Mozart Fellowship was unsuccessful.
Given the largely consistent pattern in the last decade of Mozart Fellows having two years on the trot, I was under the illusion that a second term was assured as long as you were doing good work and got your application in on time.
Obviously I was wrong – all applications are assessed against each other fairly and without favouritism. Consequently I offer my congratulations to composer Samuel Holloway and the four other fellows just announced.
I’m grateful one of the selection panel rang me to break the news personally. Extending the courtesy of a phone call sure beats the terse two-sentence letter subsequently posted to me by the university’s HR department.
Still, it hardly lessened the effective kick in the guts. I went into a disbelieving stupor – after all, two years in a row was standard. What the hell had I done wrong? How was my application deficient? Had I made an irrevocable departmental political faux pas at some point? Had I spent too much time outside Dunedin? (..he asked during his fourth trip to Auckland that year.)
Fortunately for me, I had to put all that bullshit aside and project positivity onto two high school music events later that day. At lunchtime, the St Peter’s & St Mary’s Sinfonia rehearsed my piece General Intransigence and I contributed the composer’s opinion. In the evening, I definitely needed an upbeat demeanour to present the monstrously large Westlake Music Gala, part of my high school’s 50th Jubilee: four hours of music from 17 different ensembles over two sessions.
In the intervening month, when I haven’t been wallowing in my own pity and being unproductive, I’ve had time to think about what I could get up to next year. I’ve reached the following conclusions with myself:
- Shit happens. You had no divine right to a second year.
- You’ve still got just half of your Fellowship time left. Pull your head in and do some more bloody work – that’s what you’re getting paid for.
- Sometimes it’s nice to have your plans messed with. As Patti Stiles would say, every offer is a gift.
- As annoying as it is to move cities twice in one year, Dunedin is not the place for a theatrico-comedic composer to make a freelance living. Without full-time employment, full-time study or any family ties here, I’ve got to move away. The lease on my unit comes up on 31 December, so it’s got to be before then.
- As much fun as the busy annual summer festival season is (Wellington Fringe, Auckland Fringe, Dunedin Fringe etc), it’s financially a slow start to the year if you’re not in full-time employment. It’s not essential to my livelihood to be around for it.
- It’s high time I did some sustained overseas travel. Consequently I will go to Central and North America from January to May next year, moving from south to north as the weather improves. First to Mexico to hang out and indulge my once-upon-a-time obsession with all music Latin American, then onto major hubs such as LA, Chicago, Toronto, NYC, etc for improv theatre and sketch comedy. Take some workshops, sit in on some gigs, see what comes.
- The first commitments I have in 2013 are both in Auckland (reminder: APO Organ Spectacular, 23 May 2013, Auckland Town Hall), so it’s high time I based myself in the city of my birth for a while. Since moving away in 2008, I’ve continually kept up useful professional connections there, so I have enough opportunity to make a freelance living. Let’s do that then.
- Despite working within in a university department this year, I still have no grand desire to embark on further postgraduate study. But if I change my mind, depending on what I want to pursue, the University of Otago and Dunedin would be quite pleasant places to work indeed. I will keep them in mind.
- Nobody can hold the Mozart Fellowship for more than two years. Being rejected for 2013 means that I can apply for a second term some years in the future. If I’d retained the Fellowship for next year, I wouldn’t have that opportunity.
On that optimistic note, I leave you with this YouTube embed. Two years ago I went through a relationship break-up. At the same time, I had recently seen the episode of Making Tracks where Nick D visits Trinidad. Sitting at my desk at RNZ, unable to do any work, I played this relentlessly positive Soca hit over and over and over again. Actually, “hit” is an appropriate word – every time I played it, it was like getting a dose of cheeriness morphine.
Tags: Auckland, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, composer, Dunedin, Dunedin Fringe Festival, Mozart Fellowship, organ & orchestra, Song Sale, St Peter's & St Mary's Sinfonia, travels 2013, University of Otago, Westlake Music Gala
I’m in Auckland until this afternoon. I came up on Wednesday to see my former composition lecturer’s new piece LEN LYE the opera, and to review it for Theatreview. (Actually there are more like four of my old teachers among the core creative team…)
It’s “a major statement of advocacy for the overlooked genius and forward-thinking artistry of Len Lye”. My review’s here. The NBR and the Herald carry shorter write-ups.
Next week I sing as a “baritone” on the stage of Marama Hall in Dunedin and play with the Court Jesters in Christchurch.
The week after I get to play Michael Parekowhai’s red carved piano at Te Papa in Wellington, and I do my first gig in Invercargill.
Life’s pretty good.
Given that an increase in government funding for orchestras is unlikely ain’t gonna happen, all we can think about is redistributing a fixed amount of money.
In all the hoo-ha about the Ministry for Culture and Heritage’s review of the professional orchestral sector, one idea that has wide popularity is to reduce the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s touring obligations outside of Wellington. The costs saved would be passed to the other orchestras to improve quality overall.
Auckland is arguably quite well served for orchestral concerts: the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra delivers a comprehensive yet adventurous subscription programme year on year. On top of that, the NZSO does more in Auckland than any other city except Wellington. But do they need to?
Given that the APO is arguably meeting Auckland’s bread-and-butter orchestral needs quite nicely, perhaps some NZSO gigs are superfluous to requirements. To offer fewer concerts overall is not ideal, but let’s consider the proposition, shall we?
This year the NZSO’s 2012 season brochure (warning: 16MB PDF file) lists 13 performances in Auckland, not including the National Youth Orchestra’s tour. I’m going to go through them one by one, considering the value they add to Auckland’s orchestral calendar.
NB: This is a theoretical exercise treating each concert (mostly) in isolation. I realise there’d be many knock-on effects for scheduling, particularly when it comes to smaller North Island centres.
NB 2: I have my own musical preferences and biases. But this is my turn at playing Fantasy Orchestral Manager, so I get to be arbitrary. You are welcome to disagree in the comments.
NB 3: See my post of 24 July for my declaration of orchestral interests.
Friday 3 February – Chinese New Year Concert
Jenny Wollerman (sop), John Chen (pno), NZSO/Perry So
Ross Harris: The Floating Bride, The Crimson Village
Xian Xinghai: The Yellow River Concerto
Luddy van Beethoven: Symphony No 6, Pastoral
Ross’s song cycle The Floating Bride is bloody gorgeous, and Auckland missed out on the 2010 Made in New Zealand programme which premièred the orchestral version. (The NZSO was supposed to take MiNZ to Auckland that year but Anthony Marwood, soloist in Ross’s Violin Concerto, couldn’t fit the extra gig in his schedule.) As for the rest of the programme, the Yellow River Concerto would be no big loss not to see and Beethoven 6 is, well, Beethoven 6. John Chen’s in Auckland all the time, and the APO does do quite a lot by Ross. Also, scheduling two Asian guest artists does not a truly Chinese concert make. My most conflicted decision of the year is the first.
Fri 30 March – Carmen Suite
NZSO Soloists/Vesa-Matti Leppänen
Kenneth Young: Portrait (named as “new commission”)
Tōru Takemitsu: Rain Tree (not mentioned in programme)
“This” Arvo Pärt: Fratres (string orchestra + violin solo version, I think)
Rodion Shchedrin: Carmen Suite (credited as “Bizet/Shchedrin”)
This showed off the percussion section with a reduced orchestra playing rep that we don’t see much. Shchedrin is championed heaps by Gergiev, for instance, but NZ hasn’t heard much of him. Fratres gets done all the time, but otherwise this is a worthy addition to Auckland’s calendar.
Fri 27 April – La Mer
Measha Brueggergosman (mezzo), NZSO/Pietari Inkinen
NB: Brueggergosman cancelled, Sasha Cooke sang instead.
Benny “Hill” Britten: Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes
Ernest “Rutherford” Chausson: Poème de l’Amour et de la Mer
Jean “Why did Avid fire all the developers of” Sibelius: The Oceanides
Claude “Bussy Galore” Debussy: La Mer
Really, nothing that the APO wouldn’t do in any given year – right down to the world-class singer cancelling a couple of weeks out. The NZSO continues their quest to have Pietari stamp his mark on every note that Sibelius ever penned, and finishes with a work that is played heaps as it is.
Sat 28 April – L’Oiseau de Feu
Measha Brueggergosman Sasha Cooke (mezzo), NZSO/Pietari Inkinen
Douglas Lilburn: Symphony No 3
Gustavo Dudamel Mahler: Songs of a Wayfarer
“Prince” Igor Stravinsky: Firebird
While Lilburn 3 is often forgotten about (for such a short work it really should be done more), it doesn’t quiiite compensate for the rest of the rep, although Pietari conducting Stravinsky’s Firebird is a reasonably major artistic statement. I reluctantly deliver my…
Sat 12 May – For the Fallen
Lynn Harrell (cello), NZSO/Andrew Grams
Felix “The Cat” Mendelssohn: Hebrides Overture
Eddie Elgar: Cello Concerto
Bob Schumann: Symphony No 4
Jeez, the Elgar concerto has been like orchestral audience crack since Du Pré nailed it at the Proms bloody fifty years ago or however long. What’s really notable about this programme? Why should the NZSO bring it to Auckland? Well, Lynn Harrell is a big reason, but not big enough. Surely they could have had him do a slightly less overplayed concerto.
Sat 19 May – Alpine Symphony
“Wolfgang West” Mozart: Symphony No 38, Prague
Richard “Not to be confused with Johann” Strauss: Alpine Symphony
Yesss, yes please. The first of the NZSO’s two “name conductor” gigs this year, this is the sort of big event that deserves to tour. Big artistic statement from the orchestra.
Fri 8 June – Spellbound
Olivier Latry (org), NZSO/Rossen Milanov
Paul “Duke of Earl” Dukas: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Francis “Funky Chicken” Poulenc: Organ Concerto
Nikolai “Skyrim” Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherezade
None of these works by themselves are really justifiably essential to Auckland. Thomas Trotter did the Poulenc in 2010 on the new organ, but considering there are only about one-and-three-quarters organ concertos in the repertoire, what can ya do? Buuut… it’s Olivier Latry on the new Klais beast, which still has novelty value. And I like the rest of the programme enough for it to stay. Also, it further justifies keeping the following night’s gig.
Sat 9 June – Made in New Zealand – Wonderland
Helen Medlyn (sop), NZ String Quartet, NZSO/Hamish McKeich
Chris Cree Brown: Celestial Bodies (NB: programme simply says “Brown”… really?!)
Lyell Cresswell: Concerto for String Quartet
Gillian Whitehead: Alice
It took so long for Made in New Zealand to become more than a Wellington-only affair that for Auckland to lose it would be a tragedy. Shit, it should be going to Christchurch too, but of course a composer would say that. Nice touch that Alice is getting another outing in Auckland, considering it was premièred when Gillian was the APO Composer-in-Residence.
Sat 28 July – Die Walküre
Simon O’Neill (ten), Simon’s mates (singers), the Valkiwis (singers), NZSO/Pietari Inkinen
Tricky Dick Wagner: Die Walküre
Considering the rehearsal time that went into this, it’d be a crime to do only one performance in Wellington. Major artistic statement from the NZSO and Pietari. Must not be excluded from the Auckland calendar.
Sat 18 August – Cathedral of Sound
Wolfpack Mozart: Symphony No 36, Lint
Antonio Banderas Bruckner: Symphony No 5
World-beating antipodean conductor with the repertoire she’s making her own orchestra famous for. Why wouldntcha? Shows what the NZSO’s really capable of.
Fri 28 September – Around the World in 80 Minutes
Stephen Hough (pno), NZSO/Andrew Litton
Anthony Ritchie: Diary of a Madman: Dedication to Shostakovich
Chamillionaire Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No 5, Egyptian
Dmitri “Emo Glasses” Shostakovich: Symphony No 5
Not a promising concert title, really – it makes you think that the New World Symphony is just round the corner (ooh cause it’s from North America!!). While the Ritchie would be good to play as widely in NZ as possible, it’s the sort of piece that’ll come around and that the APO would probably end up doing anyway, pairing with Shostakovich. Given Anthony’s prolific CD release schedule lately, it won’t be long until you can buy a copy.
Fri 19 October – Forbidden Love
Nicola Benedetti (vln), NZSO/Pietari Inkinen (edit: Miguel Harth-Bedoya, I got this wrong)
Ken Young: Dance
Peter and the Wolf Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto
Lenny Bernstein: West Side Story Symphonic Dances
Peter Piper Picked a Pack of Pickled Tchaikovskies: Francesca da Rimini
Hrm… yeah… nothing that wouldn’t come around every few years, even counting this 1997 work from Ken (at a stretch). Leonard Bernstein doesn’t strike me as particularly Pietariesque repertoire either. (Edit: This changes the complexion for me… seeing the APO do the WSS Symphonic Dances in the Harth-Bedoya era was a seminal moment in my high school music education. Buut… overall verdict still doesn’t change.) No big loss to lose the Tchaik concerto this season.
Sat 17 November – Mahler 7
Pietari Inkinen (cond. & vln), Vesa-Matti Leppänen (vln), NZSO
Johann “Belle and Sebastian” Bach: Double Violin Concerto in D minor
Gustav Eiffel: Symphony No 7
The NZSO’s been on a Mahler kick these last few years and they’re trying to get through the whole repertoire with Pietari. Worthwhile enough to keep this in Auckland, and the Bach double is a nice touch which doesn’t come round quite as often as you’d think.
So a quick recap:
Keep 7: Carmen Suite, Alpine Symphony, Olivier Latry, Made in New Zealand, Die Walküre, Bruckner 5, Mahler 7.
Cut 6: Chinese New Year, La Mer, Firebird, For the Fallen, Around the World in 80 Minutes, Forbidden Love.
In reality you’re keeping six trips and cutting five: Olivier Latry & MiNZ are on the same trip, as are La Mer and Firebird. Notably, in previous years, the NZSO has done two programmes on consecutive nights much more frequently.
So cutting five trips and six gigs would save… how much? Well, I wish I could hazard a decent guess, but when it comes to the touring the NZSO, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage’s discussion document goes into very little financial detail indeed.
That’s probably because the NZSO’s 2011 annual report sheds little light on the specific costs. The most relevant figures I can find are for “Direct Expenses from Orchestral activity”. Page 24 says those expenses were $6.31 million to the year ending 30/06/2011, and $3.74 million to the six months ending 31/12/2011. Their target for the year ending 30 June 2012 was $5.60 million (p.33).
It’d be interesting indeed to see a breakdown of that pretty hefty line item. It excludes personnel costs ($10.22 million annually), as well as general operating costs and property rental. I imagine it includes venue hire, as well as the many activities of the education programme. But within that very broad category, there will be a lot of flights, a lot of hotel rooms, buses, truck hires and ferry crossings.
I appreciate that four of my six “cut” programmes are being performed in smaller centres too. I don’t want to deprive Hamilton, Napier and Palmerston North of any of their concerts, and I’m sure that adding Auckland onto an existing tour is more economical than making a single run up from Wellington.
But the question remains: just how much does the average NZSO trip to Auckland cost? While the orchestra remains a Crown Entity and subject to the Official Information Act, an enterprising journalist would do well to find out.
Just a reminder: I am continuing to update my original post on the Ministry for Culture and Heritage’s orchestral sector review.
If you click through to the piece from 24 July, you will now find over two dozen links to discussion papers, media articles, radio interviews and position statements. If there’s anything I’ve missed, please leave a comment and I’ll add a link.
A reminder that submissions close on Sunday 26 August. You can do that through the MCH website.