The Best of the Week
MONDAY APRIL 23
Music Alive (RNZ Concert, 7.30pm). Western string instruments meet the music of indigenous New Zealand in the first of the week’s two recordings from the 2018 New Zealand Festival. Te Ao Hou – This New World features the New Zealand String Quartet and taonga pūoro exponent Rob Thorne. The evening included the 2017 SOUNZ Contemporary Award-winning work by Salina Fisher, Tōrino. On Tuesday, there’s a recording of the world-renowned King’s Singers, who performed with the Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir. It was a celebration of the group’s 50-year history and traversed music from the Renaissance to the modern, including a new work by New Zealander Leonie Holmes, This Watershed Time.
Somme Parade (RNZ Concert, 1.00pm). British academic and author Kate Kennedy discusses composers and poets sent to the Somme in this fascinating documentary. She includes New Zealand composer
Willie Manson’s setting of AE Housman’s A Shropshire Lad and also discusses famous friends William Denis Browne, Rupert Brooke and Frederick Septimus Kelly, who were all lost during World War I. Kelly’s elegy for his friend Brooke can be heard during Music Alive at 7.30pm and there is another setting of A Shropshire Lad, by George Butterworth, who was also lost in France. Madeleine Pierard appears in the NZSO concert, which ends with Ross Harris’s Symphony No 2, the setting of poems on the subject of New Zealand soldiers shot for desertion in WWI.
King and Country, by Dave Armstrong (RNZ National, 8.30pm). Armstrong may have told us last year he was over depictions of loyal lads heading to the front, including his own 2004 play, but his combination of letters, poems, newspaper articles and music of the WWI era is too good to entirely consign to a less complicated past. Anzac Day on RNZ National also includes A War Requiem at 6.06pm, which examines the psychological trauma of war, and the Anzac Day Dawn Service from Pukeahu Park in Wellington at 6.00am.
Salina Fisher, Music Alive, Monday.