Once in a life­time Michael Hous­toun con­cert

The Tribune (NZ) - - ENJOY -

One of the most epic, ‘‘once in a life­time’’ events is tak­ing place at The Globe next month. Pre­em­i­nent New Zealand pi­anist Michael Hous­toun is per­form­ing all of JS Bach’s 48 Pre­ludes and Fugues in two con­certs, on March 11 and 12, each start­ing at 2.30pm.

Hous­toun de­scribes The 48 as ‘‘master­pieces that sel­dom get an air­ing out­side teach­ing stu­dios. Yet they cover an enor­mous range of moods from the do­mes­tic to the grandiose and are revered by many if not all of the great com­posers’’.

‘‘Per­for­mances of the com­plete set are very rare,’’ Michael says, and or­gan­is­ers of the con­cert, Roy Tanker­s­ley and Liz Locke be­lieve that, to the best of their knowl­edge, this is the first time in New Zealand that all 48 have been per­formed to­gether.

Hous­toun will play the pre­ludes and fugues on a mod­ern Stein­way grand pi­ano at The Globe, even though ‘‘Bach could only dream of play­ing such an in­stru­ment. And for those who might think that Bach’s mu­sic is rather stern and cere­bral, the pre­ludes and fugues will come as a happy sur­prise. Cer­tainly he digs deep and has a spe­cial way with sad­ness, but the dom­i­nant emo­tion is ra­di­ant joy,’’ he says.

Tanker­s­ley says Hous­toun’s per­for­mance of all 48 will be ‘‘an in­cred­i­ble ex­am­ple of key­board brilliance. To per­form the sets on two con­sec­u­tive days re­quires fo­cus, dis­ci­pline and amaz­ing en­durance. Such a one-off event is at­tract­ing an au­di­ence from through­out the lower half of the North Is­land. It is a once in a life­time op­por­tu­nity - there would be barely a hand­ful of pi­anists in the world at any one time who could bring it off. The 48 are very ac­ces­si­ble and I can only think will be hugely ap­pre­ci­ated and en­joyed by ev­ery­one.’’

Hous­toun has sug­gested var­i­ous ways the pre­ludes and fugues can be con­sid­ered.

‘‘They can be ap­pre­ci­ated as train­ing pieces to help young key­board play­ers de­velop their un­der­stand­ing of tech­nique; as recre­ational ex­er­cises aid­ing those same play­ers in their en­joy­ment of mu­sic; as mas­terly, con­sum­mate demon­stra­tions of fu­gal tech­nique; or as ‘char­ac­ter’ pieces and re­li­gious pieces, ex­ten­sions of the same deep faith that pro­duced Bach’s can­tatas and Pas­sions. Which­ever way you look at it it is sub­lime, glo­ri­ous mu­sic.’’

Hous­toun plays The 48 at The Globe The­atre on March 11 and 12 at 2.30pm. Adults $30, stu­dents $20. Book­ings at The Globe 06 355 3908 or glo­bethe­atre.co.nz

Pi­anist Michael Hous­toun will per­form at The Globe in March.

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