Nineteen New Zealand Symphony Orchestra players are heading south to tour the world. NZSO In Miniature is a lively and informative geographical tour showcasing diverse musical snippets from all around the world.
Each one-hour concert will demonstrate how different cultures and countries can be identified by their music. Players will introduce each international destination and provide an overview of the culture and its musical characteristics demonstrated with live orchestral examples.
Begin down south with New Zealand composer John Ritchie’s Fanfare from Partita for Brass Quintet, head to America via Paris for Gershwin’s An American in Paris specially arranged for this unique ensemble, stop off in Ireland for some folk songs, meander around Italy with Rossini’s La Danza, step up the pace in German composer Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 5, head off Toward the Sea with Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu, splash into Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin for a few minutes and head home for a rest in Jack Body’s Lullaby from Rainforest. And that’s not all!
The concert begins with the world premiere of Dunedin-based composer Anthony Ritchie’s NZSO-commissioned work Purakaunui, following his father John Ritchie’s opening Fanfare. Inspired by the tiny seaside settlement of Purakaunui, near Dunedin, where Anthony Ritchie owns a holiday house, Purakaunui was “designed” with community and school audiences in mind.
“Purakaunui is a beautiful seaside settlement and the piece features bird calls, the sounds of the wind, and images such as kids jumping into the inlet on a hot summer’s day,” says Ritchie.
“It has images of Nature in the music, but also reflects a little on some of the sad Maori history, before switching to the present, and images of people enjoying summer – running, jumping, swimming, boating, and so forth. So it starts slowly and heats up as it goes,” he says.
Purakaunui was composed with particular NZSO players in mind, offering an intimate glimpse into the mind of the composer and unravelling the way in which individual instruments are used to create subtle effects within the music. Carolyn Mills’ (NZSO Section Principal Harp) playing depicts the tide, for instance.
“The quiet throb of harp and marimba describes the tide slowly creeping into the inlet, and a soulful violin plays,” says Ritchie. “The oboe plays a bird call and it is answered on the flute and other wind instruments… The beginning of the piece evokes the inlet early in the morning, with the quiet chatter of birds and shimmering of the sun on the sea,” he says.
Designed to delight all ages, NZSO In Miniature is a leisurely listening experience heard through the world’s ears. Join us in this whimsical world tour for all!