Experience the “sass and sizzle” of Camille Saint-Saëns when remarkable pianist Stephen Hough performs with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
On this journey Around the World in 80 Minutes we’re taking you to Paris, by way of Egypt, for the great French composer’s Piano Concerto No. 5 Egyptian featuring the pianistic skill of Hough.
“Rather than being called the Egyptian, this concerto should really be called the Exotic,” says Stephen Hough. “Yes we linger in North Africa, but there’s a moment with the crickets in China with gongs and pentatonic scales, there’s a cimbalom moment which could be from Central Europe, and the last movement begins its romp with a ragtime motive, all off-beat accents, sass and sizzle. But Saint-Saëns manages to hold together this ragbag of influences in a piece which is supremely well-crafted, full of melody and flying-fingered virtuosity. It has Classical poise as well as Romantic flare.”
England-born Stephen Hough, who has combined his career as a concert pianist with that of a composer and a writer and was even named ‘one of 20 Living Polymaths’ by The Economist, teams up with New York-born conductor Andrew Litton in New Zealand. It’s not the first time that these exceptional artists have worked together. Hough and Litton’s recording of Rachmaninov Piano Concertos won the 2005 Classical Brits/BBC Critics Award and on separate occasions they have each performed with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. In 2004, Hough performed Saints-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 4 and Litton visited New Zealand in August 1993 to conduct the NZSO in two programmes featuring Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 (with Michael Houstoun), Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2, Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole (with violinist Eugene Sarbu) and Brahms’ Symphony No. 2.
Almost 20 years on, Norway’s Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra Music Director, Andrew Litton, returns to New Zealand to guide you through an 80-minute exotic aural tour from the comfort of your own back-yard.
Experience heartfelt themes from Shostakovich’s early works in New Zealand composer Anthony Ritchie’s Diary of a Madman: Dedication to Shostakovich, which Ritchie describes as “a sort of jumbled diary that lurches from farce to despair in rapid succession”, then join us in Russia for Shostakovich’s powerful Fifth Symphony.
This spring season, experience an exotic musical tiki tour Around the World in 80 Minutes with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
Dunedin-based composer Anthony Ritchie will give a free 30-minute talk 45 minutes prior to each concert. For more details about each NZSO pre-concert talk, visit www.nzso.co.nz/talks