Mātauranga, by Wellington-based Michael Norris, was commissioned as part of the NZSO Cook’s Landfall Series to mark 250 years since the first encounters between Māori and Europeans at Captain Cook’s first landfall. Featuring taonga pūoro –Māori musical instruments, it conveys Cook’s journey to study the stars, flora, fauna and chart continents and islands.
Renowned Scottish pianist Steven Osborne returns to New Zealand to perform two great concertos. Piano Concerto No. 12 is a standout early work of Mozart’s. Beethoven’s revolutionary Piano Concerto No. 4 starts with just the piano – a first. A beautiful slow second movement contrasts loud spiky strings with a soft, smooth piano melody that segues into a scintillating finale.
Last Round, by Argentinian Osvaldo Golijov, was written following the death of Astor Piazzolla, the great tango composer. Golijov wrote “The piece is conceived as an idealised bandoneon. The first movement represents the act of a violent compression of the instrument and the second a final, seemingly endless opening sigh.”
Written during the First World War, Carl Nielsen’s Fourth Symphony, The Inextinguishable, features a “battle” between two sets of timpani. Nielsen explained that the name refers to ”the elemental will to live” as “that is inextinguishable.”
Mendelssohn’s famous Hebrides Overture was inspired by his visit to Fingal’s Cave, on the Scottish island of Staffa.
Mozart’s Prague Symphony premiered in Prague during the composer’s first visit there. The Bohemian wind players were famous throughout Europe, which might explain the symphony’s lavish use of wind instruments. This work has just three movements not four, which was more common at the time.