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Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra Takes Flight

APO Takes Flight

Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra takes flight next Thursday for an evening of music inspired by birdsong.

The centrepiece of the 27 March concert is Beethoven’s Symphony No.6, one of the composer’s most evocative works. Beethoven famously loved nature, and subtitled the work ‘Pastoral Symphony or Recollection of the Life in the Countryside’.

Each of the symphony’s movements has a programme note, and musical themes recall such things as the rustling of leaves, the trickling of a river and, appropriately for this concert, the calls of nightingales, quails and cuckoos.

Before the symphony, acclaimed pianist Joanna MacGregor joins the orchestra to play a work with a difference: Oiseaux Exotiques, by the French composer Olivier Messiaen. Messiaen was fascinated by birds, but unlike other composers – including Beethoven – whose work was influenced by nature, Oiseaux Exotiques attempts to replicate birdsong as closely as is possible using orchestral instruments, and incorporates the calls of 46 different bird species.

MacGregor, who is head of piano at the Royal Academy of Music and has performed with the world’s finest conductors and orchestras, prefaces Oiseaux Exotiques with a short recital of five bird-themed solo piano pieces.

The concert opens with Ottorino Respighi’s sparkling Gli Uccelli.

Conductor for the evening is John Nelson, who last performed with the APO in 2012, when he led the orchestra in a critically lauded performance of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique.

WHO: Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra with John Nelson (conductor) and Joanna MacGregor (piano)
WHAT: The New Zealand Herald Premier Series concert ‘Exotic Birds’, featuring music by Beethoven, Messiaen and Respighi.
WHERE: Auckland Town Hall
WHEN: 8pm, Thursday 27 March
BOOKINGS:, 0800 111 999


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