Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Italian Holiday - NZSO play Berlioz’ 'Travels in Italy'

Italian Holiday - NZSO play Berlioz’ Travels in Italy

By Max Rashbrooke

The NZSO welcomed back music director emeritus James Judd for a concert of Italian-themed music, and a real treat it was. Under his guidance the orchestra produced a strong, rich sound, especially in the opening movement of Berlioz’s Harold in Italy, the menacing lines of the double basses being a notable feature.

Soloist Antoine Tamestit was also a wonderful performer. Normally I’d have found some of his mannerisms – especially his wandering around the orchestra in between playing – a little irritating, but they felt perfectly judged for a piece all about the joy and variety of travel. Tamestit displayed exceptional variety, summoning up both rich, burnished sounds but also a real edginess.

The second movement of the Berlioz was also good, though with the odd lapse in timing from the horns, and could perhaps have been a fraction slower to bring out the solemnity of the pilgrims’ march. The third movement was lively, noble and charming, with a hushed sense of awe, a fitting prelude to the driving energy and clamour of the last movement. As if Tamestit hadn’t delighted us enough, he then played a complex, technically demanding Paul Hindemith piece as an encore.

After the interval, Elgar’s In the South (Alassio) was a triumph, Judd reminding us of the musical sympathy he obviously feels for his countryman. The interplay between the woodwinds and the strings was a particular delight, and the playing overall was highly evocative; in the quieter times one could imagine the themes dying away amidst Italian ruins, or subsiding into sunshine.

There was no let-up in the quality, as the concert finished with Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini, based on the tale, from Dante’s Inferno, of the adulterous Francesca and Paolo. The impact of the whirling strings and crashing brass, interspersed with moments of almost unbearable sadness from the woodwinds, was something not to be forgotten.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis Review: Reclaiming The N-Word - Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman

Black resistance to institutional racism in the US has a long, tangled, and traumatic intellectual history. Although we may have assumed much too easily that white supremacists like David Duke had become marginalised as a political force, in reality they never really disappeared ... More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Minstrel in The Gallery - Sam Hunt's Selected Poems

Perhaps the most striking aspect of Sam Hunt's poetry is its quality of urgent authenticity. Encountering this latest compilation, the reader is immediately struck by its easy accessibility, tonal sincerity, and lack of linguistic pretension ... More>>

A Matter Of Fact: Truth In A Post-Truth World

How do we convincingly explain the difference between good information and misinformation? And conversely, how do we challenge our own pre-conceived notions of what we believe to be true? More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: The Road To Unfreedom

Valerie Morse: Yale professor of history Tim Snyder publishes a stunning account of the mechanisms of contemporary Russian power in US and European politics. In telling this story he presents both startling alarms for our own society and some mechanisms of resistance. More>>


Doing Our Bit: An Insider's Account Of New Zealand Political Campaigning

In 2013, Murdoch Stephens began a campaign to double New Zealand’s refugee quota. Over the next five years he built the campaign into a mainstream national movement – one that contributed to the first growth in New Zealand’s refugee quota in thirty years. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland