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


Orchestra Wellington Saves Best for Last

Orchestra Wellington Saves Best for Last

Orchestra Wellington’s 2017 season goes out with a bang, in a concert combining two of the greatest pieces of music ever written.

First, Beethoven’s mighty Eroica Symphony features on Saturday 2nd December at the Michael Fowler Centre. At the other end of the concert, the orchestra is performing the one work which can top Beethoven’s in terms of its impact, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.

“I’m extraordinarily excited to present the defining works of the 19th and 20th century for our grand finale concert,” says Music Director Marc Taddei.

“Music would never be the same after the Eroica and The Rite of Spring. The sense of drive, power and rhythmic impulse connect these two monuments of Western civilisation.”

Beethoven’s Eroica caused a sensation when it was first performed in 1803, a hundred years later, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring started a riot.

Beethoven demanded the orchestra play a series of discords so shocking to audiences, many of them thought he had gone mad. No longer was music just for aristocrats, or the church, with the Eroica symphony, Beethoven created something to take on the world.

The crowning work of his triad of ballet masterpieces, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, about a girl chosen to dance herself to death in a pagan sacrifice, sounds as fresh now, as it did a century ago.

Paris audiences knew to expect the unexpected from Diagilev’s Ballets Russes, but the Rite was beyond anything they had imagined.

With exotically primitive melodies, irregular rhythms and brutal harmonies, the orchestra is pushed to its technical limits. And despite the modern rhythms and harmonies, audiences find Stravinky’s music irresistible.

The tentative, questioning woodwind fragments that open the work, the brutal asymmetric stomping rhythms of the first dance, the deep, grinding harmonies that seemed to come from the earth itself, and the virtuosic sacrificial dance at the end: all combine to make a music more carnal, primitive and instinctive than any ballet before.

Now the Rite of Spring is one of the most popular ballets ever, and always a sensation whenever it is performed.

This is Orchestra Wellington’s biggest concert of the year, and it also marks the full launch of its 2018 season. Music Director Marc Taddei has hinted at the programmes for next year, but at this concert, all will be revealed.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

Gordon Campbell: Best New Music Of 2017

Any ‘best of list’ has to be an exercise in wishful thinking, given the splintering of everyone’s listening habits... But maybe… it could be time for the re-discovery of the lost art of listening to an entire album, all the way through. Just putting that idea out there. More>>

Scoop Review of Books: Ten x Ten - One Hundred of Te Papa's Best-Loved Art Works

An idiosyncratic selection by ten art curators, each of whom have chosen ten of their favourite works. Handsomely illustrated, their choices are accompanied by full-page colour prints and brief descriptions of the work, explaining in straightforward and approachable language why it is of historical, cultural, or personal significance. More>>

Scoop Review of Books: Portacom City - Reporting On Canterbury Earthquakes

In Portacom City Paul Gorman describes his own deeply personal story of working as a journalist during the quakes, while also speaking more broadly about the challenges that confront reporters at times of crisis. More>>

Scoop Review of Books: Christopher Pugsley’s The Camera in the Crowd - Filming in New Zealand Peace and War 1895-1920

Pugsley brings to life 25 exhilarating years of film making and picture screening in a sumptuously illustrated hardback published by Oratia that tells the story through surviving footage unearthed from the national film archives. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland