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NZSO Powers Up For Another At-home Online Performance

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s talented woodwind musicians and harpist are in the spotlight for the Orchestra’s third at-home livestream performance this week.

Play Our Part is a weekly free online series of performances by NZSO musicians in their homes during the COVID-19 lockdown. It includes support from the Orchestra’s performing partner RNZ Concert. The next performance premieres 7.30pm Wednesday 8 April at and can be viewed via smart TV, mobile phone, tablet or computer.

This week’s Play Our Part, curated by NZSO Section Principal Flutes Bridget Douglas, features Douglas and Associate Principal Flutes Kirstin Eade performing the extraordinary second movement from Wilhelm Friedemann Bach’s Duet No. 4 for 2 Flutes. Douglas and Eade played and recorded the duet in their separate homes.

“We hope this provides your ‘bubble’ with some musical relief and joy in these challenging times,” says Douglas.

“One of the hardest things about this lockdown for us as NZSO players is not being able to perform in person and play music together. I’ve been getting my head around the new technology that’s allowing us to play together remotely. This has been a steep learning curve for many of us who are not so digitally savvy.”

Eade says the two musicians normally sit next to each other on stage for every NZSO performance.

“Sitting next to each other to play we’ve probably developed instinctive skills about how to shape and phrase the music together. With the live experience taken away, we’ve had to trust our instincts and inner pulse even more. It has been a satisfying and heartening process to record this duo, even if there have been moments of intense frustration learning how to use the technology.”

Douglas says the challenge of an ad-hoc home recording studio has been made easier by support from Wellington-based audio visual company Latitude Creative. The players have also appreciated the support of those under the same roof while in lockdown.

“I’d like to acknowledge the forbearance of our families – kids and partners who have been yelled at to ‘be quiet’ countless times during the recording of these pieces and who have had to put up with our frustrations as we have learnt by trial and error with this new technology.”

Douglas says WF Bach was the great Johann Sebastian Bach’s eldest son and is considered by many to be the most original and interesting of his composer offspring. “Duet No. 4 for 2 Flutes shows off his exceptional range of expression.”

Play Our Part will also feature Section Principal Bassoonist Robert Week’s playing two movements from JS Bach’s Cello Suite No. 3 and Section Principal Oboist Robert Orr playing Telemann’s Fantasia No. 1.

NZSO Section Principal Harpist Carolyn Mills will perform New Zealand composer Helen Fisher’s Ōtari. Associate Principal Clarinettist Ellen Deverall will also play a work to be announced.

Thousands of people viewed the first two Play Our Part performances and the Orchestra is releasing other content online during the COVID-19 restrictions. Last week it also premiered contemporary New Zealand work An Instrumental Voyage ­– - Pae Tawhiti, Pae Tata, performed last year by the NZSO with taonga pūoro specialist Horomona Horo, singer Maisey Rika, and the composer Jeremy Mayall on electronics.

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