Paul Hindemith’s Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber grew out of a request from choreographer and dancer Léonide Massine in 1940 for music for a ballet. While the project was shelved, the completed piece has since been adapted for ballet productions and is equally powerful as a standalone work.
Prokofiev’s rich and multi-layered Violin Concerto No. 2 was his last work written in Europe before his return to the Soviet Union. It makes full use of the instrument, with intoxicating contrasts in tone, colour, melody, and rhythm and is the perfect fit for the virtuosic skills of NZSO Concertmaster Vesa-Matti Leppänen.
Inspired by his homeland, Tchaikovsky’s bold Fifth Symphony came 10 years after his Fourth and divided audiences at its premiere. It is bursting with unforgettable melodies and lush orchestration, making it one of the great works of the Romantic tradition. Under the baton of Maestro de Waart, the NZSO will perform it in all its glory.
When Steely Dan’s Walter Becker died just over a year ago there was not an outpouring of grief like those public displays afforded to other recent celebrity deaths. However, in certain sections of the community his passing was as significant as the loss of Bowie, Prince and Lemmy. This community is largely filled with people who are of a certain age, malcontents and music snobs. I am proud to be part of this community.
As one half of Steely Dan, Walter Becker, along with Donald Fagen sold a whopping 40 million plus records, had hit singles that are still mainstays of “Classic Rock Radio” all while refusing to tour and maintaining a relationship with the press that could be best described as prickly. Their songs were sophisticated, drawing on jazz structures, top session players and offbeat, often subversive subject matter.
The studio was where Steely Dan were most comfortable creating classics, such as their 1977 album Aja, with a rotating cast of session musicians. In their relentless quest for studio perfection they tormented the most skillful musicians they could find with the highest of standards and multiple takes. All this quality control lead to Steely Dan being inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
In Major Dudes Barry Hoskyns compiles interviews and articles from across their singular career starting from their early days as a brilliant but relatively conventional band – they did tour in the early days – to their retreat into the studio. Steely Dan went on hiatus after releasing Gaucho in 1980 and the solo albums recorded by Fagen and Becker during this period are also covered in this book. The book ends with coverage of their celebrated reunion tours (they visited Christchurch twice – in 2007 and 2011) and albums including the Grammy winning Two Against Nature.
The wit, wisdom and attitude of Fagen and Becker are captured in articles written by respected music journalists including Sylvie Simmons, Robert Palmer and Charles Shaar Murray. The pieces are taken from a range of respected music publications including MOJO, Uncut, Rolling Stone and NME.
This is a lovingly put together collection using pieces ranging from in-depth interviews and reviews to short puff pieces. Occasionally, a harsh or uncomprehending review is included, just to balance out the praise. Major Dudes is a treasure trove for those who love the band and a great place for the curious to start their journey with the great Steely Dan.
Looking for more about Steely Dan? Check out Rocks Back Pages for a treasure trove about Steely Dan and a host of other bands.
Everyone loves and appreciates different forms of music; whether it’s through singing, playing your favourite instruments and singing along, or by simply listening and feeling the heart of the music. The amazing thing about music is that you can hear it in any language and yet still feel the passion and story behind it.
Waiata, like other forms of music is a way to communicate. It serves a purpose, such as storytelling, to support, to teach, to warn, to urge others, or to mourn. It is beautiful and passionate, and its purpose only make these feelings stronger.
There are three main types of traditional waiata. These are waiata tangi (laments), waiata aroha (love songs) and oriori (lullabies). However, these are only some of the many forms of waiata; and it now spans across various music genres and themes from Alien Weaponry’s album ‘Tū ‘ ( a heavy metal band that sings completely in Te Reo,) to Maisey Rika‘s song ‘Tangaroa Whakamautai,’ from her album Whitiora, which is haunting and beautiful.
What is your favourite waiata? What does waiata mean to you?
Waiata is another way to help learn new words or a language. It helps build your memory by repeating lyrics and having a meaningful or catchy tune; and is a great tool for teaching tamariki.
Te Tāhuhu o Te Mātauranga (Ministry of Education) has some awesome resources built on supporting te reo Māori by giving resources designed for learning and teaching in waiata. Hei waiata contains song sheets with the key, lyrics and tune, teaching suggestions and finally a free MP3 download of the waiata; and there is plenty to choose from!
Another way of getting to learn easy waiata is to listen to it; could be at home, in the shower, or in the car ride on the way to school. Anika Moa has two lovely albums with songs for children that are catchy, easy to sing to and are just plain fun!
Did you know we also have loads of resources of waiata right here in Christchurch City Libraries? There is various forms of enjoying waiata; could be as a CD, a lyric book, or a compilation of various formats e.g book and CD.
The trio played two mesmerising sets of early Bowie songs, which bookended a remarkable talk by Ian who explained to us exactly why David Bowie had such a profound impact on so many people’s lives, not least his own. This is perhaps best illustrated by comparing the two alternative covers of the 1970 album The Man Who Sold The World. The British version features a picture of David in a full length dress and boots reclining on a chaise longue. This being a bit too gender-bending for the Americans at the time, the US release features a cartoon version of a scene set in front of a rather imposing gothic building, which is the mental hospital where David’s brother Terry was incarcerated. The British cover symbolises David’s ever-changing persona and his compulsion to explore all aspects of his creative self, continually reinventing himself anew by inhabiting different identities; as evidenced by a comment on the back cover of the album Hunky Dory, David considered his performance to be an act rather than a reflection of his true self, whatever that may be. The American cover represents Bowie’s embracing of the outsider, rooted in his relationship with his troubled brother. As Ian told us, someone once described Bowie as “a flame towards whom dysfunctional moths flew”, which David was more than happy to make a virtue of.
The second part of Ian’s talk was much more personal and we heard what David Bowie’s music meant to Ian after things went terribly wrong for him as a child when his life was turned upside-down by a perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances, a message that Ian now takes to schools to empower young kids and address the issue of bullying. In the end, what we were treated to was a tour de force on the transcendent power of music and performance to lift us out of our everyday existence and, if only for a brief moment, to take us to another place entirely (brilliantly captured in a picture taken by Mick Rock that was eventually rejected as the cover image for the Bowie-penned single All The Young Dudes by Mott The Hoople). We may have been sitting in a dark room in a college building on a late winter’s day in Christchurch, but for me at least, for an hour or so this afternoon I was transported to the heady days of glam rock in 1970s, and nothing else seemed to matter. This was a wonderful tribute to a much loved, and much missed genius, by someone who delighted in sharing his obsession with us.
Before I go, I’d must give a shout out to whoever was operating the lighting. Nice work! It really added to the atmosphere.
A favourite book of mine that touches on the darker side of some of the themes raised in Ian’s performance is All The Madmen (which interestingly, also features two of the musicians we heard playing before and after Ian’s show – Ray Davies of The Kinks, and Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd).
As well as Ian’s books, you can find dozens of others about every aspect of Bowie’s life and work on the shelves of your local branch of Christchurch City Libraries, as well as CDs of his music, including my own personal favourite Bowie album, Hunky Dory.
What’s your favourite?
More music at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018
A Date with Dylan at The Institution at tonight’s New Regent Street Pop-up Festival,Thursday 30 August 6pm
Philip Matthews, Adam McGrath, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, and David Slack talkin’ bout Bob Dylan.
In conjunction with UC Arts, Empress Theatre Collective presents Free Radicals – an evolving song cycle that celebrates the achievements of women in science and technology. This sold out show on Wednesday night was beautifully presented – a one hour long series of various musical compositions featuring female scientists combined by narration. Great care was taken in the creating the setting with tasteful lighting and imagery to welcome you into the small, intimate space. The atmosphere in the full house was expectant.
Erin Harrington entered to a beautifully lit room and began with a moving and succinct original poem. Her narrative thread drew all of the disparate pieces together in a great and flowing way. The show began with Ariana Tikao singing a song called ‘Bind the Black’ featuring taonga pūoro: pūrerehua, kōauau and pūtōrino. It made for a wonderful opening that felt very welcoming and warm. After some narration by Erin, The Swan Sisters’ voices combined beautifullly in their tribute to Maria Sybilla Merian, The Great Outdoors.
They were followed by Sheree Waitoa on vocal and guitar performing her song Connections, a great song that included te reo Māori and English lyrics and honoured the famous actor and scientist, Hedy Lamarr.
The next work by Glenda Keam was a tribute to the female NASA scientists that were portrayed in the Hollywood movie Hidden Figures. A stark and interesting work featured four solos, and a trio for three vocalists and prepared piano.
Technology was featured in the next piece by Misfit Mod with a flowing and wonderful visual element that help to bind the atmospheric work with the audience.
Beatrice Tinsley, the astronomer who originally studied at Canterbury University, was the subject of the next song by Naomi Ferguson. The electronic soundscape was enhanced by Ferguson’s flowing and powerful melodies.
To end the show the narrator joined with a small choir to sing In Feminea Forma, a piece for voices and electronics by Rosa Elliott. The electronics in this piece and throughout were seamless and added to the well-curated atmosphere.
This show was excellent. I loved every piece, the variety, the atmosphere, and most of all the illuminating subject matter. Hopefully the show will have a life beyond the WORD Christchurch Festival.
Top New Zealand composers and arrangers Gareth Farr, Claire Cowan, Chris Gendall and Hamish Oliver have been working with The Phoenix Foundation and NZSO Associate Conductor Hamish McKeich to create orchestral versions of the band’s much-loved works.
The Phoenix Foundation – Samuel Scott, Lukasz Buda, Conrad Wedde, Will Ricketts, Tom Callwood and Chris O’Connor – won the New Zealand Music Award for best group in 2010 for the album Buffalo. The band also contributed to several movie soundtracks, including film-maker Taika Waititi’s box office hits Boy and Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
We have two double passes to give away to the Christchurch concert on Thursday 30 August at the Isaac Theatre Royal.
Fill out the entry form on our website to be in with a chance to win. Entries close 5pm Wednesday 22 August. Winners will be announced on our website on Thursday 23 August.
Once again there’s everything from poetry sessions, confessional sessions, author and book-related panels, and even a whale-watching tour to beautiful Kaikoura!
But for me, the biggest excitement surrounds the sheer diversity of options available to us, the reader/audience…
As stated above, you can take a Whale Watching (Tues 28 Aug) trip to Kaikōura. Hosted by authors Philip Hoare and David Neiwert, and travelling from Christchurch to rendezvous with Whale Watch Kaikōura for an early afternoon cruise out into the mighty ocean, you can encounter the ocean giants first hand, all the while having the author/hosts regale you with knowledge and stories.
Irvine Welsh: Trainspotting to Dead Men’s Trousers. (Fri 31 Aug) What an exciting opportunity to hear from the mind of the man who burst onto the scene in 1993 with what is now a modern classic! Welsh has written quite a few books centred on the characters featured in Trainspotting, but is this to be the last one…?!? He’s also a highly opinionated and politically-minded individual so there’s sure to be some Brexit talk during his talk.
Diary of a Bookseller (Sat 1 Sept) gives us an insight into the highs and lows in the life of a Scottish second-hand bookshop. It’s hosted by Shaun Bythell who will also be runningBook Collectors Old and New (Fri 31 Aug) – a 3 hour interactive workshop on all things book collecting. Shaun co-hosts with Brian Phillips as they will impart all the knowledge you could want on the world of book collecting.
And finally, the story of the editor-turned-bestselling author. A.J. Finn: The Woman in the Window (Sun 2 Sept) introduces us to the next big thing in thriller writing. Dan Mallory, writing under a pseudonym, is getting huge accolades from some big names in the genre and The Woman in the Window is already getting the silver-screen treatment. This will fascinating to hear him speak about how his years of editing set him up for the best possible crack at his own bestseller!
So there are my pics for this year’s festival – wide, rich, and varied. See you there for literary-themed goodness!
Matariki – the Māori New Year – will take place on 6-9 July 2018. During Matariki we celebrate our unique place in the world. We give respect to the whenua on which we live, and admiration to our mother earth, Papatūānuku.
Matariki 2018 at Christchurch City Libraries continues the theme of ‘Te Iwa o Matariki – the Nine stars of Matariki’, this year with a focus on Toitū Ngā Mahinga Kai o Matariki – Sustainable natural resources of Matariki: Tupuānuku, Tupuārangi, Ururangi.
During June in the lead up to Māori New Year we’ll be offering a range of whānau-friendly celebrations and activities at our libraries.
Each year a community art project runs in our libraries for all to explore their creative side. This year the project is create a replica manu tukutuku (traditional Māori kite). Materials are supplied, all you have to do is bring your creativity.
Our Learning Centres are offering special Matariki Connect sessions for schools, introducing students to the key concepts of Te Iwa o Matariki, and involving a range of fun activities. This programme is now fully booked.
The Arts Centre invites you to come together as a community / whānau to celebrate Matariki 2018 with a variety of activities including a talk by Māori astronomer Dr Rangi Matamua, kapa haka, music and themed storytime sessions.
Matariki Celebration – Ara: Institute of Canterbury – 11-15 June
Ara will be having a whole programme of celebrations and activities 11-15 June across all of their campuses, including waiata, games, speakers, and food.
Pop along to the Bromley Community Centre to celebrate Matariki (Māori New Year)
Free entertainment, free activities, free tea and coffee, free fruit, plus affordable, yummy Māori kai available to purchase! Bromley School Kapa Haka Group will be performing at 4:30pm
Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū – Listen to a new story, The Stolen Stars of Marariki by Miriana Kamo and Zak Waipara, and then make your own Matariki mobile to take home. Ages 4-9. $5 per child, book online.
Organised by Avebury House, Avon-Ōtākaro Network and Richmond Community Garden. Guests are encouraged to contribute produce from their own garden or pantry, dropping off at Avebury House at 11am to contribute to the shared meal from 12 noon to 2pm. Please RSVP to let them know participant numbers and harvest contribution at: www.aveburyhouse.co.nz
Māori crafts (wood carving and flax weaving)
Fun things to do for kids.
Shared kai of soups by Richard Till, and a hangi
blessing and opening of the Native Edible Garden in the Richmond Community Garden
Beginning on Monday 18th June at 5pm with a powhiri, this exhibition showcases contemporary and traditional art works by local Māori artists. Free Kapa haka classes will be held throughout the exhibition and follow the theme of the seven stars of Matariki. The classes offered this year are kite making, movies, waiata and a concert on the final night of Friday 6th July at 5pm.
The children’s activities will be held Tuesdays 4.30pm – 6.30pm & Fridays 5pm onwards throughout the exhibition.
Tuesday 19 June Kapa Haka arts storytelling
Friday 22 June Traditional Games
Tuesday 26 June Movie night
Friday 29 June Whānau movie night
Tuesday 3 July Kapa Haka arts storytelling
Friday 6 July Concert night.
There is no charge for classes however registrations are essential. Call 981 2881 to book. Children and families most welcome.
388 Worcester Street
Monday to Friday 11am – 4pm
Saturday 12pm – 3pm
Most art works will be for sale
Create nature inspired lanterns this Matariki at the Gardens. Combine twigs, leaves and paper to make LED candle lanterns and light up the chilly nights of Matariki. Limited places and parents and guardians will be required to help with construction. Please note that we will be using hot glue. This workshop is most suitable for 7 to 12 year olds, but all ages are welcome. Cost $5 per child.
10am to midday
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Visitor Centre and Ilex Cafe
Celebrating Matariki at the Phillipstown Community Hub!
A family day with lots of activities, bouncy castle, face painting, carving, music, waiata, traditional sports, photo booths, arts & crafts, kapa haka, and – of course – kai!
Phillipstown Community Hub
39 Nursery Road
Matariki celebrations at Rehua Marae – subscribe to the Facebook event.
Kai and craft stalls, entertainment from local kapa haka and Maori musicians, free workshops. Entertainment: Kaitaka Tupuna O Rehua, Nga Toi O Te Rangi, Lisa Tui, Nga Manu a Tane, Mahina Kaui, Te Ahikaaroa, Te Kotahitanga, and the Koro Band. Workshops (start at 11.30) include star weaving, miniature kite making, tiki making, lantern making,and poi making. Some workshops have limited spaces.
The mobile library van will also be on site.
79 Springfield Road
Join rongoā practitioners as they celebrate Matariki the Māori New Year with a dawn karakia and tree planting as a symbol of new beginnings. The dawn planting will be followed by a hui with kai (bring a plate of food to share) and discussion of the plans for the next 12 months for this new park.
There will also second planting event at 10am. This planting event is suitable for families.
The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s 2018 season continues next month with internationally renowned tenor Simon O’Neill returning home to perform a special series of concerts a concert featuring works by Richard Wagner and Anton Bruckner. The Christchurch concert will take place on Wednesday 13 June at the Isaac Theatre Royal.
An Evening with Simon O’Neill will be the singer’s debut orchestral performance of Richard Wagner’s famous song cycle the Wesendonck Lieder.
Wagner wrote the five songs to poems by his muse and lover Mathilde Wesendonck, while he was also working on his great romantic opera Tristan und Isolde.
Hailed by critics as “the Wagnerian tenor of his generation”, O’Neill has recorded Wesendonck Lieder with New Zealand pianist Terence Dennis, but has never sung the song cycle with an orchestra.
This performance will also see the NZSO perform Wagner contemporary Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4. Known as the ‘Romantic Symphony’, it is one of Bruckner’s most popular works and his first symphony to achieve significant public acclaim.
The NZSO will be led by acclaimed Dutch conductor Lawrence Renes, who has a long association with O’Neill and NZSO Music Director Edo de Waart. When O’Neill first performed with the San Francisco Opera in 2012 in John Adams’ Nixon in China, Renes was the conductor.
We have 2 double passes to give away to library members. All you need to do is tell us what the name of the new central library is and complete the competition entry form. Entries close at 5pm on Tuesday, 5 June and winners will be announced on Wednesday 6 June.