Pink and White by Martin Setchell – free online New Zealand music

Concert organist Martin Setchell is Organ Curator of the Christchurch Town Hall, where he regularly performed on the acclaimed Rieger pipe organ. Here on Pink and White – New Zealand Organ Music, 1944-2004 we hear works by Anthony Ritchie, David Farquhar, Douglas Lilburn, John Ritchie, Douglas Mews, Jack Body, Tecwyn Evans and Martin Setchell himself, performed on the Rieger organ.

Recorded January. 27-28, 2005,  Pink and White features

This album (and over 52,000 more) is available online for free from anywhere with your library card number and PIN.

For New Zealand Music Month we are featuring a daily dose of free online New Zealand music from Naxos Music Library and the Source.

Looking at our Christchurch Town Hall

Decision time comes today for the Christchurch Town Hall. Here are some resources on its history:

Here’s a plan from 29 August 1968, architects Warren and Mahoney. See here and here.

Plan of the Town Hall

Some images:
Christchurch Town HallTown Hall
Christchurch Town HallNorth East Christchurch Energy Group - CrowdChristchurch Town Hall view Storylines festival 2010  Christchurch Town Hall view
Christchurch Town Hall view
Christchurch Town Hall viewChristchurch Town HallChristchurch Town Hall

Christchurch Town Hall turns 40

She is currently in the Red Zone, but join me in a toast to the Christchurch Town Hall – officially opened 40 years ago today – 30 September 1972.

Town Hall timeline

Old Town Hall

Christchurch had its Town Hall at the corners of Hereford-street and Cathedral Square, facing down what was then called the Sumner road (i.e., High-street at present). The Hall was 66 feet by 22 feet, with a gallery 10 feet wide. It had also two rooms united by a verandah, capable of being enclosed. A door led out from the gallery to a covered verandah over a porch that was used for a hustings.
(from Historical in the Illustrated Guide to Christchurch and Neighbourhood, M. Mosley, 1885. Online at the NZETC New Zealand Electronic Text Centre).

On 9 October 1962, the Town Hall site chosen in Kilmore Street. Assisted by advice from visiting Professor Gordon Stephenson, the unanimously accepted proposal ended years of dispute over this choice. Other sites considered were the old public library site in Hereford Street and an area near Latimer Square. Another often debated site was Victoria Square.

Here’s a plan from 29 August 1968, architects Warren and Mahoney. See here and here.

Plan of the Town Hall

There are some wonderful aerial shots of the building’s construction on Digital NZ.

The Christchurch Town Hall was officially opened on 30 September 1972 by His Excellency The Governor General, Sir Denis Blundell, GCMG, KBE.

Christchurch Town Hall

In 1973 – herTown Halle are some happy Town Hall attenders, they have  just been to the Town Hall to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

The Town Hall’s several function rooms were augmented in 1997 by the opening of the Christchurch Convention Centre, which was built to adjoin the Town Hall via a glass flyover bridge over Kilmore Street.

The Town Hall itself is currently closed due to significant damage caused by the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake. The damage was caused by liquefaction in the substrate under the building and the related lateral spreading of the ground towards the Avon River. The building is expected to remain closed until the end of 2013 at the earliest.

The Convention Centre was demolished in April 2012 as a result of earthquake damage.

The show must go on – The Christchurch Town Hall

Christchurch Town HallWho can say what the Town Hall has contributed to the cultural life of Christchurch?

I remember the days before we had it. Concerts were often held in the tin box of Canterbury Court or the wide open spaces of King Edward Barracks. Not a lot of atmosphere, and you had to hope it didn’t rain because the noise could drown out the performance. Not having a proper venue meant we had trouble attracting performers, so the opening of the new town hall in 1972 caused great excitement.

Researching the opening in Proquest I was surprised to find that this was not our first town hall. The first one in High Street was built in 1857, “but proved unsatisfactory” and the second was damaged in the 1869 earthquake.

The auditorium has proven a wonderful success – with clear lines of sight and excellent acoustics, even in the cheap seats. Some of the outstanding performers of the 70s that stick in my mind are Yehudi Menuhin with his own orchestra, and pop stars like Roberta Flack and Don McLean. It also finally gave a home to our symphony orchestra which proceeded to flourish.

The James Hay Theatre proved its worth for recitals, operas and ballets. My earlier memories include everything from an unknown pianist called Irina Plotnikova, winner of the inaugural Sydney International Piano Competition, who held the whole audience in thrall, to Nureyev dancing in his later years, to a beautifully costumed Magic Flute by the then new Canterbury Opera.

The huge variety of community groups, classical orchestras, touring artists, opera companies and choirs which have come to use these venues have vastly enriched our lives and it is impossible to imagine Christchurch without this melting pot of musical culture. Unfortunately damage from the quake has left its future in doubt. It is my fervent hope that we are able to attend more performances there soon.

We all have our own favourite memories of the Town Hall. What have been your favourite performances?