NZSO opens new programme of fifth symphonies

Five by Five: Fifth Symphonies at Lunchtime Beethoven, Symphony No 5

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

New Zealand Festival

Michael Fowler Centre

February 24, 2014

It feels incredibly cosmopolitan and sophisticated to be able to go to a major symphonic concert at lunchtime - which is what the NZSO is doing in five concerts during the New Zealand Festival.

Starting with the Beethoven No 5, they will be then be presenting the fifth symphonies of Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius and Shostakovich over the next two weeks.

Conductor Anthony Hopkins, writing about Beethoven’s fift,h noted “Ask that proverbial man in the street to sing or whistle the first note of Beethoven that comes into their mind and he will almost certainly proffer the opening bars of the fifth symphony.

Without question, it is one of the most arresting openings ever written, immediate in its dramatic impact, memorable in its simplicity.” Every symphony can sound different each time it is performed and even the well-known Beethoven No 5, with its opening fateful knocking, can be given a new life.

Conductor Hamish McKeich and the NZSO found new subtleties and cadences, slowed down some passages, created new contrasts of light and dark, giving the work a freshness and vitality.

Maybe they can bring the same freshness and vitality to the rest of this season of fifth symphonies.

John Daly-Peoples attended the fesival with assistance from The New Zealand Festival and Quality Hotel


Dates of performance:

Schubert Symphony No 5 and Rosamunde Overture

March 3

Michael Fowler Centre

Tchaikovsky Symphony No 5

March 7

Michael Fowler Centre

Sibelius, Symphony No 5 and Karelia Suite

March 10

Michael Fowler Centre

Shostakovich Symphony No 5

March 13

Michael Fowler Centre

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