NZSO swaps Beethoven for Mahler

Alisa Weilerstein

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Beethoven, the Symphonies Wounded Hearts Tour

Wellington June 27

Palmerston North June 28

Napier July 2

Tauranga July 3

Auckland July 4

Whangarei July 5

The NZSO’s recent playing of the complete symphonies of Beethoven was an event rarely performed, even in the great concert halls of Europe and America.

Apart from enabling concert goers to hear all of the symphonies they also had the opportunity of appreciating the development of the symphonic form which Beethoven experimented with.

There was also the pleasure in listening to the juxtaposition of two symphonies, appreciating the clarity with which one could see how different the various symphonies are.

The work,s which evolved from those built on his predecessors, Haydn and Mozart through to his dramatic later works, were an opportunity to listen to Beethoven’s changing views of music but also his ideas about himself and mankind with works which reflected on joy, freedom, pleasure and the search for creativity.

The concerts were a great success in terms of numbers. Close to14000 people would have attended the concerts in Auckland and wellington while tens of thousands would have heard the series broadcast on concert FM.

Several of the concerts were sell-out events with most demand for the final Sunday concerts featuring Symphony’s No 8 and 9.

Listeners can continue to hear the orchestra for the next few weeks on http://www.radionz.co.nz/collections/beethoven/the-symphonies

The next NZSO concert will feature the distinctive musical voice of American cellist Alisa Weilerstein in her debut New Zealand performance.

Audiences in Wellington and Auckland will also hear the orchestra playing Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, The Titan.

Alisa Weilerstein is known for her prodigious talent, making her professional debut with the Cleveland Orchestra when she was only 13. In 2010, she performed Elgar’s Cello Concerto in an iconic performance with conductor Daniel Barenboim and the Berlin Philharmonic.

The concert was televised live around the world and lauded by The Guardian: Under the baton of her husband and charismatic Venezuelan conductor Rafael Payare, this NZSO concert series Wounded Hearts will explore themes of passion and pain with Prokofiev’s last major work Sinfonia Concertante, a rarely-performed large-scale work for cello and orchestra and Schumann’s Manfred Overture.

In Palmerston North, Napier, Tauranga and Whangarei, Tchaikovsky’s impressive Symphony No. 6 ‘Pathétique’ will also be performed replacing the Mahler Symphony.

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