8 mins to read

Articulate: May 27 - June 2

The week ahead in arts, music and film.

John Daly-Peoples
Mon, 28 May 2012

Rattle Records

The last few months have seen the release of a number of new impressive albums from Rattle Records.

Among them have been three mainly classical albums: Stradivariazioni with violinist Martin Riseley and pianist Diedre Irons), Beethoven Cello Works Volume 1 with cellist Inbal Megiddo and pianist Jian Liu) and Flourishes by the NZ Trio - (Justine Cormack (violin) Ashley Brown (cello) and Sarah Watkins (piano).

Stradivariazioni features a Beethoven Sonata, a Schubert Fantasy and Tzigane by Ravel.

There is also a commissioned work by Stephan Prock, who teaches at the NZ School of Music. His work which provides the title for the album has some inspired music ranging from the dramatic to the serene with an insistent piano and violin creating inventive sequences.

The Beethoven Cello Works Volume 1 is a concentrated and passionate recording from two exceptional musicians.

Inbal Megiddo’s cello includes delicate passages which contrast with relentless vigour, resulting in expansive emotional landscapes. He is aided by pianist Jian Liu who provides a solid foundation to the work.

They play an opulent version of Beethoven’s Twelve Variations on “See the conqu’ring hero comes” from Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus along with a more playful set of variations on Mozart’s Die Zauberflote.

This is the first of two albums, the second will follow later in the year

Flourishes is the third album by the NZ Trio which is one of New Zealand’s inspired and intelligent musical groups who plays both a classic repertoire as well as more adventurous contemporary works.

The album includes piano trios by Mozart and Ravel, along with Arvo Part's reworking of Mozart’s Adagio for Piano Cello and Violin in which the composer has included an introductory passage and several variations.

The group manages to skillfully merge the musical forms of Mozart and the 21st century with a more spiritual feel than the original, producing a strong emotional quality.

Eve de Castro Robinson's commissioned work, At Waters Birth, brilliantly combines spoken word and music to evoke a sense of space and shape.

In the commissioned work by I Wayan Gde Yudane, Entering the Stream, the trio captures the qualities of water, time and birdsong linking the baroque and the contemporary.

Art Auction

A2 Webbs
29 May - 6pm

A2 Art include works by contemporary practitioners such as one of Pamela Wolfe’s large format flower painting Nocturne ($10,000-$14,000), a Pat Hanly garden drawing work Very Bright Day and Monarch ($8000-$10,000) and a Peter McIntyre watercolour “Waiwera ($12,000-$18,000)

There are also a couple of prints by major European artists – a Pablo Picasso lithograph Picador II ($2500-$4500) and a Salvador Dali etching Toulouse Lautrec ($1000-$1500).

There is good example of the investment potential of some artists with the inclusion of a Ralph Hotere Drawing for Song Cycle from 1976. The work was originally sold for $80 price tag affixed. It is now for sale at $13,000-$18,000.

Other artists include Peter Robinson, Andrew McLeod, Julian Dashper, Peter Stichbury, Fiona Pardington, Bill Hammond, Shane Cotton, Tony de Latour and Seraphine Pick.

Peter James Smith
On the Nature of Things
Orex Gallery
May 29-June 16

In his latest exhibition Peter James Smith includes work based on his travels to the Antarctica as well as ruminations on 18th and 19th century landscapes the Romantic poets, Josiah Wedgewood, planetary movement and the writings of Lucretius.

He has also included some work which relates to 19th century postcards.

The artist notes that “Our current desire for social networking has always been firmly in place. In New Zealand between 1890 and 1910 the Facebook of the age was the fascinating practice of sending postcards. Many of the black and white images were ironically called Real Pictures".

"Sometimes these images were hand tinted with retro colours and were mailed with their red Penny Universal stamps and honourable handwriting. In their enthusiasm people wrote messages on the picture side so I have scored some marvelous antecedents to my own postmodern practice of writing over my paintings and other objects with white texts of poetry, graffiti and mathematics.”

The work range from the small Photon ($650) to Ulysses ($9500).

International Film Festival

The New Zealand International Film Festival has announce four new titles that will be showcased at this year’s event including the Peter Jackson produced documentary West of Memphis will be premiering at the festival ahead of its international release later this year.

Also announced is the latest film from director Richard Linklater, Bernie that stars Jack Black, the new documentary Bully from director Lee Hirsch plus First Position, a documentary that follows the journey of young ballet dancers, competing for the Youth American Grand Prix.

The festival has also announced that Kiwi director Roger Donaldson (World’s Fastest Indian, Smash Palace) is the guest selector for the inaugural Best of New Zealand Short Film Competition for the NZIFF.

From 109 submissions, he has been sent a short list of twelve films from which he will select a programme of finalists that will screen during the festival to be judged by a jury who will then select the winner.

West of Memphis
New Zealand 2012, 150m
Director: Amy Berg
Festivals: Sundance 2012
“In 1994 three Arkansas teenagers were convicted for murdering three eight year old boys – on the strength of an implausible confession and ‘expert’ testimony that characterised them as Satanists. A film about the case made by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, alerted the world (including NZIFF audiences in 1996) and proved the founding document of an international movement to free the ‘West Memphis Three’. For 18 years the West Memphis judge who oversaw the initial trial denied successive retrial bids. Then suddenly last August, facing formidable legal expertise funded by supporters, the court caved, sort of: the three were released without retrial but had to admit culpability whilst proclaiming their innocence. Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh have been key participants in that movement and, along with the falsely accused Damien Echols and his partner Lorri Davis, have now produced this film which provides a lucid recounting of the long legal campaign. Director Amy Berg (Deliver Us from Evil, NZIFF07) also shapes an overwhelming case for the overturning of the convictions and the arrest of the actual killer.” — Bill Gosden.

“Amy Berg's clear, captivating, indignant film carves out its own significant place in criminal-justice cinema… Whether the state of Arkansas can ignore West of Memphis seems to be the only remaining question surrounding this first-rate investigative documentary.” — John Anderson, Variety

USA 2011, 98m
Director: Richard Linklater
Festivals: London 2011l; SXSW, San Francisco 2012

“Reunited with his School of Rock director Richard Linklater, Jack Black has his best ever role and meets it with inspiration and amazing restraint. Playing a real-life, world-famous-in-Texas character (whom you can see Black meet if you stay for the credits) he provides a wonderfully full portrait of a closeted small-town guy who has sunk his enormous personality into round-the-clock, upbeat, apple-pie niceness. Blessed with a golden singing voice, attentive to anniversaries, generous with gifts, Bernie Tiede was an assistant undertaker so popular with the old ladies of Carthage, Texas, that when he confessed to murdering one of their number, nobody in town was prepared to listen. And if he did it, they say, victim Marjorie Nugent (a sour, purse-clutching Shirley MacLaine) had it coming. The fun is in the details and the way Linklater kids the notion that Bernie = community spirit. An East Texas native himself, Linklater has enlisted actual townspeople to provide pungent opinion and unreliable commentary in a mock-doc fashion no sane outsider would contemplate. Matthew McConaughey as the county prosecutor looks great in a Stetson and cuts a scathing dash through the protestations of Marjorie’s defamers and Bernie’s fans.” — Bill Gosden

“Black sings, dances and charms his way around a character whose larger-than-life personality almost demands parody. Yet the wonder of Black's performance here is its empathy and balance: inasmuch as he can disappear into any role, he dissolves into this one with no hint of mocking remove. It's a beautiful thing to see… Shamelessly predisposed toward its subject, Bernie is an eccentric delight.” — Jeannette Catsoulis, NPR

aka The Bully Project, USA 2011, 98m
Director: Lee Hirsch
Festivals: Tribeca, Amsterdam Documentary 2011

“The best social documents on film do more than show you what's wrong in the world – they make it personal. Bully does that with a passion. Lee Hirsch's film is a potent and provocative look at a problem that's out of control, what with 13 million American kids a year being bullied, and some of them even taking their own lives. Hirsch goes beyond statistics to focus on a handful of bullied students at public schools in Texas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Iowa and Mississippi. Alex, 12, is punched and ridiculed without remorse, while school administrators tell his parents that ‘boys will be boys.’ Kelby, 16, is an athlete who comes out as gay, only to face being ostracized and run down by a car. Ja'Meya, 14, is so traumatized that she takes a gun onto her school bus to scare off bullies and faces 22 felony charges. The families of two suicides – one boy was 17, the other 11 – try to organize on a national level, pressing students and school officials to pull the issue out of dark corners and take a stand for the silent. As one parent says to a school official who tries to brush the topic away: ‘You politicianed me.’ Bully isn't politics. It's a heartfelt cry for help.” — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

First Position
USA 2011, 90m
Director: Bess Kargman
Festivals: Toronto, Vancouver 2011

“Never putting a foot wrong, touching, enormously satisfying documentary First Position, from first-time director Bess Kargman, follows six gifted ballet students from disparate social, regional, economic and ethnic backgrounds as they prepare for the Youth America Grand Prix, a prestigious competition at which the world's top dance companies and schools prospect for new talent… Every year, more than 5,000 aspiring dancers worldwide, ages 9-19, enter the Grand Prix, hoping to win scholarships, kudos and job contracts. Out of that number, only 300 make it into the New York City finals. Although all six of director Kargman's subjects have sacrificed a so-called ‘normal’ childhood for their art, and share tenacity, dedication and maturity beyond their years, their backstories differ vastly. The film intelligently delves into their home lives, spending time with them and their families so that viewers can understand what has shaped them… Kargman, once a young dancer herself, demonstrates ample knowledge of and passion for ballet life. Her crisply shot, smartly assembled film provides, without pandering, an inspiring human-interest story that will hold up well under repeat viewings.” — Alissa Simon, Variety
In English, Spanish, French and Hebrew, with English subtitles

John Daly-Peoples
Mon, 28 May 2012
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Articulate: May 27 - June 2