“Richard Fuchs was a composer believed by his father to be 'the third Richard', successor to Strauss and Wagner. He loved German culture above all others. Unfortunately German culture hated him. His music was banned by the Nazis and he was banished, so he fled to New Zealand in the 1940s. No longer persecuted, just ignored. A man out of place and out of time. An enemy in Germany because...
were taking place. The film tells the tale of an organ-playing 'Phantom'... read more
How satisfying is the experience of a silent film?
As part of the Cathedral’s 50th anniversary, a famous silent film made in 1925 was screened, with a dedicated sound-track comprising a live organ performance. The inspiration for an organ accompaniment came from the theme of the film itself set in the Paris Opéra where performances of Gounod’s
This film dates from 1928 and is in the timeless tradition of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. It was written and directed by King Vidor, and the score was commissioned by Creative NZ from young Wellington composer Johannes Contag. The 12-piece SMP Ensemble comprised a handful of strings, flute, clarinets (including bass), bassoon, percussion and piano, a selection which gave Contag a varied colour palette to work with, and...
Kurt Sanderling, who died last year in Berlin at the age of 98, was a name known to me from my formative days of record-collecting, through his 1950s recording made with the Leningrad Phllharmonic of Rachmaninov's Second Symphony - one of those early cotton-stitched white-and-yellow panelled Deutsche Grammophon LP covers with the composer's facsimile autograph scribbled across the central vertical yellow panel (all very tasteful and esoteric, obviously aimed at...
The first thing that struck me about the otherwise excellent programme notes was the absence of any direct comment about the thrust of the 1927 German film as an anti-capitalist document.
The notes suggest that the scenes of forced labour foreshadowed the concentration camps. That seems a misleading remark, considering NAZI taking power was still six years away, while exploitation of industrial workers had characterized most industrial enterprises since the...
The festival's artistic directors, no doubt always in close rapport with the artists concerned, have had an unerring ability to fit the music together in contexts that were coherent but also fitted the time of day and the venue.
This was followed by another Chinese delight... read more
Musings and a review by Peter Coates.
This week has been a very exciting one for me. Last Sunday I saw a performance of Wushu martial arts by twenty-four Chinese visiting experts. This was spectacular, colourful and beautifully choreographed and performed in front of an appeciative audience at the Wellington Town Hall. Modern dance choreographers in Wellington should have been along to witness it.