on the airwaves

Your insight into what CMNZ has to offer for your classical in-flight entertainment on Air New Zealand. Recently added are playlists curated around destinations: Great Britain and Ireland; France: China; South America and the United States.

in this issue…

Taonga Puoro

ATTACCA QUARTET
CAROLINE SHAW: ORANGE

Caroline Shaw’s new album, Orange, is a love letter to the string quartet. The North Carolina native burst onto the music scene in 2013, when she was the youngest composer to win   a Pulitzer Prize. She’s still in her 30s and now, for the first time, there’s a recording devoted entirely to her work.

Shaw says in the liner notes that the album is like a garden. The soil contains musical remnants of the old masters which nourish her own new compositions — a refreshing twist on a centuries-old genre. In a piece called “The Cutting Garden,” she grafts sprigs of Mozart then Ravel onto her own new quartet. “When you hear all the imaginative sounds on Orange, you know you’re listening to the voice of a strong composer. The pieces on Orange shoot off in thrilling and unpredictable directions,” says Pitchfork’s 8.0 review. “The music of Orange exudes joy and a sense of wildness.”

THE HILLIARD ENSEMBLE
PÉROTIN

Performed by the venerated Hilliard Ensemble (specialists in early music, but have also collaborated with  Gavin  Bryars,  John  Cage, and Arvo Pärt), this is a collection of works written by the legendary Pérotin, who lived sometime in the late 12th and early 13th century and was responsible for some of the earliest polyphonic music of which we have written and attributed  documentation.  It would be impossible to  adequately  describe the inherent haunting beauty of  Perotin’s music, or to fully detail its  far-reaching influence in latter-12th-century France. Yes, it’s religious music, intended for lofty cathedral spaces; but it moves, and it’s moving. It doesn’t mind if you’re uninterested in Christianity or choral music or even the western tradition.

SHANGHAI SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
THE BUTTERFLY LOVERS VIOLIN CONCERTO: HE ZHANHAO/CHEN GANG

Perhaps one of the most famous orchestral works of Chinese music, this violin concerto is an orchestral adaptation of an ancient legend, the Butterfly Lovers. Written for the western style orchestra, it is nonetheless in traditional 5-note technique (pentatonic scale), it uses many Chinese melodies, chord structures and patterns. This gives the piece a distinctive “Chinese” sound, though it uses tonal harmonies.

The Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto was written in 1959 by two composers, He Zhanhao (born 1933) and Chen Gang (born 1935), while they were students at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Once released from censorship in the 1970s it became an embodiment of China in transition. It is also often performed with Chinese instruments playing the violin part, the most common being Erhu, Pipa and Liuqin.

LEO BROUWER
EOS GUITAR QUARTET LIVE

Born in 1939 in Havana, Leo Brouwer has composed some of the finest guitar music in the repertoire. His early guitar music was very much rooted in Cuban folk music, followed later by more modernist works in the 1980s. Brouwer has also composed several film scores. This performance of Gismontiana is a live recording of a concert featuring the Eos Guitar Quartet together with the Musikkollegium Winterthur conducted by composer Leo Brouwer. The concert took place on 27th March 2014 in the Stadthaus Winterthur Konzertsaal in conjunction with the In Guitar Festival and was recorded by Radio SRF 2 Kultur.

THE UNITED STATES NAVY BAND
STILL – SONGS OF SEPARATION

William Grant Still was a leading African American classical composer. Born in Mississippi but settled in Little Rock as a child, he had great exposure to European classical music through his stepfather’s collection of opera recordings. He gained important professional contact with African influences in music in the pop sphere when working for the W.C. Handy band as an oboist and arranger. Some of his most important music is found in his art songs, of which “Songs of Separation” is among the finest. Using the words of such poets as Paul Laurence Dubar, Langston Hughes, and Arna Bontemps, these songs deal powerfully with aspects of the Black experience.

They are directly emotional, evoking the cadences of Black speech without any obvious recourse to jazz or blues modality. This is one of the finest of American song cycles.

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We’re pushing the concepts of chamber music to new heights with energising and exciting collaborations sitting side by side with the masterworks of the baroque, classical and romantic. Share with us in this diverse and spirited season of exquisite music.

CORE FUNDER

Creative New Zealand | Toi Aotearoa

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