Reviews

One of the highlights of Auckland's musical life these last few years has been the semi-regular appearances of English conductor Stephen Layton to lead the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in Bach's great choral masterworks. Previous instalments have included revelatory performances of the B Minor Mass and St John Passion and, this year, these were followed by the St Matthew Passion, the second of...
The APO has already given us a concert opera this year with Verdi’s Aida but last night’s performance of Bach’s St Matthew Passion seemed like another one at times with its drama, passions, and powerful music. The story is told from multiple perspectives with some soloists, the chorus, and the orchestra taking on different roles and characters.This is not an easy work in many ways with its often...
A hundred years since the end of World War One – the war supposedly to end all wars – armed conflicts around the globe continue to cost millions of lives. Through multi-sensory, multi-time frame immersive theatre, Marc Rees’ Now the Hero / Nawr yr Arwr powerfully commemorates the fallen with the cry: “Remembrance is not enough”. Commissioned by 14-18 Now, this hugely ambitious piece is inspired...
Remembrance is not enough.” These stark words, hurled through a megaphone from a bridge that looks out over the expanse of Swansea Bay, set the tone for this three-hour epic. From the opening moments as three soldiers – a Celtic warrior, a first world war officer and a modern soldier in camouflage – land on the sandy beach, Marc Rees’s Now the Hero/Nawr yr Arwr combines the histories of the 20th...
Owain Park weaves new with old, glory with grace, and might with mysticism in this terrific collection of choral works Owain Park may still be only in his mid-twenties, but as a composer, conductor and organist he has already made an impressive mark, in the UK and internationally. His music has been performed by ensembles such as The Tallis Scholars, Tenebrae and the Aurora Orchestra; as a...
This Hyperion release of mostly a cappella settings reports a confident and highly gifted composer, Owain Park (born 1993), his alma mater The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge doing him proud, Stephen Layton securing polish and beauty, the singers’ robust and well-blended sound captured with sumptuous bloom in its sixteenth-century Chapel. As an ex-chorister, and a Senior Organ Scholar at...