Reviews

Karl Jenkins has dedicated his new choral work to those in the Middle East who have suffered in the recent turbulent history of their lands. The texts are drawn from biblical times to ‘Eli Jenkins’ Prayer’ from Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood and beyond. This is music of consolation, set in a popular idiom, that is surprisingly upbeat in tone given its dedication. The sounds of the casbah fill the...
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...
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...
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...
Twenty-something composer Owain Park is very much the rising star on the British choral scene, carving out a reputation as both a choral director and a composer. Choirs (and record labels) have been quick to catch on, and this is by no means the first disc on the market to feature his music, even if it is the first one to do so exclusively. A former pupil of John Rutter, who has written the disc’...