Photo credit: Lisa Marie Mazzucco
volume 35 number 02 June 2017
HOUSTOUN & HRISTOVA: 8 YEARS LATER Bella Hristova, violin, and Michael Houstoun, piano, will be touring through August and September performing the Beethoven Sonatas for Violin and Piano. Audiences around the country will be able hear the Sonatas in a variety of formats: the complete cycle through five lunchtime recitals in Wellington, a mini-festival series in Auckland and Christchurch, and single concerts elsewhere around the country. Michael Houstoun, of course needs no introduction, he is well known and loved by audiences across New Zealand for his consummate musicianship, and praised around the world for his intense and incisive interpretations of Beethoven in particular. In 2013, Michael Houstoun’s magnificent repeat cycle of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas, 20 years on from his first undertaking of all the works was overwhelmingly acclaimed. Bella Hirstova was born in Pleven, Bulgaria, to Russian and Bulgarian
parents, and began playing the violin at the age of six. As the winner of the prestigious Michael Hill International Violin Competition in 2007, part of the prize package for Bella was a Chamber Music New Zealand tour the following year, in a recital partnership with Michael Houstoun (11 centres) and Diedre Irons (3 centres). Bella shares some memories of the 2008 MHIVC Winner’s tour, her musical connection with Michael Houstoun and their shared affinity for Beethoven, and what she is most looking forward to in the upcoming tour. BH: I look back on my 2008 CMNZ tour really as the beginning of my performing career. It was such a crucial part of my musical
development; being able to perform a programme so many times in a row is an opportunity that most people don’t get early on. It’s the best way to get to know the music on a deeper level; to get to know yourself in a performing and touring setting, and to find out if this life is for you. For me, even though I was tired after the month-long tour, I was also ready to do it all again! All the drives that Michael and I took were really memorable - seeing fur seals in Kaikoura; driving through the South Island rainforest; driving along the west coast of the South Island with the sea on one side and high mountains on the other (sampling pies along the way, of course). There was a mountain road that we took on the way to Queenstown, which offers an incredible view of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea - and that view is something I still remember so vividly. Continued on page 2
Kia ora tātou Two of CMNZ’s upcoming tours have real personal significance for me, so I hope you’ll forgive a couple of reminiscences here. As an undergraduate at Victoria University, my violin teacher Ruth Pearl and Margaret Nielsen worked their way through the Beethoven sonatas for violin and piano in ten successive Thursday lunch hour concerts. I had previously learned the “Spring” Sonata and I had an LP of Yehudi Menuhin and his sister, Hepzibah, playing this and the “Kreutzer”. What a revelation it was to hear all these amazing works so beautifully played by Ruth and Margaret.
Bella Hristova Continued...
I know that CMNZ audiences will feel a similar sense of discovery and elation at the opportunity to hear Bella Hristova and Michael Houstoun in these masterpieces. We have been privileged to hear Michael’s thoroughgoing exploration of the Beethoven piano sonatas. The Violin and Piano Sonatas are an obvious next milestone. A second reminiscence. When I went as a graduate student to Oxford in the 1970s, I quickly became interested in Baroque violin and the period instrument revival. A few months after arriving in the UK, I attended a summer school in the little village of Duns Tew where the artist teachers were Sigiswald Kuijken, his brother Wieland and the harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt. I was completely blown away by what I heard. Sigiswald’s playing, in particular, was utterly expressive and full of imagination – but underlying everything he did was a real sense of integrity.
The Kuijken family have remained leaders in the historical performance movement – and now we’re into the next generation with Sigiswald’s daughter performing in the Kuijken Quartet. I am sure that the insights that they will bring to Haydn and Mozart on their New Zealand tour will be wonderfully rewarding. And how thrilling it will be to hear Sigiswald performing solo Bach again. This is also the season for the NZCT Chamber Music Contest. Year after year, I am astonished and proud to see the standards achieved by these young New Zealanders. Kia kaha tamariki ma!
Peter Walls Chief Executive Chamber Music New Zealand
“Every sound [Bella] draws is superb” – The Strad
Bella Hristova with pianist Michael Houstoun
I first met Michael in 2008, the day before our rehearsals for the tour started. We had just a few days to prepare two complete programmes. From our first rehearsal I knew that a very special musical relationship was forming and that feeling only grew. I loved Michael’s playing immediately and it was so easy to play with him; everything felt very intuitive. He is one of the most inspiring people that I know and I feel very fortunate to call him a friend. I knew immediately after the 2008 tour that I wanted to play more with Michael and that performing the complete Beethoven Sonatas together would be a dream come true for me. We talked about the power of Beethoven’s music during the tour and how both of us felt a deep emotional connection to it. I didn’t know how and
when this project would be possible but I brought up the idea with him in 2014 when I was in New Zealand. He was excited by it, many other people were excited by it, and I couldn’t be happier that CMNZ is presenting us in this Beethoven cycle! These programmes are very dear to me. Beethoven is my favourite composer and these are some of the greatest works ever written for piano and violin. I hope the audiences get to discover something in the Sonatas that they hadn’t known or heard before or to experience them for the first time. For me, these pieces are full of every human emotion there is, and each time I go back to them I learn something new. I’ve never heard all ten Sonatas presented live myself, so I hope that will be a unique and
special experience for people coming to the concerts as well. More than anything I’m looking forward to playing with Michael again and exploring these Sonatas together, coming up with interpretations that are uniquely ours and then seeing how they develop over the course of the tour. I’m also excited to re-visit the halls and audiences where we played in 2008 and to play for new audiences as well. New Zealand is my favourite place to visit, so I can’t wait to be surrounded by the beauty of the country, the warmth of the people, and the feeling of contentment I have when I’m there. MICHAEL HOUSTOUN & BELLA HRISTOVA
TOURING 24 August – 9 September chambermusic.co.nz/michaelandbella
Photo credit: Dirk van Overwalle
KUIJKEN QUARTET - A FAMILY AFFAIR Sigiswald Kuijken, a world leader in establishing historical performance practice, founded the baroque orchestra, La Petite Bande in 1972 and the Kuijken Quartet in 1986. Since then Sigiswald and his family’s rich experience of baroque and classical music have inspired and influenced generations of period instrument performers. The Kuijken Quartet is a family affair, with Sigiswald and his wife Marleen Thiers (viola), with daughter Sara (violin) and for this CMNZ tour, Michel Boulanger (cello). The Kuijken Quartet will be performing Haydn and Mozart string quartets on period instruments for their CMNZ tour. Period musical instruments are either originals or copies of instruments from the time the composers were writing. Sigiswald explains: “The 18th century violin was different from our modern violin not so much in the overall shape and dimension of the body (this was already quite like what we see today), but mainly by the material used to make the strings. The upper 3 strings were pure gut and the lowest string (the thickest) was silverwound gut. This traditional material still defines the standard of violin tone and you might find players today praising the tone of a new, synthetic string by saying it sounds “as warm as a gut string. The bridge is a different shape and often the position of the neck is not quite so angled back as that of a modern violin.
Inside the instrument the bass bar [an internal brace running the length of the violin’s body] does not exert as much force, which results in less string tension on the bridge. The sound that is created tends to be more free and flexible, but also a slightly smaller sound than that of modern instruments. There was also a great variety in the shape and weight of the bows used in Mozart and Haydn’s time; in general, the bows had less hair and the tip of the bow was lighter.” Pitch has gradually become higher over the past few centuries, with most musicians today playing at around A=440 hz. (440 refers to the vibrations per second and the “A” is the A above middle C on the piano). The Kuijken Quartet’s classical instruments are tuned to A=430 hz (so lower than what we are used to today) and here Sigiswald writes about the complex matter of choosing pitch. “The 430 pitch is mainly used today for historical performances of classical music - although in Classical times it was quite usual for each local area to choose their own preferred pitch. Today due to globalisation, pitch is more standardised for practical reasons. But with this globalisation we have lost a lot of local colour as well. In 18th century Vienna, Paris or London, musicians in the different cities did not even necessarily play at the
same pitch in the same years, and sometimes more than one pitch would be used within one city (for instance in Paris: at the Opera, the traditional pitch was much lower than for other instrumental concerts in town). The 430 pitch would be too high for one city and too low for another. It is impossible to know exactly what was the “right” pitch for Haydn or Mozart’s string quartets as they would be played differently in the various cities all over Europe! Lower pitch generally gives a warmer ensemble sound - but if you go too low, you will lack the necessary brilliancy perhaps. Too high pitch and it will result in a tense and ‘screaming’ sound. There is no absolute truth.” Haydn is considered the “Father” of the string quartet, how does the writing for the quartet in Mozart’s Quartets differ from that of Haydn? “Haydn tends to give more priority to the first violin part, although he will also give beautiful solo passages to all the other parts. He is also sometimes influenced by traditional or folk music. Generally, Haydn is never ‘tragic’ - whereas Mozart is like ‘hiding a tear under outer joy, and a smile under tragic development’. Mozart’s last quartets also demonstrate great complexity in the contrapuntal writing.” (Two or more melodic lines played at the same time).
Continued on page 4
“...most 18th century violins surviving today have been modified many times...the bow is the thing which makes the biggest difference” – Sigiswald Kuijken Kuijken Quartet continued... CMNZ audiences in Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington will get to hear Sigiswald in a solo Bach programme. Sigiswald describes his violin for these performances… “I will use the same violin but tune it considerably lower than for the quartets (ca A = 415) however I will use a different bow...The baroque bow is the main difference when compared to a classical violin set up. The bow is shorter and not so much singing but more speaking in capability. This is what Bach and his colleagues would have used. In the classical period, I’m sure that many baroque violins would still have been used, with perhaps slight changes like the use of thicker strings. On the other hand, newly made violins in Mozart or Haydn’s time might have had new, fashionable
OPENING THE SCORE
features (longer and heavier bass bars, perhaps a slightly longer or more inclined neck), but certainly not always! I feel we should refrain from making too many intellectual and [seemingly] logical theories about the results of change in taste and fashion. We were not there to see it happen, and it certainly did not happen everywhere in the same way. Moreover, most 18th century violins surviving today have been modified many times. As I said, the bow is the thing which makes the biggest difference anyway.” Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin have become an essential part of the violin repertoire, and yet they were largely ignored until the legendary violinist Joseph Joachim started to perform them. Now every aspiring young musician will study these works and perform these works. Chamber Music is all about experiencing ‘Music Up Close’ and we are constantly striving for the perfect combination of diversity, excellence and intimacy. With this in mind, CMNZ has launched a short video series titled Opening the Score which aims to open up some of the “secrets” of the music which will be performed throughout our season.
Douglas Mews, harpsichord and Nick Tipping, double bass discuss bass lines and the Baroque.
A video will be produced prior to a select few of our Kaleidoscopes tours and aims to whet the appetite of concert-goers by giving some indepth information about what they can expect to see and hear.
THURSDAY 13 JULY The Piano, Christchurch This masterclass is free entry and open to the public. Presented in association with the Baroque Music Community & Educational Trust of NZ
TUESDAY 18 JULY
New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington This masterclass is free entry and open to the public.
KUIJKEN QUARTET TOURING: 8–20 JULY chambermusic.co.nz/kuijkenquartet KUIJKEN SOLO BACH TUESDAY 18 JULY, Wellington WEDNESDAY 19 JULY, Auckland THURSDAY 20 JULY, Hamilton
Funding for this video series has been made possible with a grant from the Judith Clark Memorial Fund. As well as being a pre eminent music educator and indomitable champion of New Zealand music, Judith was a long-time supporter of CMNZ. If you didn’t manage to see the videos prior to the L’Arpeggiata tour, you can still catch them on our YouTube channel. Make sure you’re on the lookout prior to each of our upcoming tours for the next instalment of Opening the Score. youtube.com/chambermusicnz
Photo credit: Carla Rees
COMING UP KALEIDOSCOPES KUIJKEN QUARTET 8–20 July
What do you most remember about learning from Judith Clark?
MEET XENIA PESTOVA London-based New Zealand pianist, Xenia Pestova, is touring the country in July, as part of CMNZ Encompass Regional Series. After a childhood in Siberia she moved to Wellington when she was 12 years old and later completed her tertiary studies at Victoria University, with Judith Clark. It is four years since you have been in New Zealand, what are you most looking forward to about being back? The wonderful nature, fantastic coffee, seeing old friends and playing for warm audiences! With a tour that takes you from Warkworth to Gore are there places that you have not been before/look forward to visiting? I have a dear friend now living in Gore, and I haven’t been to her house yet, so I look forward to visiting. I am also looking forward to performing in Tauranga, Whakatane and Warkworth for the first time! The tour actually also doubles as a “busman’s holiday” honeymoon: I look forward to showing my favourite places to my partner, composer Ed Bennett. Ed grew up by the sea in Northern Ireland, and I am sure he will just love New Zealand.
Judith was a very important teacher for me, a formative influence. She kindled tremendous enthusiasm for learning and hard work. All of Judith’s pupils played contemporary music, and music by New Zealand composers, and I took to it “like a duck to water”, as Judith would say. It was really thanks to her that I chose to specialise in contemporary repertoire, and ended up working with so many great living composers to bring new pieces into being – what a privilege! Your programme is an adventurous collection of works – are there particular musical moments that you look forward to in these concerts? I am really fond of all the pieces on the programme, and look forward to sharing them with my audiences. I am particularly excited about the two premieres: new pieces by New Zealand composers Glenda Keam and Miriama Young, both of which are stunning. XENIA PESTOVA piano TOURING: 16 July - 6 August chambermusic.co.nz/xeniapestova
Sigiswald Kuijken, internationally recognised as a leader in historical-performance will tour both with his ensemble, the Kuijken Quartet, and solo Bach for recitals in Auckland, Wellington and Hamilton. TAKÁCS QUARTET 4–5 Aug Chamber music royalty return to Aotearoa for two concerts only. MICHAEL HOUSTOUN & BELLA HRISTOVA 24 Aug–7 Sep Houstoun and Hristova will perform all 10 of Beethoven’s Sonatas for violin and piano over a 3 day festival (Christchurch), a 2 day festival (Auckland ) and a week-long lunch hour series (Wellington). NZCT CHAMBER MUSIC CONTEST Contest District Rounds: 6–16 June Contest Regional Finals: 24 June Contest National Finals: 5–6 August
ENCOMPASS JIAN LIU 11 June – 26 June Acclaimed pianist, Jian Liu, performs a programme exploring the first and last piano works by celebrated composers. THE TROUBADOUR QUARTET 14 July – 24 July Fresh from featured performances at the Adam Chamber Music Festival, this power house of emerging players is sure to delight. KIWA QUARTET 9 July – 22 September Beethoven, John Adams, Gareth Farr, Tchaikovsky XENIA PESTOVA 16 July – 6 August The piano playing of Xenia Pestova has been described as ‘ravishing’ and ‘remarkably sensuous’. Full concert details: chambermusic.co.nz/2017 0800 CONCERT (266 2378)
Photo credit: Reuben Looi
THE ARTS ARE FOR EVERYONE! At CMNZ we’re passionate about bringing top quality music to the concert hall, as well as taking music into local communities. One programme in particular that has the biggest impact on the community are our accessible concerts. 2017 sees the start of an exciting new arts partnership with the IHC Foundation which will provide workshops and interactive performances in Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, and Christchurch this year for diverse audiences. Previous funding from the IHC Foundation has allowed us to offer relaxed performances that are focused on high levels of participation. After seeing the impact of these performances and how much joy they brought to attendees and their family
members, the IHC Foundation recently committed to a three year partnership to ensure that these performances continue. Thanks to this partnership, we are able to continue hosting interactive and inclusive performances alongside immersive workshops with our musicians and an experienced musical practitioner. “There was no separation, just music being used as a tool to communicate across all barriers. Thank you for this ‘all inclusive’ performance which was beyond my wildest dreams, an experience of a lifetime that I will never forget.” – Sister of a day attendee, Christchurch Hohepa Community
Partnerships, like the one with the IHC Foundation, provide invaluable experiences for people right around New Zealand. You too can have a similar impact outside of the concert hall and within the community through our upcoming Annual Appeal. Your support aids us in hosting the many other community activities like our family concerts and audio described performances. To find out more about how you could have a personal impact on local communities please contact: Mandy Carian email@example.com Phone: (04) 802 0755 In partnership with
BABYSITTING CLUB Join the CMNZ Babysitting Club & get your 2 for 1 tickets now!
DATE Finding NIGHT ANYONE? childcare isn’t always easy – or cheap! Parents and caregivers rejoice, the CMNZ
0800 CONCERT Babysitting (266 Club is2378) here! chambermusic.co.nz/babysittingclub
Join the club and whenever you buy a ticket to one of our concerts and book a babysitter for
Around CMNZ: Welcome the newly appointed New Plymouth Concert Manager Catherine Martin. At our recent AGM in April, we had the pleasure of awarding life membership to Susan Case (former New Plymouth Concert Manager) and Liffy Roberts (former Hawke’s Bay Concert Manager).
CONGRATULATIONS: Congratulations to young NZ composer Salina Fisher for representing New Zealand at ISCM 2017, with her work “Tōrino: echoes on pūtōrino improvisations by Rob Thorne”. The work was originally commissioned by CMNZ for the QuintEssence tour In 2016 and was premiered by the New Zealand string Quartet In Wellington. Salina has recently been awarded a scholarship to pursue a Master of Music in Composition at Manhattan School of Music, New York. The NZTrio has been awarded a citation and grant by The Lilburn Trust for outstanding services to New Zealand music - this is the first time in the history of the award that the citation has been given to an ensemble. Well done!
OPPORTUNITIES Are you a music student? Or are you simply passionate about chamber music? We are always on the hunt for passionate volunteers and student ambassadors. If that sounds like you, contact Alessandra: firstname.lastname@example.org chambermusic.co.nz/volunteer
Digital Theme Send us your email address and we will alert you when the latest version of Theme is available online. Send your request to email@example.com and enter in the Subject line "Theme alert".
© Chamber Music New Zealand 2017 No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior permission of Chamber Music New Zealand.
CORE FUNDER Creative New Zealand SUPPORTING FUNDER NZCT CORPORATE PARTNERS VOICE • Nelson Pine • Phantom • The University of Auckland Todd Corporation • KBB Music • Fraser & Sons Ltd • Crowne Plaza • InterContinental Wellington FUNDING PARTNERS Foundation North • Stout Trust Deane Endowment Trust • IHC Foundation The Lion Foundation • The Wallace Foundation Community Trust of Southland • Dunedin City Council Eastern & Central Community Trust First Light Community Foundation • Four Winds Invercargill Licensing Trust • Judith Clark Memorial Fund New Zealand France Friendship Fund • Otago Community Trust Pelorus Trust • Pub Charity • Rata Foundation • Southern Trust The Adam Foundation • Timaru District Council • Trust House Trust Waikato • TSB Community Trust • Turnovsky Endowment Trust Wellington City Council • Wellington Community Trust Winton & Margaret Bear Charitable Trust CHAMBER MUSIC NEW ZEALAND Level 4, 75 Ghuznee Street, P.O. Box 6238, Wellington Tel (04) 384 6133 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Website www.chambermusic.co.nz BOARD Lloyd Williams (Chair), Quentin Hay, Gretchen La Roche, Bruce Phillips, Matthew Savage, Sarah Sinclair, Vanessa Van den Broek, Kerrin Vautier BRANCHES Auckland: Chair, Victoria Silwood; Concert Manager, John Giffney Hamilton: Chair, Murray Hunt; Concert Manager, Gaye Duffill New Plymouth: Concert Manager, Catherine Martin Hawkes Bay: Chair, June Clifford; Concert Manager, Rhondda Poon Manawatu: Chair, Graham Parsons; Concert Manager, Virginia Warbrick Wellington: Concert Manager, Rachel Hardie Nelson: Chair, Annette Monti Concert Manager, Clare Monti Christchurch: Chair; TBC Concert Manager, Jody Keehan Dunedin: Chair, Terence Dennis; Concert Manager, Richard Dingwall Southland: Chair, Rosie Beattie; Concert Manager, Jennifer Sinclair For all Concert Managers phone 0800 CONCERT (266 2378) Regional Presenters located in: Marlborough Music Society Inc (Blenheim), Cromwell & Districts Community Arts Council, Musica Viva Gisborne, Music Society Eastern Southland (Gore) Arts Far North (Kaitaia), Aroha Music Society (Kerikeri), Chamber Music Hutt Valley, Motueka Music Group, Waimakariri Community Arts Council (Rangiora), Rotorua Music Federation, Tauranga Musica Inc, Te Awamutu Music Federation, Upper Hutt Music Society, Waikanae Music Society, Wanaka Concert Society Inc, Chamber Music Wanganui, Warkworth Music Society, Wellington Chamber Music Trust, Whakatane Music Society, Whangarei Music Society.
THE ECHO OF THE STARS TE ORO O NGĀ WHETŪ An interview with Alistair Fraser, ngā taonga puoro artist performing as part of this year’s Matariki concerts. What’s your musical background? I was raised in Dunedin listening to funk, The Beatles, Bowie, 1960’s psychedelia, the Dunedin Sound and 1950’s rock and roll. At my school, St Edmunds all the students were required to sing in the school choirs as well as perform a solo song and poem. This and singing at church on Sundays were times when I was involved in music as a child. In my teenage years I learnt drum kit and then guitar and played in bands. I followed up on the guitar studying jazz and graduating from Massey University in 2000. I started to perform with ngā taonga puoro my first year out of music school. What lead you to taonga puoro – the making and playing? When I fell in love with the voices of ngā taonga puoro I was doing a lot of tramping and was keen to learn and explore as much as I could about our country and people. Ngā taonga puoro was and still is the doorway for me to do this. When I was in my last year at University Richard Nunns played at a friend’s recital. The sounds made total sense. This kicked started my research into what other instruments could be revived. I really had to make them myself as there was no one else around I knew of who was making and playing. What materials do you favour working with when making taonga puoro? I love found materials that already have the form and are playable with very little alteration to make a taonga when you find it. There’s a connection to
the place where they’ve been found, their natural environment, that tells a story and is totally ‘of’ that place. I also work with bone, stone, wood and gourds. Tell me a wee bit about your overseas research project in 2016 In 2016 I was made a Churchill Fellow to travel to the U.K. and Ireland to inspect, photograph and record collections of taonga puoro held in museums there. I visited 11 museums, inspected 18 taonga and recorded 8 of them. The research I do is valuable to me as a maker and player. What projects are you working on at present? As well as CMNZ I’m working with Stroma this Matariki for their ‘Tatai Whetu’ concert that will feature Ariana Tikao and Phillip Brownlee’s piece ‘Ko te Tātai Whetu’ arranged for chamber ensemble. I’m helping with the taonga puoro arrangements for this piece and performing several other works. Otago University have employed me as a researcher on a Marsden funded project that is looking at taonga puoro from Rekohu/Chatham Islands Māori and Moriori. We’ll be working on this over the next three years. Te Pari o Auahatanga is a project with five musicians. We travelled on the Whanganui River for four days composing along the way and then spent another four days recording our ideas. This Matariki I will be releasing an album of recordings of the taonga puoro I recorded in the U.K. THE ECHO OF THE STARS 16 June Wellington Museum 17 June Pataka Art + Museum Entry by koha chambermusic.co.nz/matariki2017