Composer's birthday marked with special concert

Friday 17 August 2012, 3:41PM
By Massey University

The 150th birthday of composer Claude Debussy is to be marked by the New Zealand School of Music Orchestra with a special concert on August 22 that includes one of his best-loved works alongside a rarely heard work for piano and orchestra.

Debussy’s Prelude a l’apres-midi-d’un faune was described by Ravel as ‘the most perfect music’ and the Fantasie for Piano and Orchestra was a work never performed in the composer’s own lifetime.

NZSM lecturer Jian Liu will play the solo part during the Wellington Town Hall performance. The concert, conducted by Kenneth Young, will also feature a performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony 1 in D Major.

New Zealand School of Music events coordinator Stephen Gibbs says it was important that the orchestra, comprising students from throughout the school, continued to have the opportunity to play large concert-sized venues befitting such internationally renowned works.

He described Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faune as a work, which “epitomises the languid and sumptuous musical expression so closely associated with the French composer. This most popular of Debussy’s orchestral works launched a new era in musical composition, breaking with the prior conventions of western classical music.”

Mahler’s significance was that he took the symphonic form to new heights, Mr Gibbs says. “His symphonies are the Olympic events of the symphonic repertoire, so it is both an important and remarkable achievement that our students are presenting this work. They bring a wonderful fresh energy and commitment to the performance that will delight audiences.”

Te Koki New Zealand School of Music orchestra presents a concert on Debussy’s 150th birthday, 7.30pm Wednesday August 22, Wellington Town Hall. Ticket information from Ticketek.

Te Koki, New Zealand School of Music is a joint initiative of Massey University and Victoria University.