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Orchestra Wellington release epic 2019 programme and live double vinyl LP

Orchestra Wellington have released what music director Marc Taddei is calling an “epic” programme of monumental classical works for 2019, alongside the first New Zealand independently produced classical vinyl release in 30 years.

Marc Taddei describes each of the works in the programme as a “monument” of classical music, “introducing developments so important that the history of music is inconceivable without them”.

Included on the Epic 2019 season from New Zealand’s longest running and most well-attended regional orchestra, are two of the mightiest works to come out of the cauldron of the Second World War.

Aaron Copland’s 3rd Symphony includes his ever-popular Fanfare for the Common Man, and Shostakovich’s eighth symphony, written during the darkest days of the conflict, was premiered just as the tide was beginning to turn in the Allies’ favour.

Hector Berlioz’s opium-fuelled spectacular Symphonie Fantastique, with its march to the scaffold and witches Sabbath, fills out another concert, while lovers of the music of Vienna will thrill to the pairing of Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony, with Bruckner’s apocalyptic eighth.

The orchestra’s favourite pianist, Michael Houstoun, returns to perform Samuel Barber’s piano concerto.

Barber’s cello concerto will also be performed during the season, by guest soloist Lev Sivkov, in a concert rounded off by the greatest music ever written to accompany visual images, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

Wellington Orchestra leader and violinist Amalia Hall. Photo by Scottie Peng.

Orchestra leader Amalia Hall will perform Barber’s violin concerto in a solo appearance, and will also take on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in a concert that includes its 20th Century re-working as Four Seasons of Buenos Aires by the Argentinian master of tango, Astor Piazzolla.

In a taster for the 2019 season, the orchestra have released the new double disc vinyl recording, Orchestra Wellington – LIVE, the first New Zealand independently produced classical vinyl release (apart from soundtrack and accompaniments) in 30 years.

It’s the brainchild of Orchestra Wellington marketing manager Marek Peszynski, a former record store clerk, nightclub DJ and event promoter with two decades of music industry experience. Since coming onboard part time in 2013, his role has grown to oversee a series of unique projects that have maintained the spirit of Orchestra Wellington while exposing the orchestral experience to new audiences: producing two sold-out live renditions of the soundtrack to Disney film Moana with South Pacific ensemble Te Vaka, building the groundbreaking Virtual Reality Conductor Experience, and playing a part in successful regional performances in Wellington, Lower Hutt and Porirua Park with international singing sensations SOL3 Mio.

Last December, as part of their partnership with RNZ Concert, Orchestra Wellington made live recordings of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 21 and ‘Symphony No. 3 in E-Flat major, Op. 55 ‘Eroica,’ at the Michael Fowler Centre.

A review of the concert in the Dominion Post, said, “We knew that the orchestra was sure footed in music of the period and the playing here was superbly stylish from all sections. The result was the finest ‘Eroica’ I have heard for a very long time.”

The concert recordings will be available on compact disc, but have been given an extra splash with the vinyl release, presented on 180 gram red and white coloured vinyl as a double LP in a firm gatefold cover.

With sales at the highest point since 1985, vinyl is currently experiencing a global renaissance, and classical music is one of the fastest growing genres within this boom.

After opening the door into the home audiophile world with Orchestra Wellington – LIVE, the orchestra hope to begin pairing up traditional recordings contemporary pieces from the pool of local composers they work with for future vinyl releases.

“Imagine Mozart or Dvorak on one side, paired with a Claire Cowan, Simon Eastwood, or Leila Adu compositions on the flip,” said Peszynski.

“The timing is right. It’s a great time for vinyl lovers, and a great time for new experiences with orchestral music.”

Full content and sales details for the album and the Epic 2019 season can be found at the Orchestra Wellington website.