The programme includes Brahms, Messiaen and a new commission by Kiwi composer Ross Harris.
Brahms’ Trio for clarinet, cello and piano in A minor Op. 114 was one of the composer’s finest, Bliss said.
‘‘Everything Brahms wrote towards the end of his composing career was very reflective, looking back at his life with a lot of experience,’’ he said.
‘‘I think the trio is very much like that. It’s a beautiful piece, and I think the combination of the cello and clarinet and piano works very well. It’s a very nice sound and playing it with [NZTrio] is just so easy. It seems to work.’’
Quartet for the End of Time was written while French composer Messiaen was being held in a Nazi prisoner of war camp during World War 2. The challenging piece, about 55 minutes long, features three solo movements and premiered 75 years ago to an audience of prisoners and prison guards.
‘‘When you look at the circumstances in which it was written it seems to be a very dark piece of music, but actually it’s not like that to play.
‘‘You can’t help but think about the circumstances in which it was written and that does, of course, have an impact on how you play the piece and how you perceive it. There’s a bit of a journey for the audience. It’s a very moving piece.’’
There may be light by Ross Harris, was commissioned by Chamber Music New Zealand to complement the Messiaen.
‘‘It’s just a great piece and very, very different to everything else on the programme… We like it a lot.’’
Bliss will also work with young New Zealand musicians during his time in the country, conducting a masterclass in Wellington and judging the New Zealand Community Trust National Chamber Music Contest finals in Auckland next Friday and Saturday.
‘‘I’m told there’s a huge amount of talent here so it’ll be great to see and hear what you have to offer and it’s going to be very hard to pick a winner.’’
Bliss said the event should be a lot of fun.
‘‘It’s nice to be involved in that sort of thing and see the next generation of musicians coming up.’’
Now 27, Bliss has been playing clarinet since he was 4. He said it was something he did because he enjoyed it, and never really thought about having a career as a musician.
‘‘When I realised I could have a career doing something I loved it was a great moment — agreat feeling. And to get the opportunity to travel and play all over the world with great musicians, I couldn’t think of anything much better, to be honest.’’
Í Julian Bliss and NZTrio, Civic Theatre, Invercargill, Tuesday, August 2, 7.30pm. Book at Ticket-Direct.