Orchestra brings baroque south

In concert: New Zealand Symphony Orchestra members perform. Photo: Supplied

THE New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) will perform a selection of works from the baroque era in Invercargill on August


Extravaganza will feature works by 17th century baroque masters Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Pietro Locatelli and Jean-Baptiste Lully, groundbreaking composer Claude Bablon and Romantic era violin virtuoso Niccolo Paganini.

Directed by NZSO concertmaster Vesa-Matti Leppanen and featuring assistant concertmaster and first violinist Yuka Eguchi, Extravaganza will also be performed in Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch, Nelson and Blenheim in August.

“I am thrilled to be playing two solo caprices by Paganini in the upcoming Extravaganza concert tour. I am sure audiences will enjoy the synergy between Locatelli and Paganini,” Eguchi said.

Italian composer and musician Locatelli is considered one of the first virtuoso violinists, who extended what the instrument could do. Extravaganza highlights Locatelli’s technical flair with two short pieces of music, known as caprices, from his Art of the Violin.

Inspired by Locatelli, the 18th and 19th century violinist Paganini wrote 24 Caprices for Solo Violin.

Among Italian-born French composer Lully’s many achievements, he was a major composer of comedie-ballet, a genre which fused a traditional comedic play with large chunks of music and dance.

Extravaganza will feature several works from Lully, including Monsieur de Pourceaugnac, with text by his frequent collaborator, French playwright Moliere.

Fellow Frenchman Charpentier, who also worked with Moliere, was considered the most important French composer of his generation. Extravaganza features several of his works, including the revered Te Deum.

The concert will open with a timpani work by Claude Bablon, written for the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV. It is one of the first pieces of music written for the timpani drum as a solo instrument and in Extravaganza it will be performed by NZSO section principal timpani Laurence Reese.

The NZSO concert will be performed at Invercargill’s Civic Theatre, Tay St, on Tuesday, August 23. Tickets are available through Ticketek.