NZSO marks Anzac Day with streaming of acclaimed NZ work

Moving and dramatic . . . Soprano Madeleine Pierard features in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra's performancew of Ross Harris' World War 1-themed work Symphony No.2, which will be streamed online on Anzac Day. PHOTO: VICTORIA CADISCH

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra will commemorate Anzac Day with a free streaming of its performance of New Zealand composer Ross Harris’ acclaimed Symphony No. 2.

Featuring soprano Madeleine Pierard, the work offers settings of poems by poet and author Vincent O’Sullivan in remembrance of New Zealand soldiers who were shot for desertion in World War 1.

Sullivan’s deeply felt descriptions of violence, love and tragedy are reflected in this moving and dramatic piece.

The streaming is a filmed performance of the NZSO’s 2016 concert at Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre, led by the principal conductor in residence Hamish McKeich.

Critics praised the concert as a “solid tour de force” and Pierard’s contribution “with a voice that blooms, sighs and offers dispassionate commentary”.

McKeich said, at the time, that Napier-born Pierard’s intensely expressive voice was ideal for this work.

“Madeleine has an exceptionally expressive voice and Harris’ Second Symphony was composed with her in mind,” he said.

The concert performance, in association with SOUNZ Centre for New Zealand Music, can be viewed from 3pm on Saturday, Anzac Day, at via smart TV, mobile phone, tablet or computer.

The Anzac Day streaming follows several popular livestream premieres by the NZSO throughout the Covid-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown.

It has included the weekly Play Our Part series with NZSO players and guests performing from their homes, a new series of education videos called Music Room, and previously filmed concert performances.

Tonight [Friday, April 24], at 6.30pm, the NZSO’s hit Shed Series of concerts will make its online debut with Heritage.

Orchestra players in their homes perform works by by Kiwi composers Jack Body and Salina Fisher, celtic rockers Wolfstone, and more.

This Sunday, April 26, at 4pm, the NZSO in association with Ryman Healthcare will present the second of its Discovering Beethoven series in celebration of the composer’s 250th birthday this year.

All performances are by NZSO players at home.