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Podcast Classics for Friday 1 January 2016

Maurice Ravel (1875 -1937)

Maurice Ravel on the balcony of his house in Montfort l'Amaury

Maurice Ravel on the balcony of his house in Montfort l'Amaury Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Piano Concerto in G

The piano was Ravel's favourite instrument, and of his two piano concertos, the Piano Concerto in G was, in his opinion, "more Ravelian". Completed in 1931, the sensations this work conjures up, right from the beginning, are brightness and boundless energy.  The piano takes us on a journey through bursts of light to magical and mysterious moments of repose with the composer fully employing the instrument's expressive potential and sonorities. Ravel's masterful orchestration displays his interest in jazz, and includes trombone glissandi and other effects.

RNZ Concert’s Upbeat reviewer Rachel Hyde couldn’t speak more highly of this 2014 performance from Orchestra Wellington. As for the guest soloist Jian Liu,she said  he was “all over the notes” in Ravel’s virtuosic Piano Concerto in G. But more importantly, he communicated the lyricism of the music with “beautiful lines.” The fusion of styles we find in Ravel’s masterpiece were also handled brilliantly while still conveying that essential ”French sound,” with its simplicity and transparency.

Listen to Rachel Hyde’s review on Upbeat.



Jian Liu, piano

Jian Liu

Jian Liu Photo: Te Koki, New Zealand School of Music

Jian Liu has been gaining reputation as a well sought-after solo pianist, chamber musician, and educator across the globe. He has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. His artistry has been taking him to some of the most prestigious concert halls, including Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall in New York, Rose Hall of Lincoln Center, Sprague Hall and Woolsey Hall of Yale University, and Paul Hall of Julliard School, and as a featured soloist with orchestras including Symphony Orchestra of National Philharmonic Society of Ukraine, Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, and Yale Philharmonia, among others.

Read complete biography
Notes: Te Koki, New Zealand School of Music



Marc Taddei, conductor

Marc Taddei

Marc Taddei Photo: Simon Clark

Marc Taddei was appointed Music Director of Orchestra Wellington in 2007, and his zest for creating engaging, erudite and innovative programmes, combined with his close audience connection has won for him an unsurpassed public following and continuing critical acclaim.

Marc frequently conducts every professional orchestra in New Zealand and regularly works with the national ballet and opera companies and the International Festival of the Arts. Outside of NZ, Marc is routinely re-invited to guest conduct the major Australian orchestras and returns every year to conduct in the US, recently for his debut conducting the New York City Ballet in late 2012. He made his debut with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra in May 2013 and returned to conduct the New York City Ballet in October.

Complete biography

Image:Simon Clark
Notes: Orchestra Wellington

Orchestra Wellington

Orchestra Wellington

Orchestra Wellington Photo: Supplied

While Orchestra Wellington has only been operating as an independent brand since 2013, the Wellington Regional Orchestra Foundation Inc. has been presenting concerts for more than 60 years in the Region, making it the oldest city-based orchestra in the country. The Orchestra plays an extensive role in the cultural life of Wellington City and the wider region, presenting its own Subscription Series concerts, family and educational concerts and a developing array of outreach and community development activity. In addition to this, Orchestra Wellington engages in accompaniment services for the Royal New Zealand Ballet, NZ Opera and several other national and regional arts bodies and plays for up to 100,000 people each year in Wellington, the lower North Island and the upper tip of the South Island.

Complete biography

Notes: Orchestra Wellington
Producer: David McCaw
Engineer: Graham Kennedy