30 Oct 2022

Philip Norman looks back on our earliest composers

From Standing Room Only, 12:31 pm on 30 October 2022
Philip Norman

Photo: supplied

When immigrants arrived in New Zealand in the Nineteenth Century, they brought with them some enthusiastic composers - or perhaps more accurately, musicians who composed on the side.

Their success rate was a bit hit or miss, according to composer and musicologist Philip Norman, who's about to deliver a talk about our early composers.  Certainly "God Defend New Zealand", "Waiata Poi", "Pokarekareana" and "Now is the Hour" were undoubtedly hits, but were they technically New Zealand hits?   

As well as his upcoming talk about early composers at a concert this afternoon, Philip is launching his new book -  A Complete Absence of Wit and Wisdom, a selection of his articles, lyrics and talks from five decades of writing about music.

Philip tells Lynn Freeman the earliest European composers to come to Aotearoa New Zealand were most likely the band masters of military bands:

Later today (30 October) Philip Norman conducts and comperes a show called Wit and Wisdom at The Piano in Christchurch.   Partly a concert with The Jubilate Singers to celebrate five decades of his choral compositions, it's also the launch of  A Complete Absence of Wit and Wisdom.