December 1-7: Including British pianist Freddy Kempf and horse whisperer Farah DeJohnette

by Fiona Rae / 29 November, 2012
Also warm-up DJs and Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo.

SATURDAY DECEMBER 1


Farah DeJohnette, Saturday Morning with Kim Hill, Saturday


Saturday Morning with Kim Hill (RNZ National, 8.10am). Only four programmes ’til Christmas. There’s a cheery thought. Today’s line-up includes horsewoman Farah DeJohnette, who is in New Zealand to hold horsemanship clinics, and technology consultant Richard Simpson, who was the keynote speaker at this year’s Digital Earth Summit in Wellington.

The Secret Life of the Warm-up DJ (RNZ National, 4.10pm). The programme that pokes around music’s secret places continues with a look at the ignored warm-up DJ, the disc-spinner who fills in the space before the main act. DJ Barnie Duncan talks with some of these intrepid souls who have paid their dues, including Tina Turntables and record store owner Cian O’Donnell.

SUNDAY DECEMBER 2


Composer of the Week (RNZ Concert, 9.00am today and weekdays, and 7.00pm Monday). RNZ Concert focuses on Joaquin Rodrigo (1901-99), the Spanish composer and virtuoso pianist who lost his sight at three after contracting diphtheria, but whose music was some of the most popular of the 20th century. Born in the ancient city of Sagunto in eastern Spain, Rodrigo began studying at eight and wrote his compositions in Braille. He is known for having raised the Spanish guitar to concert-level status, although he never mastered the instrument himself. His most famous work is Concierto de Aranjuez (see Monday), which was written following the miscarriage of his first child. He was awarded Spain’s highest award for composition in 1983 and raised into the nobility in 1991.

Opera on Sunday (RNZ Concert, 3.00pm). Today’s opera is Wagner’s Lohengrin, an opera that was indirectly responsible for the composer’s Ring Cycle. Lohengrin, first performed in 1850, so moved young King Ludwig II of Bavaria that he became Wagner’s patron, giving him the means and opportunity to compose and stage his epic work.

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 5


Appointment (RNZ Concert, 7.00pm). Martin Griffiths reintroduces an almost forgotten New Zealand son: Arnold Trowell, a cello prodigy who was 16 when he left Wellington in 1903 and who became professor of cello at London’s Guildhall and Royal College of Music. He published many pieces for cello, and may have been the first New Zealand-born composer to have his music publicly performed, recorded and commercially released. In tomorrow night’s Appointment (7.00pm), Elric Hooper and Des Wilson discuss next week’s composer, Debussy.

The New Jazz Archive (RNZ National, 11.06pm). The exploration of jazz in America this week looks at the unholy union of country music and jazz. Yes, that really happened.

FRIDAY DECEMBER 7


Music Alive (RNZ Concert, 8.00pm). The exuberant and youthful British pianist Freddy Kempf is the star attraction in a lovely concert of George Gersh-win, Leonard Bernstein and Dmitri Shostakovich, live from Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre. The evening includes Gershwin’s Second Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra; An -American in Paris; and Rhapsody in Blue, as well as Shostakovich’s Tahiti Trot.
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