Sounds of summer

by Fiona Rae / 27 December, 2008

SATURDAY DECEMBER 27

Music 101 Summer Edition with Kirsten Johnstone, Radio New Zealand National, 12.10pm. Johnstone has a packed programme today: at 12.30pm, Nick Dwyer will be In the Moog. He investigates the history of the Moog synthesiser and the creation of the Minimoog, a device that enables professional and amateur musicians to make any squiggly noise their hearts may desire. Dwyer interviewed the Moog's inventor, Robert "Bob" Moog, in Cape Town two years before his death, plus he meets some Kiwis who are into the Moog. At 1.10pm, music journos Grant Smithies and Duncan Grieve look back on the year, and at 3.05pm, there's a recording of the Headless Chickens' triumphant return, which took place at Auckland's Powerstation in November.

SUNDAY DECEMBER 28

Opera on Sunday, Radio New Zealand Concert, 3.00pm. Leoš Janá?ek's comic opera The Excursions of Mr Brou?ek has been largely neglected, but perhaps no longer. This recording by the BBC Symphony Orchestra is a 2008 Gramophone Award winner. "A new recording of this charming, madcap satire was unexpected and most welcome," said Gramophone magazine. "That it was of such superb quality was an added treat." The BBC Singers and orchestra are conducted by Ji?í B?lohlávek, and tenor Jan Vacík takes the title role.

Splore! 2008, Radio New Zealand Concert, 7.00pm. Sam Wicks had the tough job of going to this year's Splore, the biennial music festival in Tapapakanga Regional Park, one hour south of Auckland. The line-up featured Kora, Paddy Free, Epsilon Blue, Shapeshifter and the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra among others, and if you didn't like what was playing, there was always the swimming, visual arts, sculpture trails, film screenings and workshops.

MONDAY DECEMBER 29

Summer Report, Radio New Zealand National, 7.00am weekdays. Todd Niall presents ... Todd Niall's cycle trip on the Otago Central Rail Trail. Niall spent five days cycling the South Island route that has transformed communities along its way. In his six-part series, he includes 60-year-old archive interviews about the settlement of the Strath Taieri area, the Maniototo and Central Otago.

Summer Sonic, Radio New Zealand Concert, noon. Colin Dexter's enduring character Inspector Morse is known for his love of opera, cryptic crosswords and real ale; the ITV series was known for its use of Mozart, Schubert and Wagner and for Barrington Pheloung's theme spelling out "Morse" in Morse code. In today's Summer Sonic, Inspector Morse fan Adrienne Simpson looks at the use of music in the popular series.

Classic Concert, Radio New Zealand National, 3.06pm. Put the speakers out on the deck and crank them up for today's Classic Concert: Isle of Wight Festival, 1970. Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, the Who, Jethro Tull, Free and more. It was the end of the hippie-love times: within a month Hendrix would be dead, within the year, ditto Morrison. The festival got out of hand, with more than 500,000 freaks turning up. "It began as a beautiful dream," said promoter Ron Foulk, "but it has got out of control and become a monster." The Classic Concert line-up for the rest of the week is: Frampton Comes Alive (Tuesday), Bobby Darin at the Copacabana (Wednesday), Phoebe Snow (Thursday), and Creedence Clearwater Revival (Friday).

The Chess Records Hour Hosted by Marshall Chess, Radio New Zealand National, 11.06pm. With the release of a movie about Chess Records (Jeffrey Wright plays Muddy Waters, Beyoncé is Etta James), it's a good time to look at one of the greatest blues labels of all time. Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry, Sonny Boy Williamson and many others were recorded by Marshall Chess' father and uncle, Leonard and Phil. Marshall has access to the Chess vaults and has some stories to tell. This week, he features festive songs.

NEW YEAR'S EVE

New Year's Eve with Warwick Burke, Radio New Zealand National, 7.06pm. You need a veteran for the big jobs, and Warwick Burke is just the man to bring in 2009. He talks with the Kiwi who became boss of Sky Sport Japan, the piano shifter who captained rugby team Manu Samoa, a renowned opera singer, and the departing United States Ambassador.

FRIDAY JANUARY 2

Music Alive, Radio New Zealand Concert, 8.05pm. The Terem Quartet kicks off a series of 22 programmes recorded at Womad Taranaki 2008. They're an energetic foursome who are known for injecting new life into traditional Russian folk music. They play dorma (Russian lute), an accordion and a gigantic double-bass balalaika.

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