And so begins the culmination of Michael Houstoun’s Beethoven reCYCLE journey in 2013. Friday night in Wellington was the first of the final three concerts for the entire series. Who better to chronicle the beginning of the final three than Chamber Music New Zealand’s Chief Executive, Euan Murdoch…
Words cannot begin to express the admiration I have for Michael’s monumental achievement over the past year recycling all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas in more than forty concerts throughout New Zealand. He has committed to memory nearly 16 hours of some of the most complex, challenging and profound music ever written. And now we have entered the last part of the journey with three concerts that each conclude with one of the closing sonatas op 109, 110 and 111. We are delighted that all three concerts in Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre have attracted large audiences that would have sold out Wigmore Hall, just as they did last weekend in Auckland.
He performed on a raised platform in front of the stage that brought him closer to the audience who were seated only in the stalls. The podium was beautifully lit and this added to the intimacy and intensity of the whole experience.
Friday night’s programme five of the cycle featured the ‘Pathétique’ before the interval and concluded with Opus 109. His incredible technical facility, immaculate preparation and powerful projection enabled the music to be revealed to us in full technicolour. The musical structures and counterpoint remained fully in focus throughout the evening. From the first to the last note we were completely immersed in the occasion and experienced a rollercoaster of emotions.
As with all the carefully crafted programmes in reCYCLE, it was fascinating to be taken on a musical and stylistic journey from his second sonata Opus 2 No 2 (1794-5) through to his thirtieth sonata Opus 109 (1820) within a two hour concert. For me, the introspective way that this concert closed underlined the genius of both men that we stood as one to acknowledge, Herr Ludwig van Beethoven and Mr Michael Houstoun.
If you can make it along to hear the final two programmes on Sunday at 5pm and Monday at 7.30pm, or if you can tune in on Radio New Zealand Concert at 8pm to hear the final concert in reCYCLE…just do it!
– Euan, 10.11.2013
If you’re planning on taking Euan’s advice and coming along to the final concerts you can get the details here: http://www.chambermusic.co.nz/recycle