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Sila: The Breath of the World

March 6, 2016

John Luther Adams
Sila: The Breath of the World
Performed by Wellington Orchestra
Civic Square, 5pm, March 5th, 2016


Imagine if you were commissioned to write a work for orchestra that had to be:

  • about an hour long,
  • performed outdoors in a public space, without a conductor,
  • be immune to random city noise, people wandering around and talking, and
  • could grab the interest of people who just happen to be passing through, regardless of when they arrive.

Maybe these requirements would lead you inevitably to composing this exact piece?

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Miyata-Yoshimura-Suzuki Trio

March 3, 2016

St Andrew’s on the Terrace
28 February 2016
As the programme pointed out, this was ‘real Festival fare’: three masterful Japanese musicians demonstrating what their instruments can do in traditional and modern repertoire. The trio consisted of Tosiya Suzuki (recorder) Mayumi Miyata (sho) and Nanae Yoshimura (koto).

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Dancing Dreams: In the Footsteps of Pina Bausch

February 28, 2016

Directed by Rainer Hoffmann and Anne Linsel, 2010.
City Gallery Auditorium
February 28 2016
Event page

After Friday’s ballet bonanza and with tickets booked for Pina Bausch’s Rite of Spring right at the end of the festival, a free screening of a documentary about dance seemed like a great idea.

And great idea it was! ‘Dancing Dreams’ was the best kind of art documentary, giving ample demonstration of why art is important, and the value that performing can have for anyone, regardless of whether they are the greatest in the world or even trying to be.

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Speed of Light

February 28, 2016

Royal New Zealand Ballet
St James Theatre, February 26th 2016

Andonis Foniadakis: Selon d├ęsir (2004).
William Forsythe: In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated (1987).
Alexander Ekman: Cacti (2010).

Seeing three NZ premiere works in great performances is what the Festival should be all about. So the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s contribution to the festival delivered stunningly! I’m a ballet newbie really and this programme seemed like an ideal demonstration of what modern dance could be and the effects it could have on the audience.

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Monteverdi’s Vespers

February 27, 2016

Monteverdi: Vespers
Concerto Italiano
Michael Fowler Centre, 27 February 2016

Monteverdi published ‘Sanctissimae virgini missa senis vocibus ad ecclesiarum choros ac vesperae pluribus decantandae cum nonnullis sacris concentibus, ad Sacella sive Principium Cubicula accommodata’ aka his Vespers in 1610. The most likely explanation for the work is that it was a compendium of all the different types of sacred vocal and instrumental music that Monteverdi was skilled at, with the idea that it could get him a more exciting position than his place in the Mantua court. It seems to have worked: he ended up in Venice, overseeing the basilica of San Marco, and he stayed there until his death.

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New Zealand Festival 2016

February 27, 2016

I’ve decided I’m going to write reviews of everything I see at the festival. So watch out.

Miscellaneous poetry

July 15, 2015

Here’s a bunch of random poetry that I’m uploading ‘to the cloud’ so that it is available for all eternity.
Poem written while walking home from Bryndwyr to Yaldhurst for some reason

Slap my drunk shins with your windblown mailers
As you the greedy sun goes to swallow up the stars
Just because you are the closest
And I could walk forever and still be in the beautiful suburbs where space feels so cheap
But there are so many wonderful humans in this patch
That distance and elevation are easily forgotten
The walk home equals one times the latest drake album and ten or so passing taxis
And one Facebook poem about what home is

(Christchurch, 21/12/2014)

Two short poems about being back in Christchurch

The houses and the people who are inside their dark interiors
I’m sure they’re as interesting in Addington as they are in Kelburn

But they feel much less alive because the willing trees have no wind to dance with

The blenheim road over bridge
Used to be that one bastard climb home
Now it’s a feeble imitation of a natural hill(Christchurch, 11/1/15)


Attempted screamo lyric

Our passion could have burned this city bare
Blackened and dead
Nothing left but bonded hearts
You had the flame and I had the fuel
Did you turn your light away or did I forget to tend the spark

I forgot what you said and I forgot to care
Began cleaning up
Too afraid of mistakes for a new start
Bodies and words blocking the heat
Better to say nothing than admit it was my defeat

Scorch away my dead ugly love
And sow new seeds
Into the ash of my memories
Shooting for the sun we missed
Our aim was lost when we first closed our eyes and kissed

(Wellington, 17/1/15)


How to tell if you had a good night

Did you answer honestly all questions honestly asked of you?
Did you realise every time some tricksy bastard was asking you something
And therefore answer ironically so as to not support their efforts?
When a beat dropped, did you dance unselfconsciously?
Did you eat Burger King if and only if you were really hungry?
Don’t forget to smile at all the pretty people who smile at you.
Enthusiastic promotion of great works of art experienced by yourself to others who have sadly not enjoyed them can’t possibly be a waste of time.
Introducing yourself to others who sit over there and look cool is not as hard as it seems and is a good way to earn bonus points.
Without any wind or rain to clean the filth away this summer I hope you tried
To keep all the nice people safe and satisfied

(Wellington, 1/2/2015)