Review: New Zealand Symphony premieres score marking 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s arrival

Posted on: June 28, 2018

“Celebration was in the air as the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra set off with Gareth Farr’s new He iwi tahi tatou, commissioned to mark the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s arrival in this country,” writes William Dart in Wednesday’s (6/27) New Zealand Herald. “Although not without its subtle, gamelan-inspired textures, Farr has fashioned a big, flashy ceremonial offering here, much of it driven by relentless snare-drum. He may profess that his piece is less complicated than the political implications of its title (translated ‘we are all one people’—Hobson’s greeting to Maori at Waitangi) but perhaps some might hear murmurs of darker issues lying under its vibrant optimism. Having dispensed Farr with the same gusto that he gave to so much Latin American music during his tenure with Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, [conductor] Miguel Harth-Bedoya was intent to stress the gravitas of Brahms’ Violin Concerto. The spry soloist, Stefan Jackiw, roved the work’s expansive first movement, exploring every thematic nook and cranny with his orchestral colleagues … Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony took the evening to a rousing climax as Harth-Bedoya, conducting without a score, knows just how to fire up an old warhorse.”

Posted June 28, 2018