SATURDAY DECEMBER 8
Saturday Morning with Kim Hill (RNZ National, 8.10am). Hill’s guests today include All Black captain Richie McCaw, and “the second-best free band in Leigh”, the Pipi Pickers (who feature tech guru Nat Torkington on banjo), play favourites.
Music Alive (RNZ Concert, 8.00pm). This Chinese New Year concert recorded at Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre features soprano Jenny Wollerman and pianist John Chen. The NZSO are conducted by Perry So, and Chen performs one of China’s most beloved compositions, River Cantata, by Xian Xinghai. For the record, the next Chinese New Year isn’t until February.
SUNDAY DECEMBER 9
Composer of the Week (RNZ Concert, 9.00am today and weekdays, and 7.00pm Monday). RNZ Concert focuses on Claude Debussy (1862-1918), the French genius who created new concepts of musical time, structure, tonality and harmony. Born outside Paris, Debussy was the son of a shopkeeper and a seamstress, and had his first piano lessons at nine. By 10, he was admitted into the Paris Conservatoire. Hearing the Javanese gamelan at the 1889 Exposition Universelle opened his imagination, and by 1903 he was working on his masterpiece, La Mer (see Friday), a hybrid symphony and tone portrait featuring an array of motifs, textures and timbres. Many of his important works were influenced by literature, especially poetry, and by Asian art and artists such as Monet and Turner. He died from cancer in the final spring of World War I.
The Sunday Feature (RNZ Concert, 2.00pm). In the lead-up to Christmas, Brian Kay looks at Handel’s Messiah.
Blue Smoke: Heartland Hootenanny (RNZ National, 5.36pm). A new three-parter from Chris Bourke takes in recently restored recordings of early Kiwi pop. They include 78s from the Stebbing label; a recording made in the late 30s by Lou Paul; a Taranaki teen who recorded Blue Smoke before Pixie Williams; Haere Mai played honky-tonk style; and Johnny Devlin channelling Rolf Harris.
MONDAY DECEMBER 10
Big Year Interviews (Radio New Zealand National, 10.05am). Kathryn Ryan’s feature guests for the next two weeks go large, discussing the major events of the year. This week will feature physics researcher David Krofcheck, who was involved in the search for the Higgs boson; Tuhoe leader Tamati Kruger, who negotiated the historic $170 million settle ment with the Crown; and the country’s first dreadlocked bishop, Justin Duckworth, who is the Anglican Bishop of Wellington.
Blues City (RNZ National, 11.06pm). This week’s programme puts the country into the City: Britain, in fact, with a look at the likes of John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Cream, the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin.
WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 12
Appointment (RNZ Concert, 7.00pm). In May I Heave the Envelope Please? (that third word is not a mistake), Steve Danby looks at the greatest songs Oscar overlooked, including On the Good Ship Lollipop, which was not even nominated when the category of best song was introduced in 1934.