SATURDAY MARCH 3
Surf City/Beach Pigs, Recorded Live at Roundhead Studios (95bFM, 11.00am and Friday, 2.00pm). Auckland quartet Surf City play “backwards-looking New Zealand rock” with strong echoes of the Clean and the Chills, despite their Mt Roskill roots. Not sure if those 80s bands would have got away with calling one of their songs Dickshakers Union, although the person dressed up as a bear in the accompanying video would have fitted right in. Beach Pigs are another suburban Auckland quartet whose music was dubbed “polite punk” by one reviewer. Main reason: they don’t take themselves too seriously. Check out the restrained splatter video for No Work, in which the boys reimagine an actual event where Dahnu the vocalist injured himself at work. There will be live streaming and podcasts on 95bfm.com; see below for video of Surf City.
Four Titans (Radio New Zealand National, 4.10pm). Two shows, four game-changers and unlimited musical clout: part one of this two-part programme about four of the biggest names in popular music production begins today. Trevor Horn, Bootsy Collins, Tony Visconti and Nile Rodgers were part of the line-up at last year’s Red Bull Music Academy event in Madrid: this two-week “superworkshop” gives young musical talents a chance to learn from some of the industry’s greats and takes place in a different city each year. First up, Horn and Collins talk about their lives in music. Horn is the mastermind behind such names as Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Grace Jones, ABC and Malcolm McLaren, and formed his own band, the Art of Noise. Despite having a name that makes him sound like a cat, bass player Bootsy Collins is widely believed to be one of the funkiest people on the planet and has cemented this reputation playing with James Brown, George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic and other groovy individuals.
SUNDAY MARCH 4
Composer of the Week (Radio New Zealand Concert, today and weekdays 9.00am, and Monday 7.00pm). In the first Composer of the Week for 2012, RNZ Concert presents two weeks of music to mark the 150th anniversary of Claude Debussy’s birth. Debussy ((1862-1918) and Maurice Ravel were two of the most prominent figures in music’s impressionist movement, although Debussy hated having his work labelled and confined in this way. He is unquestionably one of the most important of all French composers, and a central figure in European music of the turn of the 20th century, his music virtually defining the transition from late-Romantic to 20th-century modernistic. In French literary circles, the style of this period was known as symbolism – a movement that directly inspired Debussy both as a composer and as an active cultural participant. Debussy’s musical output consists mostly of works for ballet, voice, keyboard or orchestra. Frequently not settling around one key or pitch but moving restlessly onwards, his music combined modernism and sensuality to produce works whose beauty sometimes obscured their technical innovation. Their tranquillity masked a turbulent private life punctuated by a series of affairs: he was prone to depression brought about, it’s thought, by trauma suffered during childhood that he never discussed. It’s said he couldn’t compose unless he had his favourite porcelain frog with him. Debussy was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1903. It’s not known whether the frog was present at the time.
Spectrum (Radio New Zealand National, 12.15pm). If chanting and drumming sessions, sleeping in a yurt and living on watercress soup sound like your cup of organic chamomile tea, the sound garden workshop in Okuti Valley on Banks Peninsula might just fit the bill. In Planting the Seeds of Sound, Deborah Nation meets Courtenay Stickels, a sound-therapy devotee who received the “divine awakening” in India and now passes on the power of the voice to others. Leave your coconut-fibre sandals and inhibitions at the door …
MONDAY MARCH 5
Music Alive (Radio New Zealand Concert, 8.00pm). This is a bit like the Rolling Stones coming to town: one of the world’s most respected chamber ensembles is playing in New Zealand for the first time. In Serenata Italiana, direct from the Auckland Town Hall, I Musici play a programme featuring works by their countrymen: Rossini, Donizetti, Paganini, Bossi, Respighi, Rota – plus a piece composed especially for the ensemble, marking their 60th birthday, by contemporary Argentinian composer Luis Bacalov. That’s right: 60. I Musici, who are also appearing as part of Wellington’s New Zealand International Arts Festival, formed in 1952, which makes them one of the longest-running chamber music groups on the planet. A bit like the Rolling Stones …
TUESDAY MARCH 6
Nine to Noon with Kathryn Ryan (Radio New Zealand National, 10.06am). As we’ve discovered in recent times, quiet, prim little Norway has its share of nutters. Fortunately, a lot of Norwegians seem to channel their more disturbing visions into literature, and this morning Ryan meets novelist Jo Nesbø – the man being touted as “the next Stieg Larsson”. Larsson, who wrote the trilogy that began with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, was Swedish, but put Scandinavia on the thriller-writing map. Nesbø has sold more than 11 million books worldwide and is here to promote his latest book, Phantom, and the release of the film Headhunters, based on one of his novels. He’s appearing at the International Arts Festival Writers & Readers Week in Wellington. (For our February 11 interview with Nesbø, see www.listener.co.nz.)
THURSDAY MARCH 8
Appointment (Radio New Zealand Concert, 7.00pm). In tonight’s programme, Hohepa: The Making of an Opera, Amelia Nurse tracks the progress of Jenny McLeod’s new opera, which is receiving its world premiere at the New Zealand International Arts Festival on March 15. The NBR New Zealand Opera production follows the true story of young Maori chief Hohepa Te Umuroa and his friendship with a Pakeha couple, Thomas and Jane Mason, in the Hutt Valley in the 19th century. Caught up in the foment of the New Zealand Wars, Hohepa is sentenced to hard labour and a life sentence in Tasmania where he again meets Thomas Mason in very different circumstances. Hohepa stars Phillip Rhodes in the title role, with fellow Kiwis Jonathan Lemalu, Deborah Wai Kapohe, Jenny Wollerman and Martin Snell.