SATURDAY MAY 19
Dictaphone Blues/Heart Attack Alley Recorded Live at Roundhead Studios (95bFM, 11.00am and Friday, 2.00pm). Another chance to hear the sessions by cheerful popsters Dictaphone Blues, who are not very bluesy at all, and Auckland three-piece Heart Attack Alley, who are. There will be live streaming and podcasts at 95bfm.com.
A Flat City: Voices of Christchurch Music (RDU98.5FM, 2.00pm). The 13-episode documentary about musicians in Christchurch after the quakes ends with RDU itself. The station’s studio was destroyed on February 22, but an undeterred RDU staff rustled up a 1980s Mitsubishi Canter horse truck and it has been refurbished into a fully functioning radio station dubbed the RDUnit. The on-air studio is in the front and production is in the back and the truck can convert into a stage. Talk about a pop-up. RDU directors James Meharry and Karyn South, production engineer Nik Coulter and breakfast host Joshua “Spanky” Moore feature.
Live: The Clean (Radio New Zealand National, 4.10pm). Flying Nun’s 30th anniversary is the gift that keeps on giving – here’s a recording of one of the Clean’s celebratory local performances last year. Engineer Andre Upston did the honours at Auckland’s King’s Arms. Tally ho, then.
Music Alive (Radio New Zealand Concert, 8.00pm). RNZ Concert begins a week of New Zealand music with a concert of … Smetana, Sibelius, Harris, Tchaikovsky and Brahms. But wait, it’s the NZSO’s 2010 Hamburg performance, featuring US violin prodigy Hilary Hahn. Makes you proud. They’re playing their music over there!
SUNDAY MAY 20
Composers of the week (Radio New Zealand Concert, 9.00am today and weekdays, and 7.00pm Monday). Radio New Zealand Concert marks New Zealand Music Week with a special programme of works featuring traditional Maori instruments. Naturally, the week features our foremost exponents of taonga puoro, Richard Nunns and Hirini Melbourne (right), as well as pre-eminent composer Gillian Whitehead, who often writes works for taonga puoro.
Extended Play: The Classic Flying Nun EPs (95bFM, 11.00am). The Pin Group, Flying Nun’s first signing, produced just two singles and an EP and were often compared to Joy Division – most likely because of lead singer Roy Montgomery’s Ian Curtis-like baritone and a certain murky droning quality to the music. (In what is now folklore, the EMI shop in Christchurch, where Montgomery worked, was spray-painted one night with the words “Roy Division”.) On The Pin Group Go to Town, guitarist and singer Montgomery, bassist Ross Humphrey and drummer Peter Stapleton reworked their first single, Ambivalence, and recorded the classics Long Night, Power, When I Tell You and A Thousand Sins. In this episode of the series brought to you by 95bFM, NZ On Air and the Listener, Montgomery and Stapleton, with Christchurch contemporaries Bruce Russell and Arnie van Bussel, tell the story of recording the EP.
Spectrum (Radio New Zealand National, 12.15pm). Turakina isn’t usually thought of as a hotbed of haggis-eating – leave that to Dunedinites – but every year since 1864 the settlement has been celebrating its Gaelic roots by rolling a gird and cleek, hopping the scotch and enjoying the cock of the beam. Whatever those things are. Amelia Nurse went along to experience the 148th Turakina Highland Games where, of course, there is caber tossing and highland dancing, and the wail of the bagpipes.
Opera on Sunday (Radio New Zealand Concert, 3.00pm). The immensely popular La Traviata is today’s opera from the Met, and the immensely popular Natalie Dessay is Violetta, Verdi’s fallen woman. It is the first time she has performed the role at the Met, and she impressed the New York Times. “In the final act her performance of Addio, del passato was mellifluous and achingly real,” said critic Anthony Tommasini. Tenor Matthew Polenzani, who plays Alfredo, “sang beautifully all night”.
MONDAY MAY 21
Music Alive (Radio New Zealand Concert, 8.00pm). A super-sized NZSO, recorded live at Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre, follow the baton of legendary American conductor and violinist David Zinman in Strauss’s Alpine Symphony. It’s a work requiring more than 100 musicians and multiple extra instruments, including a wind machine, to tell the story of mountaineers on a stormy climb of the Swiss Alps.
FRIDAY MAY 25
Music Alive (Radio New Zealand Concert, 8.00pm). RNZ Concert caps off a week of New Zealand music with a live broadcast from the Wellington Town Hall of Made in New Zealand. Hamish McKeich conducts the NZSO and the NZSQ in Lyell Cresswell’s Concerto for Orchestra and String Quartet; Chris Cree Brown’s Celestial Bodies; and Gillian Whitehead’s Alice, an eight-movement melodrama for mezzo-soprano and orchestra. The lovely Helen Medlyn is the soloist.
Leonard Cohen – Old Idea for New Friends Radio Special (Radio New Zealand National, 11.06pm). The master poet and songwriter grants a rare interview for this special presented by WFUV radio host Rita Houston. Cohen discusses how he finds the imagery for his songs, and the way the songs are produced, which is like manna from heaven for the rest of Houston’s guests. In a Cohen lovefest, artists such as Deerhunter’s Nicole Atkins and Bradford Cox, Cold War Kids’ Nathan Willett, and the New Pornographers’ AC Newman talk about how Cohen’s music has influenced theirs.