Handel’s Royal Fireworks Music was the first performance of this years’ Unwrap the Music series where the APO perform a famous and important piece of music accompanied by a talk to explain it more to give the learner a greater appreciation of the piece before listening to it.
In the stalls there was a bit of a different set-up, they had taken away the first few rows of seats and replaced with some small circular tables so that there was a more relaxed atmosphere which I thought was a nice touch. The orchestra were also dressed a bit more relaxed in plain black without ties.
I think the idea of this unwrapping the music is a brilliant way of giving the audience a better understanding of a piece, and I really valued what the speaker/presenter Marija Naumovska was saying throughout. It began with Marija giving a brief biography of Handel and how the fireworks music came to be.
The way the evening went was Marija would talk about a particular element of the piece, for instance the difference between a modern trumpet and a classic one and then the orchestra would play in both ways so that we could understand the point. After these discussions and point raising the APO played the full piece through so everyone in the audience could better appreciate the piece, after the introduction to it.
The music was gorgeous and very well played, particularly the oboes and the harpsichordist Rachel Fuller, ably and confidently led by NZ assistant conductor-in-residence Vincent Hardaker.
The other concerts in this series are Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and Haydn’s Military Symphony, and after this performance, I’m very excited for these two.