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The New Zealand Herald Premier Series

Conductor Tadaaki Otaka
Piano Alessio Bax 

Ritchie Suite No.1 for Strings
Grieg Piano Concerto
Sibelius Symphony No.5 

Grieg’s genius for melody troubled him terribly. Improbable though it sounds, he found it hard to obey the official rules of form when all he wanted to do was write one delightful tune after another! 

Equally delightful is the Suite No.1 by the late Christchurch composer John Ritchie. This New Zealand classic is as fresh today as it was when Ritchie wrote it in 1956.

The crowning theme of Sibelius’s heroic Fifth Symphony came to the composer when he saw 16 swans flying in formation above the forests. Yet it emerges organically from the music, as if it has always been there.

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