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Psalmus Hungaricus

Psalmus Hungaricus

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  • Sun 7 Jun ’15, 5:00pm – 6:45pm


Q Theatre, 305 Queen Street, Auckland CBD Show map


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • A Reserve: $53.00
  • B Reserve: $45.00
  • C Reserve: $38.00
  • D Reserve: $28.00

Featuring Bartok’s lively Rumanian Dances, the passionate Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No.5, Erzsebet Szonyi’s colourful Organ Concerto and the monumental Psalmus Hungaricus for tenor solo, chorus, children’s chorus and orchestra by Zoltan Kodaly. A rare programme of Hungarian classics: Ensemble Polymnia with Sarah Bisley (Conductor), David Hamilton (Tenor), Myles Hartley (Organ), Raymond Hawthorne (Narrator), the Aorangi Singers and the Junior Choristers of Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Following a magical performance in late 2014 of J.S. Bach’s great oratorio, the Mass in B minor to commemorate World War One, the Aorangi Singers join forces again with Ensemble Polymnia for this unique and exciting all-Hungarian classical concert.

No Hungarian programme would be complete without a work by the astounding twentieth century composer Bela Bartok, whose popular Rumanian Dances, based on Rumanian and east Hungarian folklore, form the upbeat of the evening.

Hungarian-born Ferenc (or Franz) Liszt was one of the greatest virtuosic pianist and composers of the Romantic period, as well as being a great teacher after whom Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest is named. We perform his soulful Hungarian Rhapsody No. 5 in E minor, arranged for symphony orchestra, with its heroic and elegiac melodies.

Before the interval is the New Zealand premiere of Erzsebet Szonyi’s Concerto per Organo e Orchestra, with organ soloist Myles Hartley. Professor Szonyi, 90 years of age, is a living link with Zoltan Kodaly and a force majeure in Hungarian musical life. She has been crowned with top prizes from the Hungarian state for her contribution to music education, based on the principles of Kodaly. As a composer she was a pupil of Nadia Boulanger, and the French influence in the Concerto is evident.

For the second half of the programme the Aorangi Singers enter the stage, beginning with Kodaly’s patriotic and mystical “Hymn to St Stephen the King” and the atmospheric “Evening”. The opening song is a supplication to Szent Istvan, the first Hungarian King who was crowned in 1,000 A.D. in Pozsony (Bratislava), and who converted Hungary to Christianity.

Our final work is the incredible Psalmus Hungaricus, composed by Zoltan Kodaly in 1923 and rarely heard in the Hungarian language (as it will be tonight) outside of its native country. We are excited to have the internationally acclaimed opera and lieder singer, David Hamilton, as our tenor soloist and the well-known actor and director, Raymond Hawthorne, as the narrator of the poems in English. Psalmus Hungaricus is an adaptation of Psalm 55 written (and probably played) by King David, and is the intense and outspoken expression of a nation torn by war and occupation for centuries, but with a rich musical folklore and a strong sense of cultural identity.

Proudly sponsored by Pub Charity Limited, the Heart of Community Funding.

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