Log In

Reset Password

Polka with pop at Piano Extravaganza

The air will be polka-dotted with popping balloons in the Balloon Pop Polka at the Piano Extravaganza IX concert on Monday.

The novelty item features among works performed in groups of two, three, four (or more) on one or two (or more) pianos. The Balloon Pop Polka though includes hatpins.

Gisborne pianists Chris Reynolds, Coralie Hunter, Dame Bronwen Holdsworth, Samantha Holdsworth, Catherine Macdonald, Andrew Lund, Beverley Peach, Trish Tattle, Tony Beattie and Gavin Maclean will perform works written for many hands.

The concert will also showcase two student groups made up of Joanna Burn, Monty Copeland, Nicolai Grant, William Hall, Sabine Lapointe, Rikki Noble, Ella O’Donnell-Light, Daisy Peterson, and Zoe van Wijk.

Five students and 12 balloons will perform Ruth Ellinger’s 1986 composition for pianos and balloons.

New Zealand composer Douglas K. Mews’ Pastorale and Polka have challenged Chris Reynolds’, Coralie Hunter’s and Macdonald’s skills.

“When Mews’ son, also Douglas, was in Gisborne earlier this year to accompany the Choral Society’s St John Passion he heard about the upcoming concert and offered his father’s music,” says Macdonald.

“We accepted with speed, joy and alacrity.

“Mews senior’s music is generally approachable and these lighthearted pieces are no exception.”

Among other works on the wide-ranging programme is German composer Wilhelm Ganz’s Qui Vive! Inspired not by a pop but the Galop, a lively country dance, Qui Vive! is scored for a piano duet and will be performed by Lund and Peach. The duo will also perform HM Russell’s 1878 work Witches Flight. Holdsworth and Peach will perform a jazz arrangement of Gershwin’s 1928 jazz song Embraceable You while duos Tattle and Hunter, and Reynolds and Macdonald will take on American contemporary composer Kevin Olson’s work for eight hands over two pianos, Rush Hour. The piano quartet uses percussive, syncopated rhythmic patterns with a “beep-beep” that recurs throughout the piece until the climatic traffic jam at the end.

Olson’s Out . . . Standing is another of the composer’s three pieces to be presented at Piano Extravaganza IX. The work is written for six hands and one piano and will be performed by Hunter, Tattle and Macdonald.

“Olson’s West Winds is an evocative piece, reflective of the gentle northern hemisphere west wind rather than the blustery gusts we get here,” says Macdonald.

True to tradition, the concert will finish with an ensemble performance of Percy Grainger’s arrangements of Country Gardens, which he wrote for several combinations.

“He intended they would be played together, so he’d be pretty pleased with us, we’re sure,” says Macdonald.

St Andrew’s Lunchtime Concert Series presents its ninth Piano Extravaganza. Ten pianists play two, three, four (and even more) at a time, on one or more pianos. St Andrew’s Church, Monday, 12.30pm. Tea/Coffee at door. Bring your lunch. Admission free/koha

PIANOS AND BALLOONS: Piano Extravaganza IX musicians (seated, left) Nicolai Grant, Ella O’Donnell-Light, Sabine Lapointe, Zoe van Wijk, Daisy Peterson, Joanna Burn and Monty Copeland. (Standing, left) Catherine Macdonald, Coralie Hunter, Trish Tattle, Beverley Peach, Chris Reynolds and Gavin Maclean. Missing from the line up of pianists for Monday’s concert that opens with the Balloon Pop Polka are Bronwen Holdsworth, Samantha Holdsworth, Andrew Lund and student William Hall. Picture supplied