The Magnificent Seven ride again

A pound of pianists.

A pound of pianists.

FIVE KEYBOARDS, SEVEN PIANISTS: For the annual Queen’s Birthday weekend piano extravaganza, pianists Beverly Peach, Trish Tattle, Harnie Jo (atop the piano), Bronwen Holdsworth, Margaret Dunsmore (back) and Coralie Hunter will perform a selection of works for two or more hands. (Inset, Catherine Macdonald). Picture by Liam Clayton

Two pianos, including a new Toyo, harpsichord, keyboards and pipe organ will sing in the hands of the Magnificent Seven’s annual Queen’s Birthday Piano Extravaganza on Monday.

With performers Harnie Jo, Margaret Dunsmore, Coralie Hunter, Bronwen Holdsworth, Catherine Macdonald, Beverly Peach and Trish Tattle, the popular concert is now in its seventh year.

As in previous years, the extravaganza involves two to four or more combinations of pianists on keys. The emphasis is on fun and the pianists get to choose pieces they enjoy playing.

The seven pianists will this year be joined by a student team from Gisborne Girls’ High School when Sophie Roseman, Zoë van Wijk, Sabine Lapointe and Teegan Chamberlain will play Schubert’s much-loved Marche Militaire.

This is the name commonly given to the first of three Schubert marches, collectively known as the Marches Militaire, all composed for four hands.

The work is the first of the three which is often referred to as Schubert’s Marche Militaire that is more famous than the others, and the one that the young pianists will be playing. In popular culture, the composition was quoted in Walt Disney’s animated short Santa’s Workshop and an accordion arrangement of the piece was played as the theme music for a BBC Radio dramatisation of John le Carre’s A Small Town in Germany.

Schubert wrote the work as a piano duet but at the extravaganza it will be played in an arrangement for eight hands at two pianos.

This will be a preliminary run for the student musicians’ entry in the schools Chamber Music competition the following day.

Composed specifically for four hands, Bizet’s La Bal will be performed by Peach and Dunsmore.

The rest of the programme is made up of works arranged for four hands at one or two pianos. These include La Danza, a Neapolitan song popularised by Luciano Pavarotti, Carol Matz’s duets of St Louis Blues and Alexander’s Ragtime Band, and Youmans’ Tea for Two from the musical comedy No, No Nanette.

Making up the six hand repertoire are pieces from New Zealand composer Craig Utting’s Onslow College suite and an item reprised from the Choral Society’s recent concert of New Zealand works.

“With their vibrant and catchy rhythms these pieces make easy listening but take concentrated counting on the part of the performers,” says Macdonald.

Arrangements for eight hands at two pianos include waltzes the Valse Brillante by Moszkowski, written as a show piece for piano, and Diana, a parlour piece.

There is the finale from Saint Saens’ Algerian Suite, arranged for piano ensemble, and The Victor’s Return, the third march, discovered by Peach among music she had inherited from her grandmother.

Four Arkansas Travellers was written especially for eight hands at two pianos by American composer and arranger Kevin Olsen.

“You’ll recognise the tune,” says Macdonald.

You will also recognise the nursery rhyme tune that includes the line “One for the Dame”, to be performed in honour of one of the magnificent seven’s members . . .

Piano Extravaganza VII – Monday, 12.30pm. St Andrew’s Church. Koha entry

Two pianos, including a new Toyo, harpsichord, keyboards and pipe organ will sing in the hands of the Magnificent Seven’s annual Queen’s Birthday Piano Extravaganza on Monday.

With performers Harnie Jo, Margaret Dunsmore, Coralie Hunter, Bronwen Holdsworth, Catherine Macdonald, Beverly Peach and Trish Tattle, the popular concert is now in its seventh year.

As in previous years, the extravaganza involves two to four or more combinations of pianists on keys. The emphasis is on fun and the pianists get to choose pieces they enjoy playing.

The seven pianists will this year be joined by a student team from Gisborne Girls’ High School when Sophie Roseman, Zoë van Wijk, Sabine Lapointe and Teegan Chamberlain will play Schubert’s much-loved Marche Militaire.

This is the name commonly given to the first of three Schubert marches, collectively known as the Marches Militaire, all composed for four hands.

The work is the first of the three which is often referred to as Schubert’s Marche Militaire that is more famous than the others, and the one that the young pianists will be playing. In popular culture, the composition was quoted in Walt Disney’s animated short Santa’s Workshop and an accordion arrangement of the piece was played as the theme music for a BBC Radio dramatisation of John le Carre’s A Small Town in Germany.

Schubert wrote the work as a piano duet but at the extravaganza it will be played in an arrangement for eight hands at two pianos.

This will be a preliminary run for the student musicians’ entry in the schools Chamber Music competition the following day.

Composed specifically for four hands, Bizet’s La Bal will be performed by Peach and Dunsmore.

The rest of the programme is made up of works arranged for four hands at one or two pianos. These include La Danza, a Neapolitan song popularised by Luciano Pavarotti, Carol Matz’s duets of St Louis Blues and Alexander’s Ragtime Band, and Youmans’ Tea for Two from the musical comedy No, No Nanette.

Making up the six hand repertoire are pieces from New Zealand composer Craig Utting’s Onslow College suite and an item reprised from the Choral Society’s recent concert of New Zealand works.

“With their vibrant and catchy rhythms these pieces make easy listening but take concentrated counting on the part of the performers,” says Macdonald.

Arrangements for eight hands at two pianos include waltzes the Valse Brillante by Moszkowski, written as a show piece for piano, and Diana, a parlour piece.

There is the finale from Saint Saens’ Algerian Suite, arranged for piano ensemble, and The Victor’s Return, the third march, discovered by Peach among music she had inherited from her grandmother.

Four Arkansas Travellers was written especially for eight hands at two pianos by American composer and arranger Kevin Olsen.

“You’ll recognise the tune,” says Macdonald.

You will also recognise the nursery rhyme tune that includes the line “One for the Dame”, to be performed in honour of one of the magnificent seven’s members . . .

Piano Extravaganza VII – Monday, 12.30pm. St Andrew’s Church. Koha entry

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