Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra: Unwrap the Music- Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5

15 Apr

It is no secret that I am deeply passionate about making the arts feel more accessible, and while I have pushed this agenda with respect to cinema, I have always harboured a deep, dark personal secret: classical music makes me quake in my boots. It’s not that I don’t like classical music, far from it, as a child Fantasia was the most captivating film I’d ever seen, or rather, listened to. But my limited understanding of the music embarrassed me too greatly to even think of attending a concert, and the sheer volume of listening material left me feeling overwhelmed.

Thankfully, the APO have come to the aide of novice listeners like myself with their brilliant Unwrap the Music series. Each concert sees conductor Graham Abbott break down a well known classical work into bite sized pieces, explaining some of the composition and history of the piece in an readily accessible manner, before integrating the short bursts back into a larger movement. Clocking in at just over an hour, and peppering the evening with a healthy dose of family friendly humour, Unwrap the Music is the perfect way to dip your toe in.

With this in mind I set off on my own odyssey into the world of classical music, taking in the APO’s Unwrap session of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. What was immediately apparent was just how much people love classical music. The Auckland Town Hall hummed with excited energy. From the little girl toying with her father’s binoculars to the woman wearing a belt adorned with little saxophones- these people loved their music and their enthusiasm was infectious. Once the orchestra filed in I was brimming with anticipation, but I could never have predicted just how amazing the performance would actually be.

Abbott was a captivating host, engaging and affable, clearly well versed in explaining the finer nuances of Beethoven’s work. To say that the APO were brilliant would be a gross understatement, their playing filled the hall with a sound so full and rich one truly has to experience it to believe it. In that one performance, Auckland’s world-class orchestra converted me into a would-be classical music lover, a sentiment shared by many that evening. And what of Beethoven’s music?  Anthony Burgess perhaps put it best when he wrote “Oh, bliss! Bliss and heaven! Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh”.



The APO’s next Unwrap the Music concert takes place on Wednesday 26th June and explores Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto 1.

For ticketing information visit:


One Response to “Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra: Unwrap the Music- Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5”

  1. sharedblogg April 15, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    Beethoven is amazing! Have you heard any of his other symphonies? I recommend his 6th and 9th.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: