In the early 1980s the Kontarsky brothers were due to give a duet concert in the Palmerston North Opera house on the Opera House Steinway. Guy Donaldson persuaded mayor Brian Elwood to shift the city’s Grotrian Steinweg piano from the Mayoral Chambers to the Opera House so that the programme could be upgraded to the alternative piano duo concert.
And so these two instruments met for the first time. Much has happened in Palmerston North’s music life, and it so happens that both these instruments are now housed at the Globe Theatre. So on August 25, in a concert given at the Globe Theatre by pianists Christine Archer- Lockwood and Guy Donaldson these two pianos will once again be heard together in a programme featuring Mozart’s concerto for two pianos.
The double concerto was composed in 1779, and it is presumed that Mozart wrote it to play with his sister Nannerl In Adolf Ruthart’s transcription, the two pianos also play the orchestral material while retaining the integrity of the piano writing.
The concert opens with the opening movement from Bach’s concerto in C minor for two harpsichords. Bach’s harpsichord concertos are among the first concertos for keyboard instrument ever written. The original string parts are again incorporated into the piano parts in this arrangement.
The remainder of the programme features works written in the twentieth century. Astor Piazzolla was an Argentine tango composer. Adiós Nonino (Farewell, Grand-daddy) was written in 1959 when Piazzolla was on a tour of Central America and received news of the death of his father, Vicente Piazzolla, nicknamed Nonino, in a bicycle accident. The piece evokes a strong sense of nostalgia.
Francis Poulenc and Darius Milhaud were both members of a group of French composers designated as The Six. In line with their philosophy of Dadaism Poulenc’s short sonata contains both barbarous elements and naïve child-like melodies. Milhaud’s suite Scaramouche was named after the Theatre Scaramouche company for which Milhaud had written a children’s show called The Flying Doctor. This is a tongue in cheek work featuring pianistic brilliance along with the same child-like naivety as found in the Poulenc piece. It finishes with a rumba movement Brazileira which has become famous outside of this work itself.
Christine Archer-Lockwood was born and educated in Palmerston North and returned to the city last year. Her piano teachers were Beryl Bartlett (PNth) and Judith Clark (Wellington). She gained an Honours degree in Piano Performance at Victoria University of Wellington, post graduate diplomas in teaching (Wellington) and music therapy (London), and a Masters in Music Therapy at Massey University, Wellington).
Christine’s professional life has been as a primary school teacher; a music therapist in special education, early intervention, and private practice; a chamber musician, an accompanist, piano teacher, music theatre director, and conductor of choirs and orchestras.
In 2017 for the Regional Theatre Awards she was nominated for best musical director for Levin’s Little Theatre production of Spamalot. She was one of two pianists for the Renaissance Singers’ Carmina Burana, and is now music director of the Renaissance Singers.
Guy Donaldson received his formative piano instruction from Maurice Collier, and then at Canterbury University with Maurice Till. In 1984 he studied in London with Paul Hamburger and Roger Vignoles. Guy was a senior lecturer in music education at Massey until 2004, when he took leave to pursue his passion for performance and music teaching. He is active in the Manawatu as a teacher, adjudicator, piano soloist, accompanist, chamber music player and music coach, and was until this year music director of the Renaissance Singers.