Best Classical Album - 2008 NZ Music Awards
This album has been remastered and is now reissued in a special edition hard-cover pack with an accompanying DVD. Michael Houstoun: New Zealand Pianist is a detailed and illuminating document of Michael recording and discussing the music on INLAND. Directed by Keith Hill for Attar Productions
A household name in New Zealand for over 35 years, Michael Houstoun is especially visible currently as an Arts Foundation Laureate. Featuring evocative, imaginative and accessible repertoire that spans a range of styles, Inland reaches out beyond Michael Houstoun’s historic concert hall audience.
While much of his reputation has been built on traditional piano repertoire, more recently Michael has increasingly performed new New Zealand music – here, notably by John Psathas, Gao Ping, Ken Young, Victoria Kelly and Mike Nock. Michael initiated Inland as a project specifically focusing on contemporary New Zealand solo piano music, and that direction forms the basis of this excellent double CD. His commitment to the best New Zealand art-music repertoire sees our paths increasingly intertwined. Michael’s first outing with Rattle was on John Psathas’ debut Rhythm Spike, and he featured extensively on John’s massively popular View From Olympus.
Review by Lydia Jenkin
One of New Zealand’s favourite classical pianists, Michael Houstoun has once again produced a beautiful and challenging recording with Inland - his third outing with Auckland’s Rattle Records (he recently featured heavily on John Psathas’ View From Olympus). Made an Arts Foundation Laureate [in 2006], Houstoun plays solo piano works from six diverse NZ composers over two discs, somehow pulling them all together with his unerring interpretation, often drawing on a blend of styles and genres. As expected his execution is flawless, from the intricate difficulty of Douglas Lilburn’s Chaconne (written in 1946), to the jazz-influenced vibrancy of ex-pat Mike Nock’s 12 pieces written for Houstoun to perform at the Lake Wanaka Festival of Colour last year. The dramatic Jettatura by John Psathas features layers of folk, jazz, and rock - the furiously chordal left hand adding an almost guitar-like feel. Victoria Kelly’s Landscape Prelude calls on memories of the lonely Goodnight Kiwi and demonstrates her experience in the worlds of film, theatre, electronica and contemporary art music. Gao Ping’s Dance Fury pays homage to Argentinean Astor Piazzolla, revelling in South American rhythms and a sort of faded grandeur. Houstoun’s special talent is in making the collection feel fluid and yet hitting the right emotional pitch for each work. This valuable collection of NZ works, drawn together by the very intuitive Houstoun, was recorded at the Waikato WEL Centre.
RAT-D016 (December, 2007)
Chaccone (Douglas Lilburn) 21:56
Dance Fury (Gao Ping) 7:22
Disc Three (DVD)
Michael Houstoun: New Zealand Pianist