the new zealand symphony orchestra
plays the music of split enz

the project

"This is not a Split Enz album. It is a selection of Split Enz songs performed by some of New Zealand's finest contemporary artists, and featuring the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and NZ National Your Choir.

As to what inspired the project, the answers are manifold, but I do believe these songs are worthy of revisiting and representing in a new light; sometimes because they were begging for an orchestral arrangement. sometimes because I felt there was something lacking in the original Enz recordings. Also involved was an element of personal challenge. Having worked with the "rock band" context throughout my professional life, I never entertained the notion that I could compose nor arrange for the complexity of the orchestra. What did a cor anglais look like? What did a celeste sound like? What did they need a conductor?

With this paucity of orchestral knowledge, but replete with encouragement from my family, friends, and Finns, I dove headlong into the Enz repertoire and emerged about six months later with sixteen new arrangements, having experienced the steepest learning curve of my life. For this I owe a great deal of thanks to my transcriber, Dave Woodcock. I promise to never call brass, horns again, Dave!

Armed with a tape of my synthesised arrangements, I approached Mark Keyworth of the NZSO, who seemed happy to commit his and the orchestra's support to the project. I collared conductor Peter Scholes direct from a stint with the LSO in London, and booked the National Youth Choir for the December sessions. It seemed only natural to invite the Finns to participate. Dave Dobbyn, Annie Crummer, and Sam Hunt were all keen and pledged their support.

The orchestral recording sessions were held at Symphony House in Wellington and were at times sublime, and... stressful! I was periodically overwhelmed by their power, dynamics, and beautiful lush sound. Peter drew some wonderful performances from them and I must say it was a huge thrill for me to hear my arrangements being played by our national Symphony Orchestra.

From there it was up to the National Radio Studios where the National Youth Choir were to overdub their parts. With the inimitable Karen Grilles at the helm, the choir were a joy to work with, performing flawlessly, and with a totally professional and enthusiastic attitude. On top of that, we laughed a lot. Bravo, Karen et al.

A few days later we were encamped at Revolver Studios, Auckland, where we completed the vocal, percussion, and piano overdubbing, and final mixdown. We captured some marvellous performances from Neil, Tim, Dave, Annie, and Sam and were even graced by the legendary clacking cutlery of Noel Crombie in a special cameo performance.

This album could never have eventuated without a lot of nurturing and commitment, and to that end I am most grateful to Ian Magan, Paul Crowther, and my family. To everybody else involved, thank you - I hope this is the sound you imagined.

Eddie.     [from the liner notes of the ENZSO CD]

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