Supported by generous help from the Adam Foundation

NZSM’s “A Night at the Opera” generates a feast

By , September 19, 2014
Earlier last week I had the good fortune to catch Radio NZ Concert's "Upbeat" interview with Margaret Medlyn, one of the tutors of Classical Voice at the NZ School of Music in Wellington. She spoke about the then oncoming "Night at the Opera" presentation involving the voice students and featuring arias and ensembles from well-known operas and operettas. She said that the concert's semi-staged aspect with costumes and lighting... read more

Nota Bene splendidly celebrates its 10th Anniversary

By , September 14, 2014
I was sorry that Nota Bene chamber choir chose to sing on a Sunday - Chamber Music New Zealand had that day also joined the Sunday afternoon gang (in the latter’s case, 5pm), so I could not attend both concerts.  Next Sunday (21 September) there are no fewer than five classical music concerts in and around Wellington; Middle C cannot review them all, and to the extent that the... read more

Eggner Trio and Amihai Grosz win all hearts

By , September 14, 2014
The Eggner sibling trio of Georg (violin), Florian (cello) and Christoph (piano) presented this programme with viola player, Amihai Grosz, Principal Viola of the Berlin Philharmonic and a founding member of the Jerusalem String Quartet. I had not heard the Eggner group before, but from the very opening lines of the Mozart it was obvious why they are firmly established in the forefront of chamber ensembles today. Viola associate Amihai Grosz... read more

Douglas Mews at the organ – St.John’s, Willis St

By , September 14, 2014
St. John’s Church is hosting three organ recitals this month, on Sunday afternoons, of which this was the first.  They celebrate National Organ Month, and also are a vehicle for raising money for the upkeep of the fine Lewis organ at St. John’s. Unfortunately, on this Sunday and the next, there are numerous competing concerts.  Thus, a rather small audience was little reward for the work that had gone into... read more

Plentiful talent at Wellington’s Aria Contest courtesy Hutt Valley Competitions Society

By , September 7, 2014
The adjudicator at this year’s senior vocal competitions was José Aparicio, from Hawke’s Bay.  The aria competition attracted a record 23 entries, and eight finalists were called, rather than the usual six. The performers were all of a high standard, and the size of the audience was greater than it has sometimes been for this annual event. Mark Dorrell accompanied all the finalists except one, in his usual splendid fashion;... read more

Orchestra Wellington confirms its vital role in city’s musical life with wonderful Haydn and Mahler

By , September 7, 2014
In the lobby before the concert a friend asked whether I’d been to Marc Taddei’s pre-concert talk and I confessed I had not. She, with a wide knowledge of music, though from another artistic perspective, had been delighted with it, had gained rewarding insights in what was about to be played. Some pre-concert talks are more fascinating than others; Taddei's are among the best: he has a gift that reaches... read more

Fine Israel in Egypt from Tudor Consort in challenging acoustic

By , September 6, 2014
Israel in Egypt sets out to recount the Old Testament story of Israel’s final period in Egypt under a Pharaoh that withdrew all previous privileges and inflicted on the Israelites a physical bondage of the harshest kind. Handel set an entirely biblical libretto which dramatically depicts the Ten Plagues that Israel’s God visited on the Egyptians, the captives’ escape towards the Red Sea, the Egyptian pursuit with murderous intent... read more

Source of innocent merriment – Wellington G&S Society’s “The Mikado”

By , September 6, 2014
Those of us who know and love the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas confidently expect that, despite the swings and roundabouts of popular taste and fashion, they will continue to delight, charm and entertain - in short, endure as classics. Though uniquely of their time they still express relevant commentaries regarding equivalents among individuals and circumstances in contemporary life. Perhaps first and foremost of them, and probably still the most... read more

Nikau Trio celebrates Spring with enchanting, vivacious music

By , September 3, 2014
The opening trio fitted the mood of the day, and enhanced it.  Haydn’s good humour was just right for another windless, sunny day (following over a week of such delightful spring weather), and it was harmoniously reflected in what we heard from these three fine musicians.  They played this joyous music with alacrity and commitment.  The flute particularly, evokes spring and the bursting of new life.  The work was... read more

Passion and circumspection from the wonderful Faust Quartet

By , September 2, 2014
Named after German literature's archetypal questing figure, the Swiss-based Faust Quartet currently on tour in New Zealand, gave us an appropriately far-reaching programme for their Chamber Music Hutt Valley Concert at the Lower Hutt Little Theatre. Led since 2012 by New Zealander Simone Roggen, the group also has German, Norwegian and Swiss members, its cosmopolitan "face" also reflecting the range and origins of the music presented on this occasion As... read more

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