Supported by generous help from the Adam Foundation

Orchestra Wellington ends its year in blaze of irreverent glory

By , November 15, 2014
This last of Orchestra Wellington’s most successful 2014 subscription series not only delivered the last of the Haydn’s Paris symphonies, but brought together Wellington’s other major, locally-specific musical organization: the Orpheus Choir, to perform what is one of the most popular, large-scale compositions. Also called for in Carmina Burana is a children’s choir and Christine Argyle led Wellington Young Voices to contribute that element. In the first half, Haydn’s No... read more

Diverting and wide-ranging concert from the SMP Ensemble

By , November 14, 2014
The SMP Ensemble’s programmes, often devoted to experimental, New Zealand music, are not always particularly easy for the average classical music lover to enjoy. This one, advertising Schoenberg’s best-loved piece, Verklärte Nacht, guaranteed pleasure. But word of it had obviously not got out as the audience was sadly small. The first half did include a couple of, shall we say, unusual pieces, but it began and ended with harp player... read more

Third of the Cathedral’s recitals for the new Steinway, from Jian Liu

By , November 14, 2014
Compared with the two earlier recitals in this series, this one attracted a small attendance only.  Perhaps it is getting too late in the year (i.e. close to Christmas) for people to come to a Friday early-evening recital. It was appropriate to hear Byrd played in the Cathedral, although a little strange to hear it on the piano.  From My Ladye Nevells Booke that consisted of 42 pieces for keyboard... read more

Polished and delightful lunchtime with winds at St Andrew’s

By , November 12, 2014
To return from a nearly two-month trip in Europe to a Wellington rich with such plentiful and excellent live music has been a considerable consolation. Not that I ever underestimated the phenomenon of a fairly small city with such a wealth of practising musicians, plus their indispensable facilitating by enterprising impresarios and concert managers such as St Andrew’s enjoys. In the Paris weekly Officiel des spectacles or Pariscope, in a... read more

Diversity and enthusiasm from Gale Force voices at Futuna

By , November 9, 2014
Right from the word go this short concert had the feeling of a community event, rather than a formal recital, and I’m sure that’s how the organisers wanted it. Gale Force Gospel choir is a diverse bunch of singers from many different backgrounds, who obviously enjoy the idioms of Negro Spirituals, both the singing and the swinging. They put together a varied programme of small ensemble pieces, incorporating both... read more

Musicians join in with the fireworks in Wellington

By , November 8, 2014
Happily, the days of accepting "as Tchaikovsky's work" the long-established truncated version made by Alexander Siloti of the G Major Piano Concerto - such grievous cuts in the second movement! -  seem to be at an end. Here, at the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra's "Opulence" concert at the Michael Fowler Centre on Saturday evening last, we had, in all of its undiluted glory, the original work as Tchaikovsky conceived... read more

Carnival for Guy Fawkes’ Day – the music of Alfred Hill

By , November 5, 2014
This work was the earliest of Alfred Hill’s string quartets to be expanded later into an orchestral version, and is better known as Symphony No.5 “The Carnival”. He frequently “recycled” existing works into new formats, and this transcription benefitted from the larger forces which could very successfully convey the bustling, crowded atmosphere of a fiesta. The opening street scene was graphically depicted with vigorous, sunlit writing and attractive melodies, propelled... read more

Ballades, Songs and Snatches – singer and piper at Futuna Chapel

By , November 2, 2014
If there's anybody reading this who hasn't made the mini-pilgrimage to the exquisite Futuna Chapel in Karori, Wellington, I would strongly recommend to whomever that action be urgently taken. The building alone is worth the visit - an award-winning architectural design by Hawkes Bay architect John Scott, commissioned in 1958 by the Catholic Society of Mary, and built by the brothers of the Society themselves as a place of... read more

“Nature, Life and Love” for our time, from the NZTrio

By , October 29, 2014
I did like the NZTrio's characterizing of its most recent Wellington concert at the City Gallery as "an edgy international exploration" - though further linking the concert to the Gallery's October exhibition of the work of William Kentridge, a multi-media presentation called "The Refusal of Time" was frustrating, as I hadn't had the chance to see the latter - apparently a truly "immersive" amalgam of cinematic methodology - animation... read more

Glittering prizes from a talented duo at St.Andrew’s

By , October 29, 2014
This concert was a joy, definitely in the very top bracket of 2014 lunchtime offerings at St. Andrews on the Terrace. The committed musicianship and professionalism of the two artists was apparent from the first note, when one understood immediately that this was all about the music, not the players. Lili Boulanger’s Nocturne is a gem. In this duo’s hands it opened as a gentle meditation, languid with the warm... read more

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