Supported by generous help from the Adam Foundation

War’s impact on the women: Nota Bene sings, Gaylene Preston reads memories

By , 14/11/2015
I’m wondering if others have noticed that quite a lot of musical and other attention is being paid to a war that took place a hundred years ago on the other side of the world; perhaps not: I’m just unusually perceptive. It was a sad mess, an indictment on all the states that became involved, because based on nationalist bigotry, pride and bluster, and in our own case on empty... read more

Trombone meets harp – the intractable made enjoyable!

By , 14/11/2015

I suppose there must be even more outlandish combinations of pairs of musical instruments than trombone and harp playing somewhere else in the world at this very moment, though none would, I think, bring together and reconcile such profound differences more successfully than did Peter Maunder and Ingrid Bauer with their respective instruments.

Each player performed a "solo" at the programme's beginning, seeming to tease us further with... read more

Wonderful NZSO programme of masterpieces from the heartland of classical music

By , 13/11/2015
I had the feeling that both conductor and pianist had, contrary to the indications in the programme, been to New Zealand before. It looks as if I was wrong about Jaime Martín (I wonder if I’m confused by J Laredo of the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio), but I can clearly recall Ohlsson’s visit though I haven’t found evidence in my large file of programmes. This however, was a monumental concert, given totally... read more

NZTrio at the City Gallery with a programme slightly changed from Upper Hutt three weeks before

By , 10/11/2015
I had reviewed the pieces by Beethoven and Kenneth Young at the Trio’s concert at the Arts and Entertainment Centre in Upper Hutt on 19 October. Here at the City Gallery, the Saint-Saëns was replaced by Fauré’s Piano Trio. I was pleased at the chance to hear both the Beethoven and Young again. It confirmed my enjoyment of Ken Young’s commission by the Trio, his facility with the instrumental characteristics... read more

Providence delivers the goods, courtesy of Houstoun, fireworks and Orchestra Wellington

By , 07/11/2015

What with the Arohanui Strings delighting us at the concert's beginning, and the city's annual Guy Fawkes' firework display illuminating the interval in a most spectacular way, this was an event which had plenty of what economists like to call "added value" - but it's all part of what we've come to expect from an Orchestra Wellington occasion! In other words there's nothing routine about what happens, even... read more

Czech Philharmonic Children’s Choir gives enchanting concert at St Andrew’s

By , 02/11/2015
We have visits from overseas choirs from time to time, but I don’t think I’ve encountered one like this before. Words like enchanting, artless, exquisite, tender, crystalline, joyful, guileless, come to mind, and it refers to both the singing, and the dancing. The choir was established in 1932 to meet the needs of Czech Radio; it survived World War II and the years under Communism and became associated with the... read more

Audience rapture with splendid performance from Tudor Consort

The Tudor Consort is noted not only for wonderful singing; it is also noteworthy for its innovative programming. This time, an almost full Sacred Heart Cathedral heard music of Victoria. It is not infrequently that we hear short choral works by this composer, but a Requiem Mass extended by liturgical items such as the Collect, the Epistle, the Gospel and others, was new. These liturgical movements were either plainsong settings... read more

An experience to be savoured – Kari Kriikku with the NZSO

By , 30/10/2015

The concert certainly lived up to its title - this was no genteel, well-manicured, orderly assemblage of dulcet, well-rounded tones, but a feisty, attention-grabbing trio of pieces which, thanks to on-the-spot advocacy from concerto soloist, conductor and players, certainly made a lasting impact.

Because of the sheer physicality of each of the works, as well as the presence of a soloist in the second piece who wasn't backward... read more

Sistema Hutt Valley’s Arohanui Strings and related ensembles offer wonderful example

To demonstrate the ethos and value of this programme for primary school children from Taita and Pomare, I quote in full the note on the printed programme from the concert: "[This] is part of a visionary global movement transforming the lives of children through music. "Right here in the Hutt Valley, we are building a youth orchestra in a neighborhood where children normally do not have access to private music lessons... read more

NZSM piano students give impressively mature performances at St Andrew’s

By , 28/10/2015
The end-of-year exposure of five of the most talented piano students at the New Zealand School of Music was, I suppose, a follow-on from the four-day series of student recitals between 5 and 8 October which had featured cellos, violas, voices and guitars. The five pianists were placed according to their academic level, but I could not have distinguished them merely on the basis of the standard of their performances... read more

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