Supported by generous help from the Adam Foundation

The Apprentice, La Mer, Ibert’s flute concerto and an enchanting francophone premiere from National Youth Orchestra

By , 02/07/2015
The National Youth Orchestra has generally played a major symphony in the second part of its main annual outing (and this is its 56th year). They’ve included Mahler’s First and Seventh, Tchaikovsky’s Fourth and Fifth, Shostakovich’s Tenth, Rachmaninov’s Second, Brahms’s First and Second, as well as Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra, Also sprach Zarathustra, many taxing concertos and other large and challenging works. Back in 2007, they played La Mer... read more

Te Koki Trio at Waikanae balances Schubert’s E flat trio with trios by Psathas and Fanny Mendelssohn

It was excellent to find a work of Fanny Mendelssohn’s on the programme – so often neglected in comparison with her famous brother, and someone who could well have gone on to greater things had she not died at only 42.  The Chamber Music New Zealand 2015 brochure informs me that the Te Koki Trio will play works by Clara Schumann and Gillian Whitehead this year also, playing in... read more

Wellington Chamber Orchestra rounds on Beethoven with Mozart

By , 28/06/2015
This concert got off to one of the most thrilling beginnings of any I've seen this year, with a no-holds-barred explosion of percussion erupting and pinning back our ears during the first few bars of Mozart's famous Il Seraglio Overture, also known by its German title of Die Entführung aus dem Serail. Played with great precision and plenty of verve, the "Turkish" instruments (bass drum, triangle and cymbals) here simply... read more

Defences overwhelmed by seductive songs from Nota Bene under Julian Raphael

By , 27/06/2015
Nota Bene, founded over ten years ago by Christine Argyle, has always been a slightly unorthodox choir, perhaps ‘eclectic’ and ‘adventurous’ might be better words: they often veer towards the not-so-heavy repertoire whether jazz, quasi-pop, art songs, Renaissance polyphony, folk or “World” music, with special attention to New Zealand composers, and not averse to a touch of religiose sentiment. It’s also a choir whose performances are marked by enthusiasm... read more

An impressive, major programme in the series of Bach’s complete organ music at St Paul’s Cathedral

The programme this time was in the early evening, rather than lunchtime, enabling a good-sized audience to attend.  The items were chosen for the recital by ballot, and it was interesting to see a mixture of well-known and lesser known works appearing. Under the hands (and feet) of two organists who play here regularly, the music of Bach did not suffer  (with one or two minor exceptions) from the muddied... read more

Unmissable violin sonata programme from APO’s Canadian concertmaster and Sarah Watkins

By , 21/06/2015
The violinist’s name would have been new to Wellingtonians – the recently appointed Concertmaster of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra; the pianist however, is very well known. But the audience was disappointing: see comments in my Coda. I think this programme, entirely of worthwhile, interesting works, but containing only one familiar, major work, might have seemed missable to non-subscribers, unless driven by Lilburn-loyalty or special love of Bartok, and who would... read more

Excellent opera recital with Friends of New Zealand Opera

Approximately 120 people came to hear a star-studded line-up of opera singers present a delightful programme of mainly well-known arias and duets.  Unfortunately, Australian baritone Warwick Fyfe was suffering from a severe throat infection (after travelling here from Australia on Qantas – how often I have heard about this happening to people!), and thus his contribution was limited.  For example, the first three items were to be from Lohengrin... read more

Orchestra Wellington in irresistable, largely Russian programme plus multi-cultural esoterica

By , 20/06/2015
Not content with the inevitable attraction of the complete Tchaikovsky symphony cycle, plus one of the most exciting piano concertos of the 20th century, Taddei added an indefinable something whose appeal might have been in any of a dozen varied musical or artistic realms. A vocal piece by a young composer, Leila Adu, of mixed New Zealand and Ghanaian birth, with its roots in those places as well as... read more

Enterprising new choir of youngish voices makes a real mark on Wellington’s choral scene

A new phenomenon has hit the Wellington choral scene! This choir was formed last year (perhaps incorporating the lawyers choir I have heard several times at St. Andrew’s on The Terrace?), and comprises over 50 young singers. The ambitious programme was enterprising, and selected from works expressing the horrors of imprisonment or incarceration of other kinds.  The venue was almost full; it appeared that most of the audience were friends... read more

Turnovsky Jubilee Ensemble of former competitors celebrate 50 years of schools chamber music competitions

The players, all former winners or participants, and in some cases adjudicators, in the schools chamber music contest (first sponsored by the Bank of New South Wales which became Westpac Bank, and now by New Zealand Community Trust) are giving concerts in 15 centres to celebrate 50 years of that contest. The annual event now involves hundreds of school students in chamber music, and has given opportunity to many who... read more

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