Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Viola central to an interesting programme of student performances from three centuries

My apologies if I have not got the first performers’ names correctly; they were not in the printed programme, but were announced at the beginning of the concert. However, a person behind me was talking on a cellphone at the time, and I could not hear them properly. I made enquiries at the end of the concert, but this has meant my interpreting another person’s handwriting – possibly not... read more

Alexander Gavrylyuk – great pianism at Waikanae

By , 22/05/2016
From the moment Alexander Gavrylyuk played the very first note of Schubert's adorable A Major Sonata D.664 on the Waikanae Music Society's wonderful Fazioli piano, I felt we were in for a performance which seemed more than ready to explore and convey from the outset something of this music’s whole-hearted intensity and volatility, from the lyricism of the beginning which contrasted tellingly with the “sturm-und-drang” episodes of the development... read more

Enso String Quartet highly impressive in all eras particularly 20th century France

By , 20/05/2016
One of the first things that many people would have asked about this concert, was ‘what’s the name mean or is an acronym for?’ Nowhere in the programme could I find the answer. However, their website does ‘sort-of’ explain: “The ensemble’s name is derived from the Japanese Zen painting of the circle, which represents many things: perfection and imperfection, the moment of chaos that is creation, the emptiness of the void... read more

Unusual trios for contrasted groups, influenced disparately by viola d’amore and the Holocaust

By , 18/05/2016
This lunchtime concert combined two young chamber groups in music that touched on tragic themes and conditions of the heart, physical and emotional. Perhaps they were to be seen as metaphysically linked. We have heard several performances by Donald Maurice’s Archi d’amore Zelanda; the last let us hear both the viola d’amore and the modern viola; in fact the last outing was just a fortnight ago, as part of an... read more

Bach Choir offers rewarding looks into Purcell, Mozart and later English music

By , 15/05/2016
This concert had been scheduled for Saturday 16 April but, as explained by conductor Peter de Blois, there was an organ problem which required an organ transplant (probably a hoary one for organists). De Blois also announced another change; the tenor was indisposed and so his place was taken by the conductor who happened, fortuitously, to be vocally equipped in a suitable way. Purcell’s Te Deum Laudamus and Jubilate Deo The earlier... read more

Marvellous programme of string sextets from Amici Ensemble and Wellington Chamber Music

It is heartening and impressive to see that a New Zealand composer has written 185 opus numbers and indeed, as I write, Anthony Ritchie’s flute concerto is being broadcast on Radio New Zealand Concert. His Sextet was commissioned this year by Christopher Marshall for the Amici Ensemble. This work is apparently a follow-on from his octet, appropriately named ‘Octopus’. Taking the first syllable of the new work’s grouping might... read more

From nothing, whole worlds – Circa Theatre’s 40th Birthday production of King Lear

By , 14/05/2016

Shakespeare got his "King Lear" story from an early chronicler, Holinshed, (who had in turn got it from an earlier source). As well as this there had been an anonymous stage adaptation of the story "doing the rounds" and performed in London about ten years before Shakespeare's play appeared. Both of these told the story of the semi-legendary Leir of Britain and his three daughters Gonorilla/Gonerill, Regan/Ragan and... read more

Memorable NZSO concert with rising young conductor and acclaimed pianist

By , 13/05/2016
I am sometimes tempted to think that the publicity by the NZSO, which I usually find rather cluttered with over-used superlative clichés, has the unfortunate effect of deadening the impact of those few occasions when something really very special is about to happen. It would have been a pity if constant, indiscriminate hype had numbed discerning concert-goers to an occasion when some extravagant superlatives were warranted. Nevertheless, the language of... read more

Beguiling, wide-ranging guitar recital from Owen Moriarty a fine substitute for lunch

By , 11/05/2016
As noted in my review of the recital by NZSM guitar students on 20 April, this programme was to have been by the students, while Moriarty would have played on 20 April. It was well worth the wait. Each of Moriarty’s recitals produces an extraordinary range of music either written or arranged for the guitar, from all eras from the Renaissance to the present. This recital spanned from the early... read more

Vibrant and wholehearted – Wellington Youth Orchestra and ‘cellist Matthias Balzat

By , 10/05/2016
A joy, right from the beginning, this concert, which featured bright-eyed and bushy-tailed orchestral playing from a talented ensemble of young musicians, squaring up to a couple of well-known classics and an engaging cello-and-orchestra concert rarity. Under Andrew Joyce's on-the-spot direction, the music in every instance took off, the Beethoven with bright-eyed and chirpy accents, the Tchaikovsky piece with bold, impassioned wing-beats, and the Elgar with gentle, early-morning ruminations developing... read more

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