Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Immaculate and varied piano recital from gifted young Russian pianist

By , 22/06/2018
Nikolai Saratovsky is a 31-year-old pianist, brought to New Zealand by Mary Gow, impresario (feminine form??), who runs the Mulled Wine concerts at Paekakariki (you can catch him again, at the Paekakariki Memorial Hall, this Sunday at 2:30 pm).  Mary Gow also organised his concert at St Andrew's on The Terrace on Thursday lunchtime. One of a seeming endless flood of musicians from Russia and other former-Soviet states. Bach opened the... read more

Musical anniversaries: composers and music

By , 21/06/2018
Composer-related dates interest me This bit of pointless research began as an appendix to my review of Supertonic’s concert on Sunday 20 May in the Pipitea Marae. It was prompted in that review by the death in 1918 of Lili Boulanger, one of whose songs was performed there. In an appendix to that review I mentioned the obvious ones: Debussy’s death 100 years ago, Bernstein’s birth 100 years ago, Gounod’s birth... read more

A revelatory Bach X 2 lunch recital on piano and organ by Jonathan Berkahn

By , 20/06/2018
Jonathan Berkahn is a versatile musician, happy to play any keyboard instrument, including the piano accordion. In this recital he played three J S Bach pieces on the Steinway, then moved to the pipe organ in the gallery to play an organ sonata by CPE Bach and a final Toccata and Fugue by Bach père. The Fantasia in C minor is a splendid piece which sounds as bold and inspiring... read more

Harmony of the Spheres in tandem with life on earth – Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) from Baroque Voices and instrumentalists

By , 17/06/2018
More of a spiritual/aesthetic experience than merely a “concert” was Baroque Voices’ evocative and atmospheric presentation “Harmony of the Spheres”, triumphantly bringing together singers, instrumentalists and audience to share and delight in the joys of exploration, wonderment and celebration wrought by the music of the twelfth-century Abbess Hildegard of Bingen. No more ambient and timeless sounds than those of Hildegard’s music intermingled with both contemporaneous dance rhythms and the... read more

Lawrence Renes, NZSO and Simon O’Neill in superb Wagner songs and monumental Bruckner 4th

By , 16/06/2018
This subscription concert was advertised as ‘An Evening with Simon O’Neill’, obviously in the hope that the name of New Zealand’s internationally most distinguished singer would match that of the recently retired Kiri Te Kanawa. But it didn’t work as the auditorium was hardly half full. Nevertheless, O’Neill is indeed one of a small handful of leading tenors in the Wagner class. Sure, he doesn’t compete in the public... read more

Engaging and exploratory viola music from NZSM students at St Andrew’s

By , 13/06/2018
This is the time for music students to use the facilities and be exposed to audiences at St Andrew’s lunchtime concerts in preparation for their first semester assessments. For audiences too, there are a couple of benefits; invariably, there are students who surprise, sometimes astonish, with their level of musicianship and technical skill; and there’s the chance to hear some unfamiliar, sometimes very engaging music. Some is chosen to... read more

Orchestra Wellington – a “Golden” beginning to its 2018 season

By , 09/06/2018
Orchestra Wellington and Marc Taddei got their 2018 season off to an arresting start with a concert of three resplendent-sounding works, one whose effect simply got more and more celebratory and engaging as the evening went on. Aiding and abetting this state of things was the welcome presence of guest Concertmaster Wilma Smith, and a goodly-numbered audience whose support for the orchestra was richly rewarded. First came what I... read more

Faith and Commitment: Tony Vercoe and the Kiwi-Pacific Records Story

By , 08/06/2018
One doesn’t know whom to thank most heartily regarding the appearance of this book, “The Kiwi-Pacific Records Story” – perhaps the triumvirate of storyteller Tony Vercoe, interviewer Tony Martin and publisher Roger Steele deserves equal shared credit. It’s a book whose subject – the formation and development of a truly homegrown recording company determined to support the work of classical and indigenous composers, musicians, poets, artists and designers within... read more

Some impressive performances from NZSM string students at St Andrew’s

On the coldest day of the winter so far, there was still a respectably-sized audience at the lunchtime concert. The students introduced themselves and their music, but unlike the wind students I reviewed two weeks ago, these students did not use the microphone, and so several of them were inaudible, speaking as though to a few people sitting in front of them.  One who spoke in audible tones nevertheless was... read more

Rachmaninov from Rustem Hayroudinoff, via Halida Dinova……

By , 02/06/2018
What on earth, you are asking, am I doing reviewing a CD by a pianist whose name would be largely unknown to New Zealand audiences? The answer is that Rustem Hayroudinoff is the brother of the remarkable Tatarstan pianist Halida Dinova who has relatively recently toured New Zealand on two occasions, giving, at the Lower Hutt Little Theatre during her visit here in 2012, one of the most remarkable... read more

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