Supported by generous help from the Adam Foundation

The Bach Project splendidly under way on the St Paul’s Cathedral organ

By , 31/03/2015
Middle C’s neglect so far of this momentous project, the performance of all, yes all, of Bach’s compositions for the organ is regrettable: caused by absences from Wellington, conflicting obligations. In my case, the Nelson Chamber Music Festival, Napier’s production of Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, escapes to sun on the Horowhenua coast, and the past fortnight in Auckland and the far North. Most of the musical fraternity know something of Bach’s... read more

Ambitious and satisfying concert from Wellington Chamber Orchestra

By , 29/03/2015
One could argue that the first concert in Wellington Chamber Orchestra’s 2015 season was devoted to the very centre of the classical music repertoire: the blending and conjunction of the classical and romantic eras. Orchestral performances between the hard surfaces of the typical church are not easy to bring off; and over the years I have often commented on the delicate matter of positioning timpani and brass so that their... read more

Quintessential music-making from the Brodskys

By , 26/03/2015
Reading about the Brodsky Quartet brings much pleasure and a few surprises: the group was formed thirty-five years ago in Manchester, and was named after Adolf Brodsky, the great nineteenth-century Russian violinist notable for premiering Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in 1881, and whose career eventually took him to Manchester, in England, where he became Principal of the Royal Manchester College of Music. Two of the original Quartet are still with... read more

Lucy Gijsbers shines in ‘cello recital at St.Andrew’s

The first two movements of Prokofiev’s Op.119, chosen to start this programme, put Lucy Gijsbers straight into the limelight from the word go. The beautifully crafted phrases and full throated, rich sound she drew from the lower register of the cello in the opening solo bars showed immediately what an accomplished musician she is. Likewise as she moved up the register in the later reflective episodes, her tone was... read more

Acclaimed Guitarist Recital highlights venue shortcomings

Matt Withers is head of Guitar at the University of Canberra and a widely acclaimed performer who has picked up many awards in his relatively short career. He is currently touring New Zealand for the first time doing recitals and master classes, and this was a welcome opportunity to hear someone of this calibre whose reputation has gone before them. He described his varied programme as “a round-the-world tour”, and... read more

Brief and benign “Spanish Disquisition” on St.Andrews’ Chamber Organ

Although relatively short, and not well attended, the organ recital was interesting, in that it introduced an organist new to most of us, was played entirely on the small baroque organ, and consisted almost entirely of Spanish organ music, which I am sure was new to everyone in the audience. Pedals were not part of the design of Spanish organs (or indeed many others) at the period covered by the... read more

Bravos for the second of Freddy Kempf’s Beethoven concerto concerts with the NZSO

You can’t beat Beethoven on a good day – and this was a very good day, with star performer Freddy Kempf as conductor and piano soloist.  It was the second concert in a series of two in which Kempf has played and conducted all Beethoven’s piano concertos was greeted by a full Michael Fowler Centre. The Egmont overture I have not heard live for a long time, and it was... read more

Pianist Nicola Melville’s visit home with a diverting entertainment and a tribute to her teacher

By , 05/03/2015
The first recital in the 2015 series from Chamber Music Hutt Valley presented former Wellington pianist Nicola Melville. Nicola was raised in Tawa and took her bachelor’s degree at Victoria University and later studied at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. She now teaches in Minnesota. Last month I heard her in a concert at the Adam Chamber Music Festival in Nelson where she played several of... read more

Four feasts forward – Catherine McKay and Peter Barber at St.Andrew’s

By , 04/03/2015
At the beginning of the concert Peter Barber announced a change to the printed programme, one involving both a rearrangement of the existing order, and an additional item. So, Brahms' FAE Sonata Scherzo Movement, which was to have opened the programme now became its concluding item; and an arrangement of Rachmaninov's Vocalise for viola and piano was introduced, here put just before the Brahms. It all seemed to work marvellously... read more

Ecstatic applause for Freddy Kempf’s first three Beethoven concertos with the NZSO

The NZSO undertook this programme with significantly pruned string resources, making a nod towards  the size  of orchestra Beethoven would have performed these works with himself. The balance and sympathy between the sections was, as always, exemplary and the concert was marked throughout by superb solo playing from wind and brass principals alike, and the impeccable string work that audiences never fail to hear from the NZSO. Born in London... read more

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