Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

A good case for Mendelssohn’s (complete) organ music in cathedral series

By , 22/07/2016
On top of last year’s Bach Project from Michael Stewart and Richard Apperley and the latter’s Buxtehude Project that’s running now, cathedral director of music, Michael Stewart, has now invited us to pay attention to and hopefully change our minds about Mendelssohn. In his introductory notes for the first of the series of recitals he claimed that Mendelssohn had “made an incredibly profound contribution to the organ and its... read more

Enthusiasm for Orchestra Wellington, with Anna Leese, in war-time masterpieces by Strauss

The latest in Orchestra Wellington’s innovative ‘Last Words’ series of subscription concerts featured a variety of music, despite being all from one composer.  The works were all written late in the composer’s life.  Marc Taddei made it apparent in his pre-concert talk (with young composer Tabea Squire) that he held Strauss in high regard.  The composer had considered the opera Capriccio to be his last work.  However, the other... read more

Buxtehude’s credentials solidly confirmed at the 6th of the organ series at Saint Paul’s

By , 15/07/2016
On 17 June I covered some of the background to the formidable complete organ works of Dieterich Buxtehude, after the first four of the series had eluded me (read: Middle C, or I, had neglected them, a grave oversight). Here was the 6th of the series. The first work in the programme was fairly large, employing three fugues; optimistic in tone, as the key of C major seems to inspire in... read more

Interesting variety of arias and songs from NZSM voice students

A variety of voices was heard at today’s concert, and a great variety of songs from 18th, 19th and 20th century composers – interesting repertoire. Stefano Donaudy (1879-1925) was a composer new to me; he was Italian-French, and a resident of Palermo in Sicily.  He composed mainly vocal music, including operas, and is known today for a number of songs, of which ‘O del mio amato ben’ is one.  It... read more

Hammers and Horsehair speak volumes – Douglas Mews and Robert Ibell

By , 13/07/2016

What a fascinating and splendidly-realised concept this was! With instruments able to reproduce authentic-sounding timbres and tones of a specific period, and with two musicians in complete command of those same instruments, and well-versed in the style of performance of that same period, we in the audience at St.Mark's Church, Woburn, in Lower Hutt, were treated to an evening's evocative and authoritative music-making.

Part of the occasion's success... read more

Excellent performance by Nota Bene of Rossini’s marvellous Petite Messe solennelle

By , 09/07/2016
Rossini’s end-of-life setting of the Mass has a somewhat special place in the repertoire – secular or sacred? serious or ironic? Thus, some more humourless music lovers have difficulty in enjoying it as some of the music is a bit unusual in tone, remote from the way a 'proper' sacred or liturgical work should be. I think it would be hard to perform it in a way that suggested any... read more

Youth and experience together produce brilliant and heartfelt Messiaen

By , 08/07/2016

Elizabeth Kerr's pre-concert talk, gratifyingly well-attended and enthusiastically received, placed its listeners right in the epicenter of things relating to Olivier Messiaen and his final completed work Éclairs sur l’au-delá (Illuminations of the Beyond), whose performance by the NZSO/NYO was to follow shortly after.

In a masterstroke of juxtapositioning she took us straightaway to an event that took place in January 1941, in a German prisoner-of war camp... read more

An intriguing anniversary concert from Jonathan Berkahn and Heather Easting at St Andrew’s

By , 06/07/2016
For me, there is a rather compulsive fascination with musical and other anniversaries, and with the fitting of events, of births and deaths, into a time-frame. Here I’d met a kindred spirit who introduced the programme by referring to some of the major events of around two hundred years ago. They had mainly to do with war – the Napoleonic Wars and most closely, the Battle of Waterloo, which... read more

Change of players leads to interesting programme nevertheless

Sadly, the change from the advertised programme, Maaike Christie-Beekman, mezzo-soprano, with Catherine Norton, piano, was caused by the singer’s illness.  We trust that she is making a speedy recovery. In its place was an interesting instrumental programme – a different combo from what we usually experience: violin and cello. Mike Curtis is a contemporary American composer and bassoonist, much influenced by Mexican rhythms, as here, in his suite of Huapangos.  The... read more

Fine concert from a three-nations piano trio in a three-nations choice of great music

A Canadian cellist, a Finnish violinist and a New Zealand pianist got together at Prussia Cove in England in 2013, and have made a very competent and successful trio.  We were honoured to hear such a fine group of young musicians. The Ravel work is a much-loved and often performed trio.  It was one of the works performed by the former Canterbury Trio, the death of whose outstanding violinist and... read more

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