Supported by generous help from the Adam Foundation

Alexa Thomson – possibility and accomplishment on the viola

By , October 15, 2014
 This concert was an Honours music degree recital for Alexa Thomson, and St.Andrew’s church was a most suitable venue for this scale of performance. The Brahms Sonata is, of course, one of the lynchpins of the violist’s repertoire, and it was a good vehicle for Alexa’s artistic phrasing and warmth of tone which was entirely free of the edgy, nasal quality that can often detract from the upper register... read more

Illuminating the Bard – sonnets for a 450th birthday

By , October 12, 2014
This performance was a celebration of Shakespeare’s sonnets on the 450th anniversary of his birth. By happy chance the two actors were in New Zealand during the 50th anniversary celebrations of Wellington’s Cathedral of St. Paul, and as part of those, they had devised a programme to “perform from Shakespeare’s sonnets and other works with sidelights on his mysterious life, some original pronunciation and a few surprises”. There were... read more

NZ Opera’s “Don Giovanni” in Wellington enthralling

By , October 11, 2014
  Much has been written about what is probably the world’s most continuously successful opera: Mozart’s Don Giovanni. That it continues to draw in the crowds despite the misgivings of various ‘experts’ over the years is tribute not only to the variety and virtuosity of the music, but also to the characterisation in Lorenzo da Ponte’s sometimes denigrated libretto. This opera is notable for many things; the complexity of the vocal writing... read more

Orchestral spectaculars from the NZSO – and a 2015 sneak-preview

By , October 10, 2014
I thought it happy and appropriate that the second half of the NZSO "Bold Worlds" Wellington concert on Friday of last week was prefaced by several of the principal players telling us something about the 2015 orchestral season (details of which had just been released), and specifically what each of them was particularly looking forward to taking part in. So we were able to hear concertmaster Vesa-Matti Leppänen telling us... read more

Soloists add distinction to NZSM Orchestra concert

By , October 2, 2014
In the wake of a couple of crackingly good recent concerts given by the NZSM Orchestra and its intrepid conductor, Kenneth Young, I found myself eagerly looking forward to this particular evening's presentation. The programme followed the orchestra's policy of mixing the familiar (Brahms, Tchaikovsky) with the less-frequently performed (Barber, Bartok), the repertoire obviously designed to present the student musicians with a wide range of technical and stylistic challenges For... read more

Saxophone feast from the New Zealand School of Music

By , September 30, 2014
The Bach aria which opened this concert must be one of the most sublime vocal duos ever written, and it has been sung with breathtaking beauty by all the great oratorio artists. Hence it has to be a very demanding challenge to achieve a successful transcription for saxophones. The power of the original is such that I found it impossible to banish that version from my mind, and hear... read more

Youth and experience: organ-playing at St John’s, Willis St.

By , September 28, 2014
It was interesting to be treated to a recital by two female organists, one a young student, the other long-experienced and highly expert.  However, the latter is currently a student too, working towards a doctorate (Doctor of Musical Arts) at Victoria University. In St. John’s Church, with its fine wooden architecture, both external and internal, sits a splendid organ which needs some money spent on it to keep it in... read more

Tests of character – Wellington Chamber Music recital from Ludwig Treviranus

By , September 28, 2014
Midway through pianist Ludwig Treviranus's recent St.Andrew's recital I was ready to tell anybody who would listen that this was shaping up to be a concert in a thousand - the Paul Schramm Preludes represented for me a major pianistic discovery, and I'd never heard parts of Ravel's Miroirs played better by anybody, in concert or on record. Of course, I needed at that stage to bear in mind one... read more

SMP Ensemble – Sound Barrel a “lucky dip” for this listener!

By , September 26, 2014
That enterprising and congenitally provocative performing group, the SMP Ensemble presented a characteristic program for our delight and fascination at the Adam Concert Room last Friday evening. Every piece on the program brought its own specific amalgam of spontaneity and thoughtfulness to bear on both the recreative process and the audience's receptivity - a kind of "expect the unexpected" ethos whose attendant challenges, bewilderments and satisfactions truly "spiced up" the... read more

NZSM Classical Guitar students square up to a challenging recital

By , September 23, 2014
This brief concert was a welcome opportunity to hear again the talents of the NZSM Classical Guitar students under the tutelage of director Dr. Jane Curry. The full ensemble consisted of fifteen players, of whom four were guest members from the School’s pre-tertiary programme. The recital comprised a wide variety of works that spanned the “Golden Age” of Elizabethan lute music, the Baroque, and the 19th and 20th centuries The... read more

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