Supported by generous help from the Adam Foundation

Impressive semi-staged Elijah from Orpheus Choir, Orchestra Wellington and superb solists

I found this performance of Elijah entertaining, inspiring, and of a very high standard.  So did the large, attentive audience, who responded enthusiastically.  After the performance, I heard many favourable comments. The first thing that struck one coming into the auditorium was the huge screen behind the choir seats.  However, it was not used for projecting images, but was simply suffused with colour.  The colour chosen varied with the mood... read more

Auckland Ensemble in delightful programme at Waikanae, but need time to mature in ensemble and articulation

An interesting and attractive programme did not, nevertheless, attract as large an audience as has attended many of the Society’s concerts.  Was it the welcome fine, sunny weather after so much rain recently that proved more enticing than sitting in a hall? Edith Salzmann, formerly cello teacher at Canterbury University, is now teaching the instrument at the University... read more

Storms, remonstrations and resolutions from the NZSO

By , 16/05/2015
Everything seemed to fall into place throughout this concert, one of the most finely-planned and beautifully-realised evenings of orchestral music-making I've ever heard from the NZSO. Central to its success was the degree of rapport I felt coursing between the players and conductor throughout. Thomas Søndergård, making his debut with the orchestra, secured playing at once clearly focused, finely proportioned and satisfyingly expressive in each of the works presented. To begin... read more

Cenerentola brilliant in every aspect – principals’ singing and acting, orchestra and chorus, production, sets and costumes from New Zealand Opera

While writers may disagree concerning whether La Cenerentola (Cinderella) is a comic opera, there is no doubt that New Zealand Opera played it as such, with much humorous activity.  Perhaps some of the symbolism and solemnity of this moral fairy tale was lost in the process, but the rich variety of visual and aural delights made for a thoroughly enjoyable entertainment.  The version... read more

NZTrio’s fascinating collaboration with three young composers in a range of their and other contemporary works

By , 09/05/2015
As a contribution to New Zealand Music Month, Chamber Music New Zealand, together with SOUNZ, developed a concert programme for NZTrio that would give the job of selecting the works to three young composers. So each selected three or four pieces, including one of their own, and at the start of each bracket, one of the members of the NZTrio read a short apologia by the composer, sketching his... read more

Benefit for organist Thomas Gaynor, studying in United States, covers satisfying range of organ masterworks

Approximately 50 people were there to hear Thomas Gaynor on a welcome return to his home city, from study in the USA The opening  item was full-on organ music, from one of the masters of the French organ school (Vierne’s dates: 1870-1937), but there were subtle contrasts in texture and volume, and melodies interwove the more dogmatic passages ... read more

Cantoris tackles imaginative programme exploring Hungarian influence in Brahms’s music and related musical phenomena

By , 06/05/2015
Some musical programmes cry out to be heard and experienced because the music is famous and/or promises emotional excitement: expect a big audience; others offer little-known music that rings no emotional bells: expect a thin house. This was a concert of the latter kind. Yet the theme of this concert was interesting – the exploration of Brahms’s handling... read more

An unusual trio throws fresh, sometimes questionable light on a variety of chamber pieces

By , 03/05/2015
This, just incidentally, was the third recital involving a flute within a month – see Middle C of 1 and 29 April. The Trio by the amateur and rather obscure 19th century French composer, François de Fossa, was written originally for violin, guitar and cello (reflecting the widespread interest in the guitar in the first half of the 19th century). I had not heard of De Fossa and have been interested... read more

NZSO with Lilburn’s Symphony No 2, his successor’s impressive piece plus striking Swedish composer and trombonist

By , 01/05/2015
The title of this concert covered two-thirds of its music, though perhaps the most spectacular element was supplied by trombonist-plus, Christian Lindberg in a work by compatriot Sandström, Echoes of Eternity. The concert, in the two New Zealand works, spanned almost the entire post-war musical history of the orchestra and its home, Wellington. For the orchestra was founded in 1946 shortly before Lilburn moved from Christchurch to Wellington... read more

Memorable choral singing from Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir

While it was always my intention to attend this concert, an email from a Dunedin friend that urged me to go said the following: “They filled the cathedral here, got a standing ovation and a rave review.”  Indeed, Wellington Cathedral was very nearly full, also.  I’m told this means around 600 people attended. The opening item, Evening Prayer was by a contemporary Danish composer, Niels la Cour.  It was sung... read more

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