Supported by generous help from the Adam Foundation

Cello jamboree at the school of music and Nota Bene’s light-hearted 10th anniversary

By , December 14, 2014
The fourth annual jamboree for several of the professional and many students and amateur cellists took place this year, not in the Hunter Council Chamber as previously, but in the School of Music’s Adam Concert Room. A smaller audience than I recall at earlier concerts was perhaps the effect of a slightly  less interesting venue. But the acoustics are very good and the big body of cellos produced a very... read more

Splendid Orpheus Choir and NZSO shine along with Madeleine Pierard in Trans-Tasman Messiah

By , December 13, 2014
Handel’s Messiah remains a work of perennial popularity, be it in great cities of the Old World, or in tiny provincial settlements clinging to specks of land in far flung southern oceans. Whether presented by massed singers and a huge orchestra or a small parish choir with traditional harmonium, its magic never fails to evoke wonder and worship. There must be very few works which can claim such status... read more

Aroha String Quartet’s tenth anniversary concert offers excellent, varied, exquisite programme

By , December 7, 2014
The first performance by Wellington’s Aroha String Quartet took place in this venue at this time on 5 December, just 10 years ago. I wrote a review of it in The Dominion Post, ending “This is one of the finest ensembles to emerge from the NZSO ranks. I hope they can find the time to give many more concerts”. I've always felt pleased to have been there. This time, too... read more

Wellington Chamber Orchestra – a wonderful concert and a promising conducting debut

By , December 7, 2014
This was a programme whose contents promised delight at every turn - although one listener's favorite can be another's aversion, there are surely pieces which have such a wide range of appeal, that even the most hardened, narrowed-down listener would find it difficult to resist their blandishments. Such was this happy assemblage - in fact I haven't been able to find a single person who attended and DIDN'T say... read more

Bach Choir’s Stephen Rowley bows out in style

By , December 6, 2014
This concert marked the conclusion of conductor Stephen Rowley's tenure as music director of the Bach Choir of Wellington, a position he took over from Nigel Williams in 2008. A glance at the repertoire performed by the choir during this time attests to the rich variety of music experienced by the group under Rowley's expert direction. Appropriately, his final collaboration with the choir featured the music of Bach, as... read more

Michael Houstoun’s Beethoven on Rattle

By , December 1, 2014
With his recently-released set of the complete Beethoven piano sonatas recorded for Rattle Records, Michael Houstoun joins a select number of pianists who have recorded the cycle more than once. And though he's in pretty stellar company, here, alongside luminaries such as Wilhelm Kempff, Alfred Brendel, Wilhelm Backhaus, Daniel Barenboim and Friedrich Gulda, with this latest issue Houstoun can, in my opinion, hold his head up proudly in their... read more

Entertaining Christmas concert from the Northern Chorale

By , November 30, 2014
It was a new take on Christmas music to present a selection of songs that were traditionally sung by carollers in their neighbourhoods, expecting to be rewarded with food and drink.  Monika Smith’s brief, entertaining introductions to the songs made it clear that it was often the reward that was the focus, rather than the music. The concert opened with a traditional carol, ‘Resonet in laudibus’ sung as a processional ... read more

Tudor Consort with marvellous music: Motets by Bach and settings of the texts by others

By , November 29, 2014
The programme revolved around three of Bach’s motets: Singet dem Herrn, Lobet den Herrn alle Heiden, and the incomparable Jesu, meine Freude.  The other works were settings of the same or related texts by other composers, some with a conscious nod to Bach. One notable characteristic of the superb Tudor Consort is the involvement of the singers in what they are presenting.  This is shown by accuracy, attention to detail... read more

Large audience hear unfamiliar Christmas music in enthusiastic performance by Festival Singers

By , November 28, 2014
This festive concert programme drew a large audience to the Island Bay Presbyterian Church, and it was apparent from the first bar that the choristers hugely enjoyed singing it. The opening Gloria by the choir’s director Jonathan Berkahn immediately set the scene with its vigorous, bouncy rhythms and easy harmonies, cleverly offset by a central section of more stately and peaceful mood. The following three items formed a most... read more

Circa Theatre’s “Dead Tragic” a life-enhancing experience

By , November 22, 2014
That old wizard of stage and screen, Noel Coward, was right when he famously quipped, "….how extraordinarily POTENT cheap music is……" - that is, if the response of the "half-century-onwards" hearts that were pumping and pulsating throughout Circa Theatre's startlingly in-your-face "Dead Tragic" collection of truly-and-tragically-dreadful 1970s songs was anything to go by. In fact that opening sentence gives you an idea of some of the convolutions of the lyrics... read more

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