Piers Lane is a top international pianist and he should fill a house of reasonable size anywhere in the world. Here he did not play solo and was happy to be simply a collegial musician: he accompanied singers, a violinist and took the piano part in a trio. But his presence, his modesty and ready collaboration as equal partner with other musicians were a constant delight.
It opened with Jenny...
The evening concert was held in the Cathedral: an all-Bach programme. The main draw was the appearance of two singers to perform cantatas. Four cantatas, each consisting in just one section and calling for one or two solo voices. The scoring was reduced in each case to a violin or viola plus continuo (Rolf Gjelsten’s cello and Douglas Mews on the harpsichord; in the case of the Cantata No...
Thursday 29 January 2009
At lunchtime in the Nelson School of Music there was a charming recital from Swedish soprano Catrin Johnsson and New Zealand pianist Rachel Fuller in songs by Mozart, Sibelius, Stenhammer and from less-than-familiar Broadway sources.
The scene changed in the evening, with a 2-hour drive to the Montana Brancott Winery, out of Blenheim, for a 6.30pm recital of Beethoven, Brahms and Chopin from pianist Piers Lane. Here... read more
On the sixth day of the festival came the concert that many of the committed chamber music passionnées had most looked forward to. The superb Prazak Quartet had their own concert, and played music entirely from their homeland. It followed the pattern of all good concerts, with one very familiar, ravishingly beautiful work, one slightly less known but one which has attained masterpiece stature more recently, and a more...
At 1pm the festival broke ground by presenting a free concert in St John’s Methodist Church and Nelson responded by filling it. It was no miscellany of pop classics: the New Zealand String quartet was determined to give the people the real thing, Schubert’s String Quartet in G, D887 – his last quartet and a piece that cellist Rolf Gjelsten, in his introductory comments, placed together with Beethoven’s String...
I should have known what to expect from the evening concert from the trombone quartet Bonanza – the name a creaky sort of pun. Though they’ve been around for 12 years, I had never heard them. I’m humbled.
To call their performance an illustrated historical survey of the trombone, would give no hint of what the evening was actually like. The reason for choosing the cathedral as the venue was...
took place in the School of Music. It featured Carnival of the Animals
and Poulenc’s Babar the Elephant
, with accompaniment from four of New Zealand’s finest pianists – Michael Houstoun, Diedre Irons, Richard Mapp and Emma Sayers, and the narratives, Ogden Nash in the case of the Carnival
, were spoken by Helen Moulder.
It clashed however with a concert at Motueka called... read more
At 2pm a Family Concert entitled
The evening concert was absolutely the essential stuff of a music festival; these performances, of great music, would have excited audiences at great European festivals like Verbier or La Roque d’Anthéron.
The Nelson audience was certainly conscious that it had witnessed something momentous as they clapped and shouted at the end of Rachmaninov’s long and strenuous Suite No 2 for two pianos, Op 17. Nothing could have been less apposite...
A major clash.
The Sealord Opera in the Park
has been a major fixture in February each year for more than a decade. This time it moved, reportedly on account of the availability of certain singers, to Saturday 24 January, and thousands filled Trafalgar Park It... read more
The festival’s second concert was blighted by the sort of misadventure that is familiar in a big city but ought not to happen in Nelson.
The Festival’s Gala opening concert took place, as usual, in the Nelson Cathedral, a strangely incomplete building, its primitive Gothic arches seeming to announce a much larger and more massive building; but above the arches, when money ran out, there is an incongruous ceiling, and walls of concrete blocks and an unsympathetic spire.
However, its acoustic properties are simply superb for singers and small ensembles; and the back wall of...