Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Robert Ibell and Catherine McKay – cello and piano: Boulanger and Brahms

By , 30/09/2009

The first of Nadia Boulanger’s three pieces is marked modéré. Though it’s the only one of the three in a major key, it is calm, of exquisite peacefulness though written nt eh first year of the first World War. It offered the chance to hear Robert Ibell,outside the orchestral or string quartet clutter... read more

Music and the print media

By , 28/09/2009

NZSO – Inkinen and Capuçon in Saint-Saëns and Bartók

By , 26/09/2009
One could, for a start, have some small regret at the content of this programme. Capuçon is one of today’s most gifted young cellists and it might have been interesting to hear him in a more meaty work. The repertoire of big popular cello concertos is sadly limited: Haydn, Dvorak, Elgar, Schumann, Shostakovich No 1… we all have our own rankings;... read more

Blythe Press, violin, in Chausson, Prokofiev and Pärt

By , 23/09/2009

Don’t ever overlook the lunchtime concerts at St Andrew’s! Of course, they vary widely, in genre, between instruments and voices and sometimes other things, in musical experience and skill, but more often than not, there’s a real treat in store.  

Jack Liebeck and Stephen De Pledge at Upper Hutt

By , 21/09/2009
Chamber Music New Zealand have been promoting solo piano recitals by Stephen De Pledge, in their main concert series in the major centres, and violin and piano recitals involving De Pledge and English violinist Jack Liebeck in a series of concerts for the so-called ‘associated societies’ that exist in smaller centres. When the tours were published I wondered why this arrangement had been decided upon in the light of the... read more

Nota Bene among the elements at St Andrew’s

By , 20/09/2009

It was an imaginative theme but, as so often, musicians seem only dimly aware of the importance of lighting and atmosphere in creating that last but important element in giving their audience a good time. The bright, shiny surfaces of the church and a zillion watts of light were enough to discomfort the most sophisticated and determined ghost.

I tried shutting the eyes but it didn’t make a difference.

In the... read more

East of Vienna – Wellington Chamber Orchestra

By , 20/09/2009
Now here was an enterprising programme! - two of the composers whose music was featured I had never heard of; and no less than FOUR New Zealand premiere performances were given, the works by Gary Goldschneider, Boris Pigovat, Bela Bartok and Alfred Hill.  George Enescu's colourful Roumanian Rhapsody No.1 was obviously the "taster" which began the concert, the music's beguiling opening melodies and catchy rhythms providing exotic atmosphere aplenty... read more

Sibelius Festival 2009 – Pietari Inkinen and the NZSO

By , 19/09/2009
Was it a previously undiscovered ‘cello concerto by Sibelius that made an appearance right in the middle of the orchestra’s festival of the composer’s music? – alas, no! any rumours of there being a work which had somehow survived the self-critical silence of Sibelius’s last thirty years turned out to have no substance. The “cello concerto” was by the Finnish composer’s almost exact contemporary, Richard Strauss – and it... read more

Sibelius Festival – 2nd concert: Symphonies 1 & 4

By , 17/09/2009
The second of the four concerts in the NZSO's Sibelius Festival drew a much smaller audience than the previous night, with its Finlandia and the Violin Concerto. Old story: a soloist is essential to the box office. But because this one contained the Fourth Symphony – and the First too, which is far from merely journeyman work – and because it was played with such vision and spellbinding build-up of... read more

Sibelius Festival: No 5 and Violin Concerto

By , 16/09/2009
When the 2009 NZSO season was announced I sensed certain misgivings in some people who wondered if a Sibelius festival was really such a good theme, and if it would fly. Yes, we had a talented young Finnish conductor whose reputation, we gathered, was growing fast overseas; and a Finnish concertmaster who’d make a pretty authentic fist of the violin concerto. But typically in New Zealand, I continued, and continue... read more

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