Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Memorable and commanding Schumann and Shostakovich string quartets

By , 31/08/2010
This was an important series of ten concerts by the New Zealand String Quartet, in five centres nationwide; it included two different programmes, of all three of Schumann’s quartets and four of Shostakovich's 15. I heard the first of the two programmes at the church of St Mary of the Angels on Saturday the 28th, which my colleague Peter Mechen has reviewed (that programme had also been played a week... read more

Sunday evening with Moky Gibson-Lane – a ‘cello and piano recital

By , 29/08/2010
Moky Gibson-Lane, visiting home in New Zealand from her various commitments as a performer in Europe, gave a delightful recital in Wellington's Central Baptist Church, one which stimulated as much audience pleasure as a similar concert she gave on a home visit a year previously. She's currently playing with the Berlin Staatskapelle, frequently conducted by Daniel Barenboim, and is a foundation member of the Stabrawa Ensemble, led by the... read more

Good Taste in the Art of Musick: Geminiani at St Paul’s Lutheran

By , 29/08/2010
This concert was advertised as part of St Paul’s Lutheran Church’s regular concerts, many of them associated with the church’s normal vespers services, when Bach cantatas, eventually all of them, are performed. But this was different. Peter Walls (in other lives, Professor of Music at Victoria University and now CEO of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra) had talked during the week on RNZ Concert’s Upbeat, and in his introduction to the... read more

Michael Houstoun in recital – in Wellington!

By , 29/08/2010
Who says piano recitals can't pack 'em in any more? True, if any pianist can here in Wellington, Michael Houstoun can, and especially so when the programme features the music of two composers whose spirit seems to exemplify music's Romantic Age. This concert was a celebration of the year 1810, during which both Chopin and Schumann were born, Michael Houstoun unexpectedly and cleverly drawing these otherwise disparate figures together... read more

Piers Lane entertains at the piano at Waikanae

What a well-constructed programme this was, celebrating Chopin’s bi-centenary, other supreme composers for the piano, plus a dazzling finale.  This was real pianists’ music: not out to be showy (with the exception of the final piece), but to be expressive. Using a microphone, Piers Lane interpolated remarks between the groups of items.  These were informative, and sometimes humorous, such as when he told us that the words of the folk-song... read more

Great liturgical works from the Bach Choir

By , 29/08/2010
The Bach Choir has a distinguished history in Wellington since 1968, when it was founded by the gifted organist and musical scholar Anthony Jennings. Like all choirs, its fortunes have fluctuated: for the past two years it has regained its position, directed by Stephen Rowley; its recent achievements have included the B Minor Mass, Elijah, a concert of Handel and Purcell, and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. It was an adventurous concert... read more

New Zealand String Quartet: Schumann put in the shade by Shostakovich……

By , 28/08/2010
Poor old Schumann! Of course he had no way of seeing Shostakovich coming when he wrote his quartets, and therefore didn't feel the need to overtly externalise the flamboyant, turbulent side of his nature in much of his music, especially in a medium which was generally regarded as a vehicle for expression of a reasonably circumspect provenance. True, he had Beethoven's magnificently virile example as a writer of quartets... read more

National Youth Orchestra in brilliant form

By , 26/08/2010
The habit of reviewers reporting, in mock wonderment, that the concert by the current incarnation of the National Youth Orchestra has offered the most exciting and committed symphony concert of the year, or decade, has become traditional, almost a ritual. Such claims are made in all good faith and in the hope of being seen as friends of the young and apostles of hope that the mature population will... read more

Cook Strait Trio in distinguished performances

It was a pleasure to hear this young trio again, albeit with a different cellist – this one from Canterbury, now playing in the Magdeburger Philharmonic Orchestra in Germany.  The other two are still studying, Press having completed his Bachelor’s degree at Graz, Austria, and now studying for a Master’s; Rainey is studying piano accompaniment at the Guildhall in London. It was amazing that two piano trios made up of... read more

“Johann Sebastian – Mighty Bach!” from Orpheus

By , 22/08/2010
Because JS Bach's Mass in B Minor is such an established part of the choral repertoire, it's interesting to reflect on the somewhat piecemeal origins of the work - as an entity it was assembled by the composer in 1749, one year before his death, but parts of it were actually composed up to almost thirty years before, with some of these parts intended for other works - the... read more

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