When I starting writing reviews for The Evening Post in 1987, I was not particularly au fait with very much liturgical music and even less with its technical vocabulary, having not been brought up in a religious family. Coming to grips with the significance of parts of the liturgy like the Tenebrae responories and their use in the church was interesting….
Let me assume that fewer today, even... read more
Two days after Richard Apperley had played Haydn’s account of the Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross on St Paul’s Cathedral organ, an choral version of the story by Théodore Dubois was sung in St Mary of the Angels. If Haydn’s version saw the New Testament story as offering hope and spiritual renewal for mankind, Dubois’s account of Les sept paroles du Christ, only 70 years... read more
This will go down as one of the most unusual concerts of the year. An orchestral concert entirely of works completed and/or orchestrated by the conductor. Few would claim all three exercises to have been an unmitigated success, but all three had singular virtues and elements of great interest.
In terms of musical content I suppose that the Mahler songs should rank high – they should recommend themselves... read more
As always at Waikanae, there was a well-filled hall, and as usual when Donald Armstrong is involved, items were given spoken introductions: by him, to the Mozart and Wolf works, and by clarinettist Philip Green to the two clarinet quintets. This was in addition to excellent programme notes.
Of the Mozart, Armstrong said it was ‘good-natured... [it] has the greatness without the complexity of his later... read more
Perhaps it was the controversial issues involving Creative New Zealand’s funding of the orchestra, as well as the interesting character of the concert that drew a pretty full house at the Town Hall. Both were excellent reasons for being there.
In brief, not to denigrate the achievements of the orchestra with conductor Taddei in the past few years, this was a stunningly successful concert, with playing that in... read more
It was a pleasant change to be at an organ recital that was well attended; perhaps opportunity to hear again the recently-restored St. Peter’s organ was part of the draw, and maybe the time was convenient to more people than that of many organ recitals. The music was well played, the programme interesting, and we were in the hands of a capable and experienced organist. The programme was... read more
The great days of a flourishing market for transcriptions of symphonies and opera chunks for the organ, or the piano, might have passed, but there remains a lingering suspicion of the practice, and an almost automatic disposition to find them improper and tasteless.
But famous successful cases must make it dangerous and silly to denigrate them as a species.
Certainly, this was an example that called for open ears and a...
From a mere listener's point of view I invariably approach the prospect of attending a performance of Bach's most monumental undertaking with keen anticipation tempered by feelings of mild anxiety. The work always astonishes with its capacity (as observed by the redoubtable Professor Frederick Page, quoted in the program notes) to furnish "a glimpse into eternity"; though performances can sometimes suggest eternity in more uncomfortably temporal ways, more especially... read more
Guy Jansen took up the post of musical director of the Kapiti Chamber Choir after founding conductor Peter Godfrey retired in 2007. Now, having become chairman of the New Zealand Choral Federation and becoming more involved in educational activities, he was giving his last concert with the choir.
The hall, which is designed basically for indoor sports, with a high roof, presents difficulties for music, though the... read more
Continuing its work on behalf of classical music's contemporary voices, the SMP Ensemble produced yet another absorbing and thought-provoking line-up of works from home and abroad with its program XPΩMATA - Colours. Without resorting to mega-anarchic practices, the group seems always to manage (via its own version of an incredible lightness of being) to blow invigorating gusts of fresh air through normal concert procedures and presentations, making each event...