I found the TV film on the NZSO’s 2010 Europe tour a total embarrassment.
Some may think that the only way to make a watchable documentary is to lace it with
sex and crudeness. I differ.
Today’s permissive climate, when it isn’t cool to harbour behaviour standards known in
former times as decent, cultivated or civilized, makes it hard for anyone to... read more
I have been sorry to miss the first two concerts in this year’s Classical Expressions series at Upper Hutt’s so agreeable arts centre.
Unfortunately, neither of my colleagues had been able to get to them either.
For the record the earlier concerts were by the Amici Ensemble, which comprises leading players from the NZSO, who played, inter alia, clarinet quintets... read more
The irony of former Principal Horn Ed Allen's retirement from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra virtually on the eve of the Orchestral Brass Soloists' Tour wasn't lost on the writer of a section of the concert program, the part entitled "Musical Chairs". Replacing Ed Allen for the four-concert tour was Andrew Bain, (sporting the title "Guest Principal Horn"), in fact Principal Horn of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. But there's...
A concert like this usually offers a variety of surprises: there’s the unexpected delight from particularly charming pieces of music, and there were several such instances; the experience of an unusual instrumental combination and the way music originally for others has adapted so well; and the realization that the world has never been so overflowing with beautiful, rewarding music – most of it, naturally, to be broadly labeled... read more
Releasing the Angel
, the first music track on composer Eve de Castro-Robinson's new, eponymously-titled CD from Atoll Records, leaves me "on-the-spot smitten" by the music's attractive tactile quality. How readily those shimmering orchestral sounds fly towards and wrap themselves around and about my ears! - and how, just as tantalizingly, they fall away, leaving the voice of a solo 'cello floating in those same... read more
Listening to the very opening of
The middle of the second movement of Schubert’s penultimate piano sonata should not really come as a surprise if you have listened openly to the very opening of the first movement. Not perhaps from just any pianist, but certainly from Michael Endres whose view is clear at once through the heavy, threatening, plain loud chords of the opening phase. Alternating shafts of sun with heavy threatening storm clouds:... read more
The usual substantial audience defied the weather, and came to hear Felix the Quartet, made up of prominent members of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. There was a change to the programme: the music for the work by Esa-Pekka Salonen is somehow lost in transit, Leppänen explained, and so John Psathas’s piece was substituted. It and the Beethoven Op 59 no.1 Quartet were played recently by the... read more
If you haven't already done so, find a space on which to write down the name Jun Bouterey-Ishido, a space you'll remember and can refer back to when the rest of the world catches up with this young pianist's remarkable talent. Evidence was amply provided by this recital, filled with good things, and even more praiseworthy in that the pianist was able to make a fairly inertly-voiced instrument "sound"...
Tallis imitates Striggio
On Saturday’s Classical Chart, broadcast on Radio New Zealand Concert, presenter David Morriss took special pains to introduce the CD sitting at No 1; it was a 16th century motet by Italian composer Alessandro Striggio. The piece, sung on the top-ranked CD by I Fagiolini, was written to be sung by 40 distinct voices, each with his and her own part: ‘Ecce... read more
This concert both played the game and bended the rules in the most interesting possible way - we had what's become a common orchestral concert format of introductory work, concerto and symphony, but most interestingly constituted and creatively "placed", so that the feeling of "the same old formula" was nicely avoided.
Basically, it was a Schubert/Mozart evening, but with a major contribution from a more-or-less contemporary voice. This was the...