It was wonderful to have a programme of string sextets, something I haven’t heard for years. To have six superb string players to perform them was a delight, and the good-sized audience was proof others thought so too.
However, at the beginning of the Dvořák sextet I thought the violin tone rather harsh and shrill. It soon settled down, and the genial quality of Dvořák’s music... read more
It was a points decision, and a close call, but most who attended the opening night of NBR New Zealand Opera's double-header of CAV and PAG would, I think, have agreed that the latter (Pagliacci), boxing far above its weight on the night, landed too many telling counter-punches for the big guns of its glamorous rival (Cavalleria) - Intermezzo or no Intermezzo! Both operas gave their supporters plenty of...
Though the programme booklet doesn’t enlighten us, I am not aware that König has conducted in New Zealand before. He is typical of the young conductors of today in having amassed a CV of breathtaking scope and variety – geographically and artistically. Born and educated in Germany, his permanent posts have been in the Ruhr, in Malmö (Sweden), Oporto (Portugal), Gran Canaria and Luxembourg; and he has made... read more
To hear 700 secondary school students from all around New Zealand singing together is thrilling indeed, as they did at the conclusion of this three-hour concert. The Wellington Town Hall has hosted much music through its life, but hearing this amount of excellent singing in such a good acoustic is ‘something else’, as is seeing and hearing three boys’ school choirs turning on impromptu haka at the... read more
The contest that was The Evening Post aria contest for many years continues in good heart. This year, the contestants were all past or present students of the New Zealand School of Music, and almost all had been recently through a period of very hard work, as cast members of the brilliant, highly entertaining and successful production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
It is therefore... read more
‘Mêler? Bien sûr; les instruments se mêlent parfaitement, avec bonheur’.
As there was with the Mêler Ensemble’s concert at Lower Hutt, there was some disappointment that the programme had been changed, caused ostensibly by the late replacement of the original pianist (Tanya Gabrielian). Waikanae too had their promised Schumann replaced by Dvořák’s Piano Quartet in E flat. At Wellington the music of the first half was changed, from... read more
Tell us about listening to Arvo Pärt in the middle of a wintry Wellington day!
Arvo Pärt's music was, I think a wonderful choice of repertoire with which to finish one's work with a choir. Pärt is a composer who's contributed of late to a quiet revolution that's taken place within the confines of contemporary classical music, turning his back on much of the avant-garde modes of expression in favor... read more
For the approximately 30 souls who braved yet another night of freezing temperatures, strong winds and driving rain, this was a rewarding occasion. The acoustics of the relatively intimate Council Chamber seemed just right for this combination of clarinets, played by such proficient performers. Despite the group’s subtitle, this was a demonstration of the euphonious and very flexible instruments that are clarinets.
Being a concert of... read more
Perhaps it was the fault of the snow that had been falling in Wellington for the first time in years - part of the extreme weather which had been causing all kinds of disruptions to musicians and their activities, with rehearsals having to be being cancelled and transport arrangements rethought. Even as Chamber Music CEO Euan Murdoch was introducing the concert (which was being broadcast nationally) the lights in...