Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

The Royal NZ Ballet’s Swan Lake – classic and freshly-minted

By , 18/07/2013
This was opening night of the season, and I had not seen a performance of Swan Lake in the theatre for many years – so I was, one might say, on this occasion, energized, expectant and attuned. It was a special occasion in a much wider sense as well – sixty years ago Danish emigre Poul Gnatt, who had been a principal with the Royal Danish Ballet, set up the... read more

Variable winds at St.Andrew’s over lunchtime

This lunchtime programme was a rare opportunity to hear live performances of these wonderful wind ensembles from Mozart’s pen. They were presented with the assurance one would expect from such seasoned musicians, who clearly revelled in the chance to present these works. K 375 was first composed in 1781 for wind sextet (without oboes) and performed outdoors in several Salzburg locations on the evening of a lady’s name day... read more

Mellifluous flute and piano at St.Andrew’s

By , 10/07/2013
A thoroughly invigorating music-listening experience! - most appropriately for a middle-of-the-day concert, this had an engaging "borne-on-air" quality, as much to do with the playing of two consummate artists as with the instruments and repertoire. Hannah Sassman plays flute with both the NZSO and Orchestra Wellington as a freelance musician, and teaches the instrument to a number of advanced students. She's currently a music librarian with RNZ Concert, and recently completed... read more

Enterprising take on the year’s anniversaries with Wellington Chamber Orchestra

By , 07/07/2013
2013 is the two hundredth anniversary of the births of Verdi and Wagner and the centenary of Britten’s. Here was an ingenious concert that included pieces from the early years of each composer as well as music written to mark the deaths of the three. Some were fairly obvious, others obscure and interesting, if not great works. Those in the habit of listening to Radio New Zealand Concert after midnight will... read more

Beauty and truth from Amici at Waikanae

The Waikanae Music Society has formed a laudable habit of commissioning a new work to celebrate each of its fifth-ending anniversaries.  Jack Body and Kenneth Young have both had commissions; this time it was the turn of Christopher Blake.  Most laudable, too, is the length of time for which its committee members have served; President Helen Guthrie has been on the committee for 29 years! The programme began with Mozart... read more

Capital Choir – joys and travails through Solstice and Winter

By , 07/07/2013
There's such a lot of pleasure to be had in singing, and especially if one is musical but doesn't perhaps command any experience or great expertise on an instrument other than the voice. And for people like myself who can hear music and enjoy it but would seriously baulk at the thought of making individually-exposed sounds themeslves, there's safety in numbers in the shape and form of membership of a... read more

Magnificent Nordic programme from NZSO, Vänskä and Currie

By , 05/07/2013
Osmo Vänskä’s name first came to my notice as conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra in a series of Sibelius symphonies that returned to the composer’s original versions. Even though the consensus was generally that Sibelius’s further thoughts were best, there were interesting revelations; in any case, the performances were acknowledged as powerful and highly motivated. Though in his conversation with Eva Radich on Radio New Zealand Concert's Upbeat, Vänskä hinted... read more

Young Musicians enliven lunchtime at St.Andrew’s

This concert featured members of the N.Z. School of Music Young Musicians Programme, which provides opportunities for gifted young people to work with the cream of New Zealand performers, composers and music educators, as well as overseas visitors, faculty staff and gifted post-graduate NZSM students. Seven performers contributed to a well rounded programme which demonstrated that there is no shortage of well trained, able younger musicians coming up the... read more

Quintessential winds at Old St.Paul’s

To be able to hear music of such interesting variety and high standard at a free concert is a privilege indeed. The Ibert pieces were a great way to start.  They were quirky Ibert at full play, in the opening dance-like Allegro.  There were many fast runs for the smaller instruments, and leaping intervals for the bassoon.  The Andante began as a duet for clarinet and flute, with charming interweaving... read more

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