Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Engaging guitar performances from mainly junior NZSM students

By , 17/09/2013
This concert was one of a series presented in collaboration with the New Zealand School of Music, to give students opportunities to perform before an audience other than fellow students and teachers. All but one of the players were first or second year students. What impressed here was not, perhaps, impeccable playing or mature insight into the music, but an ability to find their way through music that was... read more

New Zealand String Quartet plays Britten along with kindred spirits

In a recent review I commented on the effect of concerts starting at 7pm on those of us who live out of town.  While I can see a justification, if an early start on a weekday persuades patrons to stay in town after work and go to the concert, I can’t see that justification applying to a Saturday. This concert was the second in a series of two, transferred from... read more

NZ Opera’s Dutchman redeemed by love and music

By , 14/09/2013
Aidan Lang, New Zealand Opera's General Director, put it well in his welcoming foreword to the programme for this production - it's been much longer than the mandatory seven years since the Flying Dutchman last "came ashore" here in New Zealand in search of redemption. In fact, it's been thrice that number of years since the 1992 Auckland Opera production which featured none other than Sir Donald McIntyre in the... read more

Gorgeous concert of New Zealand commissions for voice and harp

Everyone at ‘Pluck’ would have been delighted by what they heard. The works were commissioned by an enterprising Helen Webby, with support from Creative New Zealand.  Most of the composers are New Zealand residents, but several are currently based overseas.  All the works were written for full-size orchestral harp – pedal harp – unless otherwise stated below. Anthony Ritchie’s Angels Flow was certainly apt to its title: evocative, misty, and at the... read more

NZ String Quartet – Britten alongside his heroes

By , 13/09/2013
The New Zealand String Quartet concluded their epic New Zealand Bravo! Britten tour with two Wellington concerts on the weekend, featuring separate programs, of which I was privileged to hear the first one on Friday evening. I feel almost abashed to admit that I would have gone to both concerts had I not been scheduled to attend the opening of Wagner's "Flying Dutchman' the following evening! Of course both Britten... read more

Sunny moods and bitter grief at lunchtime at St Andrew’s

By , 11/09/2013
When I reviewed the Koru Trio’s performance of Schubert’s B Flat piano trio last October, I exclaimed at the blessings that were available to the legions of public servants in the vicinity of St Andrew’s who could recover their sanity and humanity (words to that effect) in their lunch breaks at these wonderful lunchtime concerts. I was one of them till the late 1980s, but I see very few... read more

Fancies and realities from Orchestra Wellington

By , 08/09/2013
Restricted as to performing venues on account of the capital's various earthquake-generated strengthening projects, Orchestra Wellington triumphantly made good in the Opera House on Sunday afternoon with its most recent concert, La Donna Ideale, whatever difficulties might have arisen from having to make music in relatively unfamiliar spaces. By covering the pit and extending the floor area of the stage to well out in front of the proscenium arch the... read more

Il Corsaro – a New Zealand premiere, but not the Australasian one

By , 07/09/2013
In the review I sent to Opera magazine (London) of the New Zealand School of Music’s production of Il Corsaro in July, I wrote not only that was it the New Zealand premiere but surmised that it was probably the Australian premiere too. Browsing for something else I have come across a listing of earlier performances of Il Corsaro in Australia, by the small Melbourne City Opera – in November... read more

Diverting variety in sparkling arrangements for reed quintet, Category Five

By , 01/09/2013
The first thing that struck me as I sat down at this concert was the good sized audience: more, I think, than most of the evening concerts that I’ve attended in Lower Hutt recently. I guess the committee will be wondering about the wisdom of shifting their concert times, though that could lead to the risk of clashes with the increasing number of other concerts that are attaching themselves... read more

Stroma – the Elemental and the Fabulous

By , 01/09/2013
Well, we can't say we weren't warned (those of us who read the program note before the concert, that is….)….short of resorting to an official rubber-stamped, or publicly-broadcast Government Health Warning, the accompanying note did made it quite clear regarding the salient characteristics of the two items written by Greek-born, French-naturalised composer Iannis Xenakis which framed this extraordinary Stroma concert: "….these works are unprecedented in their raw power and... read more

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