Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

The Ginger Series tackles classical music with a captivating, oblique apologia

By , 27/11/2013
One has waited quite a while for this brilliant little series of monographs to find a writer able to deal with what the media likes to suggest is about the most intractable (and irrelevant) of artistic fields: classical music. The many subjects covered so far have included such quirky topics as bird watching, watching video games, how to pick a winner, fishing, as well as more serious matters like listening to... read more

Eclectic Christmas music from the choir with audience sing- along too

The programme for this concert comprised brackets of Christmas choral music sung by the Orpheus Choir, interspersed with groups of sing-along carols for both choristers and audience. There was a very good turnout, with lots of youngsters, and overflow standing at the back. Two concerts were scheduled for the afternoon, as the marae is only a modest space, especially for a choir of 150 members. Ding Dong Merrily on High... read more

NZSO basses inflict huge entertainment and risks to the building

The Big Six would have to be the most engaging concert I have been to in 2013. It was pure, unbridled celebration of the contrabass instrument by six NZSO players whose overflowing enthusiasm and wonderful audience rapport had the many children and adults transported with them. Music was never more fun, and making that music on a bass was undoubtedly the most fun way to do it. The players ranged... read more

Two woodwinds, two strings, in varied concert from Nikau Trio plus

By , 20/11/2013
There is a belief in chamber music circles that you stage groups involving wind instruments or singers at your peril. A strange notion that suggests that the same sort of closed mind operates within some groups of classical music lovers that they scorn in those fixated by pop music who won’t open their ears to classical music. I was present when the Wellington Chamber Music Society started its Sunday afternoon... read more

Italian Embassy sponsors fine recital by violin and piano duo

A free concert of this standard is a rare event, so it was disappointing that there was not a larger audience to hear the duo perform – or to partake of the excellent pre-concert refreshments provided by the Italian Embassy, who sponsored the hour-long concert. That said, we do have a plethora of concerts at this time of year, and we do have very fine violinists locally, including Martin Riseley... read more

Orchestra Wellington – breathlessly exciting Beethoven and Bernstein

This was the fourth and final subscription concert presented this year by Orchestra Wellington. The slow introduction to Beethoven’s Leonore No.3 overture was beautifully crafted, with Marc Taddei eliciting exquisite phrasing and riveting dynamic contrasts from the players, and creating an almost breathless anticipation of the arresting theme to follow. It burst forth with wonderful colour and drama, but it was conducted, sadly, at such breakneck speed that the... read more

Unusual, enterprising concert centring on Britten and Helen Webby’s harp

Sixth in a series of concerts celebrating universal themes, the concert featured Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, celebrating the composer’s centenary year.  It was split into two, to open and close the performance. Between these two parts were no fewer than seven specially commissioned works for voices and harp – how unusual and enterprising!  I don’t suppose I have ever before been to a concert comprising entirely music accompanied by... read more

Ya-Ting Liou – delight and triumph amid near-empty spaces

By , 16/11/2013
I had thought at first that last night's poor attendance at pianist Melanie Lina's St.Andrew's recital was the fault of a kind of "Friday night" syndrome. As it transpired, I had singled out Friday most unfairly, because this evening (Saturday) less than half last night's already meagre number turned out to hear pianist Ya-Ting Liou. It's true that neither of  the pianists were "names" to conjure with as far... read more

Melanie Lina – great playing reaching all too few ears at St.Andrew’s

By , 15/11/2013
How unfortunate that, in the wake of Michael Houstoun's extended weekend of Beethoven Sonata performances at the MFC, which was followed immediately by this present Piano+ series at St.Andrew's in Wellington, the capital's music-going public seemed to have "run out of steam" after three of the five nights of concerts. It was probably a case of event overload, but each of the two remaining occasions, both of them notable piano... read more

Delights from Emma Sayers and NZSO principal violin and horn, in ‘Piano Plus’

By , 14/11/2013
The third of these enterprising concerts which have been mounted to help in the church’s rebuilding programme: the project is in its third stage which involves new public facilities to make the church a more attractive place for all kinds of social and cultural activities: a green room, reception area, toilets, meeting space, disability access and other amenities. This evening was the centre-piece of the series in some ways: it fell... read more

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