Nota Bene chamber choir appeared to be a little larger than it has sometimes been, but not all singers sang in all items. Once again it grabbed the attention and held it, with a varied programme incorporating diverse instruments as well as the voices, sometimes women’s only.
Again, Peter Walls was guest conductor, and his vigorous yet sensitive conducting bore out a comment in his biography in the printed programme...
Pines of Rome
. The opening Roman Festivals
suite immediately opened the doors to Respighi’s wonderfully inventive orchestration, which here covers the whole gamut of colourful and dynamic... read more
The huge Respighi tone poems in this concert were works that exhibited the fullest orchestral resources of the NZSO, expanding it beyond 100 with guest players, not to mention the further addition of the Wellington Brass Band for the finale of the
"Something for everybody who remembers the war" might have been a way of describing much of this presentation, with items ranging in emotion from the downright sentimentality of popular song to the unspeakable horrors of nuclear conflagration. As well, there were pieces with less specific associations, ranging from folk-ballads to finely-wrought meditations on life and death. Rather like everyday life, a bit of a hotch-potch – though in the...
and Marche Joyeuse
would acquit himself in the realm of keyboard music, though I wasn't expecting much beyond what the title suggested - "picturesque pieces" was my schoolboy French translation... read more
This was one of those concerts whose first item (quite apart from other, later revelations) I didn't really see coming - true, I was intrigued at the thought of hearing how the composer of orchestral classics such as
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
. Kenneth Young set a whacking pace for the Overture
but the players rose confidently to the challenge with exemplary clarity in the demanding high speed pianissimo
passagework, excellent intonation, and effective balance within the orchestral forces. The phrasing and dynamics of the more poetic sections were thoughtful and musical throughout, as were those of... read more
This interesting and varied programme opened with Mendelssohn’s incidental music for
Cellist Jozef Lupták came to New Zealand primarily, I suppose, to play Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra; I see he also gave concerts at Rangiora, Dunedin, Rotorua. He was also enticed to visit the New Zealand School of Music to give a masterclass on Thursday and a short recital on Friday 21 March.
His recital started and ended with excerpts from Bach’s cello suites: first, no 3...
It was only a month earlier that Jonathan Berkahn was at St Andrew’s playing both the church’s organs, and one is used to his appearing more discreetly, accompanying choirs and small ensembles.
Here, Jonathan was more centre stage, wielding his piano accordion, though he was also at the piano keyboard sometimes, stage left, and handling a recorder. As well as playing, he demonstrated a talent as compere and musicologist as...
Consisting entirely of English music from the seventeenth century, the concert brought unfamiliar sounds and compositions to light. Sarah Mead is a visiting professor from Brandeis University in Massachusetts, while the other performers are well-known in Wellington for their advocacy and performance of early music.
Despite a programme note about the lyra viol and a brief explanation from Sarah Mead, I was left confused about this instrument, in view of...
To programme some of the weightiest pieces of orchestral music at lunchtime might have seemed strange behaviour. Were the festival’s and the orchestra’s managements not alert to the usual view that noon-time music should be light and easy?
This last of the Five by Five symphonies played at lunchtime concerts by the NZSO attracted a smaller audience than the other two I heard; I think that might be because Shostakovich...
is regarded as the country’s premier percussion ensemble and the performance was promoted in the Festival programme as “Inspired by ancient and modern rhythms – from tribal beats to dubstep – Between Zero and One
was written for Strike by internationally renowned New Zealand composer John Psathas…….. Intimate moments will draw you in – the epic finale will blow your mind.” The programme comprised a series of items for... read more