Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Marc Taddei and NZSO with a splendid Sibelius Fifth

For those of us who have always been in love with Sibelius’s unique sound, this concert was a lunchtime treat; for those not so afflicted, it should have resulted in recruiting new disciples.  Over the last seven or eight years, the wonderful radio series Letter to Sibelius by Marshall Walker, broadcast twice in its entirety during that time and with individual programmes frequently requested on ‘Your Choice’ on RNZ... read more

Ancient Mariner Rime watered-down, though stunning to look at

By , 09/03/2014
This was an evening which, on the face of things, promised much, with a presentation that, right from the outset, looked terrific, but then didn’t go on to adequately develop the musical and contextual possibilities afforded by these arresting visual images. I’d not seen but had heard about the group’s previous appearance at the New Zealand Festival in 2000 with the anarchic musical Shockheaded Peter, and so was looking... read more

Admirable, engaging performance of Noye’s Fludde in the Festival’s periphery

The production of Britten’s community opera, written in 1957, in a large venue with a huge cast of singers and instrumentalists was a major undertaking, and all acquitted themselves well. Although it appeared that the majority of the audience consisted of parents and grandparents of cast members, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and the participants had a valuable experience of taking part in such a show, where everyone must know their... read more

Festival’s return to lunchtime concerts, now with the NZSO and Tchaikovsky, a triumph

This was one of five lunchtime concerts by the NZSO performing the fifth symphonies of Beethoven, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius and Shostakovich. They were promoted as “famous fifth symphonies that are known for capturing the voice of the composer” and this is certainly the case for the Tchaikovsky. Hamish McKeich guided the orchestra with consummate musicianship through a reading that explored the ultimate heights and depths of the great Russian... read more

Bach Collegium Japan leaves audience wanting much more after Bach Lutheran masses

The magical performance by the Bach Collegium Japan under its inspiring Director, Masaaki Suzuki, left one wanting more.  Indeed, the Festival programme led us to believe we would get more, listing the duration as “2hrs 20mins (no interval)” despite an Interval being listed just above that.  However, it was not to be.  The concert lasted one hour and 40 minutes, including an interval. Compared with the previous evening’s St. John... read more

Bach’s St John Passion from Masaaki Suzuki’s Bach Collegium Japan

Formed in 1990 to introduce Japanese audiences to great works from the Baroque period, Bach Collegium Japan has since toured the world and appeared at major festivals including the BBC Proms and Edinburgh Festival. Musical Director Masaaki Suzuki is regarded as an international authority on the work of Bach. The ensemble he chose for this performance comprised some 18 singers and 19 instrumentalists, with vocal soloists being drawn from... read more

Gunter Herbig and his Brazilian-German guitar at St Andrew’s lunchtime recital

By , 05/03/2014
Gunther Herbig has been a distinguished figure in Wellington music for some years and was for a time head of classical guitar at the New Zealand School of Music; he remains in Wellington though now teaching at Auckland University. His background – born in Brazil and growing up in Portugal and Germany – gives him a unique background as a musician and guitarist, obviously in both linguistic and musical... read more

Schubert with the NZSO – head held high in symphonic company

By , 03/03/2014
Had Marc Taddei and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra given us only the symphony in this, the second of the orchestra's innovative "Five-by-Five" lunchtime concerts, it would have been a brief, if still delightful affair - but help was forthcoming, courtesy of the same composer's equally winning Overture to "Rosamunde", music whose stern, dramatic opening served to quickly focus our thoughts on the musical matters in hand. It all... read more

Festival opera Ainadamar semi-staged but powerful, strongly cast and magnificently performed

By , 02/03/2014
In spite of the many attempts by composers of the present day to use contemporary issues and events as subjects for opera, few have survived more than an opening season of performances.  For by determining to display a command of the concepts and fashions that musical academia has developed and made de rigueur for a composer who wants to be taken seriously by his peers,  most have failed to... read more

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