Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Piano trios in sparkling performances by Waikato-based ensemble

By , 27/04/2014
I was surprised to discover how long it seems to be since I heard either Katherine Austin or James Tennant in concert. In fact, a search of Middle C back to October 2008 throws up neither name. However, we've reviewed three or four recitals involving Amalia Hall. Most of my experience of Austin and Tennant in earlier years has been in the chamber music series in Wellington or Lower Hutt and... read more

Audience stands to honour fine performance by Secondary Students’ Choir

I reviewed the choir almost exactly two years ago; now they are here for another school holiday course.  My enthusiasm for their performance has not diminished, nor has the choir’s skill and versatility, despite the changes of personnel in the meantime.  There was a good-sized audience, but the back third of the Cathedral should not have been empty; this choir is deserving of a larger number of listeners.  Choristers... read more

Robbie Ellis – laughter, delight and provocation for lunch…..

By , 23/04/2014
Well, I simply didn't know what to expect! I first got wind of the concert via our Middle C "Coming Events" Calendar, and was duly and unanimously voted by our erstwhile critics' team as "just the man for the job" re a review……preparing myself for literally "anything" (as Harry "Snapper" Organs, the resident detective-sergeant of the Monty Python TV series used to do re his criminal enquiries by reading... read more

RNZ Ballet’s Coppélia – evening of delight and fantasy

By , 17/04/2014
Even if one didn't know anything about the origins of the works involved, it's a simple matter to figure out links between Delibes' wonderful ballet Coppélia, and another French work for the stage, Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffman (The Tales of Hoffman) - each work contains references to mechanical dolls made to masquerade as human beings. In fact both works drew elements of their scenarios from the same source, which was... read more

“Body Beautiful” excites, awe-inspires, and charms as a life’s occupation is celebrated.

By , 14/04/2014
Jack Body celebrates his 70th birthday this year - and he's determined to make the most of this particular anniversary, helped by warmth, acclaim and gratitude from the many people he's come into contact with over the years as a teacher, composer, author, publisher and general advocate for the music of this country in both a Pacific and world-wide context. This particular concert, appropriately titled "Body Beautiful" took place in... read more

A rare conjuction of string octets, Enescu, Shostakovich, Mendelssohn, from the Amici Ensemble

An interesting programme performed by fine musicians is always an attraction – even on a gorgeously sunny, warm day in spring.  That’s what I wrote as the introduction to a September 2012 review of this ensemble.  This time, despite 24deg. last Sunday in Waikanae, it was chilly and damp.  On that 2012 occasion, they played Enescu; this time it was a much more extended work by that composer; Donald... read more

Splendour and Strife from the Wellington Chamber Orchestra

By , 13/04/2014
There’s something about Russian music which makes for a kind of instant combustion of attraction for the listener – it’s a combination of energy, colour, feeling and fantasy that intoxicates the senses, so that other, more abstract considerations seem irrelevant in the midst of all the excitement. And yet, when you force yourself to stop thinking “wow!” and concentrate on “how?” you find the music possesses its own logic... read more

Superb performance of Renaissance Easter music by Tudor Consort

This Lenten programme for Holy Week offered some acknowledged treasures of Renaissance a cappella choral music, with the opening item being the first lesson for Good Friday from the five voice setting of Lassus’ Lamentations. It was a beautifully controlled, contemplative interpretation which established an atmosphere of deep lament, and it was given a breadth of tempo that enabled the cadences to resolve clearly in the echoing acoustic of St... read more

Exhilarating and musicianly recital by senior NZSM students

Duo Cecilia plunged into the opening Saint-Saëns sonata of this concert with a riveting fortissimo attacca that immediately had everyone sitting up in their seats. This impassioned Latin fire blazed through the initial section with unrelenting fervour, then was beautifully contrasted by the following calmer piano episode, where the melodic writing for the lower cello register saw Lucy Gijsbers’ rich, sweet tone sing through with wonderful artistry. The two musicians... read more

Jeffrey Grice – “interprète extraordinaire” at the NZSM

By , 07/04/2014
Christchurch-born Jeffrey Grice studied with Janetta McStay and Brian Sayer at Auckland University, before winning a bursary in 1976 to study in France with Yvonne Loriod and Germaine Mounier. Since that time he has mostly lived in or been closely associated with France, though he's kept his antipodean connections humming with regular advocacy of new works by both Australian and New Zealand composers. Grice's recent Adam Concert Room recital demonstrated... read more

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