Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Saxophone feast from the New Zealand School of Music

The Bach aria which opened this concert must be one of the most sublime vocal duos ever written, and it has been sung with breathtaking beauty by all the great oratorio artists. Hence it has to be a very demanding challenge to achieve a successful transcription for saxophones. The power of the original is such that I found it impossible to banish that version from my mind, and hear... read more

Youth and experience: organ-playing at St John’s, Willis St.

It was interesting to be treated to a recital by two female organists, one a young student, the other long-experienced and highly expert.  However, the latter is currently a student too, working towards a doctorate (Doctor of Musical Arts) at Victoria University. In St. John’s Church, with its fine wooden architecture, both external and internal, sits a splendid organ which needs some money spent on it to keep it in... read more

Tests of character – Wellington Chamber Music recital from Ludwig Treviranus

By , 28/09/2014
Midway through pianist Ludwig Treviranus's recent St.Andrew's recital I was ready to tell anybody who would listen that this was shaping up to be a concert in a thousand - the Paul Schramm Preludes represented for me a major pianistic discovery, and I'd never heard parts of Ravel's Miroirs played better by anybody, in concert or on record. Of course, I needed at that stage to bear in mind one... read more

SMP Ensemble – Sound Barrel a “lucky dip” for this listener!

By , 26/09/2014
That enterprising and congenitally provocative performing group, the SMP Ensemble presented a characteristic program for our delight and fascination at the Adam Concert Room last Friday evening. Every piece on the program brought its own specific amalgam of spontaneity and thoughtfulness to bear on both the recreative process and the audience's receptivity - a kind of "expect the unexpected" ethos whose attendant challenges, bewilderments and satisfactions truly "spiced up" the... read more

NZSM Classical Guitar students square up to a challenging recital

This brief concert was a welcome opportunity to hear again the talents of the NZSM Classical Guitar students under the tutelage of director Dr. Jane Curry. The full ensemble consisted of fifteen players, of whom four were guest members from the School’s pre-tertiary programme. The recital comprised a wide variety of works that spanned the “Golden Age” of Elizabethan lute music, the Baroque, and the 19th and 20th centuries The... read more

New Zealand String Quartet – soirée in a salon

By , 21/09/2014
I've reproduced above the entire programme played by the New Zealand String Quartet at its second Wellington "Salon Series" concert, to give readers who weren't there an idea of the range and scope of the music performed - there was, literally, something for everybody, as the group's intention was to put together a presentation that would charm the ear of the newcomer to chamber music as well as intrigue... read more

NZSM’s “A Night at the Opera” generates a feast

By , 19/09/2014
Earlier last week I had the good fortune to catch Radio NZ Concert's "Upbeat" interview with Margaret Medlyn, one of the tutors of Classical Voice at the NZ School of Music in Wellington. She spoke about the then oncoming "Night at the Opera" presentation involving the voice students and featuring arias and ensembles from well-known operas and operettas. She said that the concert's semi-staged aspect with costumes and lighting... read more

Nota Bene splendidly celebrates its 10th Anniversary

I was sorry that Nota Bene chamber choir chose to sing on a Sunday - Chamber Music New Zealand had that day also joined the Sunday afternoon gang (in the latter’s case, 5pm), so I could not attend both concerts.  Next Sunday (21 September) there are no fewer than five classical music concerts in and around Wellington; Middle C cannot review them all, and to the extent that the... read more

Eggner Trio and Amihai Grosz win all hearts

The Eggner sibling trio of Georg (violin), Florian (cello) and Christoph (piano) presented this programme with viola player, Amihai Grosz, Principal Viola of the Berlin Philharmonic and a founding member of the Jerusalem String Quartet. I had not heard the Eggner group before, but from the very opening lines of the Mozart it was obvious why they are firmly established in the forefront of chamber ensembles today. Viola associate Amihai Grosz... read more

Douglas Mews at the organ – St.John’s, Willis St

St. John’s Church is hosting three organ recitals this month, on Sunday afternoons, of which this was the first.  They celebrate National Organ Month, and also are a vehicle for raising money for the upkeep of the fine Lewis organ at St. John’s. Unfortunately, on this Sunday and the next, there are numerous competing concerts.  Thus, a rather small audience was little reward for the work that had gone into... read more

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