Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

English anthems straddling 1600 offer rich and satisfying concert from voices and viols

By , 29/05/2016
Verse anthems are the English equivalents of the Latin or French motet or Lutheran cantata. They were not just an early music genre, but continued to be composed till modern times. The Bach Choir recently sang an English verse anthem, in Parry’s Hear my Words, Ye People. In Tudor times they were particularly prolific. All of the anthems and harpsichord pieces in this concert came from the Elizabethan and Stuart... read more

Youth Choir farewell concert before tour to Europe and a competition in Czech Republic

The choir is shortly to depart on an overseas tour, mainly in Europe and the United Kingdom, and including a choral competition in the Czech Republic. This was one of two farewell concerts; the other is to be in Auckland on 26 June. There were plenty of people to wish the choir well on its travels – virtually a capacity audience. The concert began with the choir slowly processing into... read more

The Magic Flute in brilliant production, with mainly New Zealand cast of polish and energy

By , 28/05/2016
This production that has engaged a number of young and highly promising New Zealand singers (only three from overseas), was probably among the most spectacular (and expensive I imagine) ever seen in New Zealand. Happily, it also succeeded in capturing the essential qualities of this hybrid work. It combines singspiel, comic opera, mime, vaudeville, employing a text that mixes Masonic ritual and ancient Egyptian religion, a touch of Christianity... read more

Diverting harp duo recital affected by too much musical competition

This harp duo was enjoyed by all those present, but the atrocious weather and the number of other music events on in the city may have contributed to the rather small audience – approx. 40 people. The Thomas piece made a good opening work for the concert with its robust tones, demonstrating that harps are not just other-worldly instruments. The beginning could have been a hymn tune, with cheerful chords... read more

Viola central to an interesting programme of student performances from three centuries

My apologies if I have not got the first performers’ names correctly; they were not in the printed programme, but were announced at the beginning of the concert. However, a person behind me was talking on a cellphone at the time, and I could not hear them properly. I made enquiries at the end of the concert, but this has meant my interpreting another person’s handwriting – possibly not... read more

Alexander Gavrylyuk – great pianism at Waikanae

By , 22/05/2016
From the moment Alexander Gavrylyuk played the very first note of Schubert's adorable A Major Sonata D.664 on the Waikanae Music Society's wonderful Fazioli piano, I felt we were in for a performance which seemed more than ready to explore and convey from the outset something of this music’s whole-hearted intensity and volatility, from the lyricism of the beginning which contrasted tellingly with the “sturm-und-drang” episodes of the development... read more

Enso String Quartet highly impressive in all eras particularly 20th century France

By , 20/05/2016
One of the first things that many people would have asked about this concert, was ‘what’s the name mean or is an acronym for?’ Nowhere in the programme could I find the answer. However, their website does ‘sort-of’ explain: “The ensemble’s name is derived from the Japanese Zen painting of the circle, which represents many things: perfection and imperfection, the moment of chaos that is creation, the emptiness of the void... read more

Unusual trios for contrasted groups, influenced disparately by viola d’amore and the Holocaust

By , 18/05/2016
This lunchtime concert combined two young chamber groups in music that touched on tragic themes and conditions of the heart, physical and emotional. Perhaps they were to be seen as metaphysically linked. We have heard several performances by Donald Maurice’s Archi d’amore Zelanda; the last let us hear both the viola d’amore and the modern viola; in fact the last outing was just a fortnight ago, as part of an... read more

Bach Choir offers rewarding looks into Purcell, Mozart and later English music

By , 15/05/2016
This concert had been scheduled for Saturday 16 April but, as explained by conductor Peter de Blois, there was an organ problem which required an organ transplant (probably a hoary one for organists). De Blois also announced another change; the tenor was indisposed and so his place was taken by the conductor who happened, fortuitously, to be vocally equipped in a suitable way. Purcell’s Te Deum Laudamus and Jubilate Deo The earlier... read more

Marvellous programme of string sextets from Amici Ensemble and Wellington Chamber Music

It is heartening and impressive to see that a New Zealand composer has written 185 opus numbers and indeed, as I write, Anthony Ritchie’s flute concerto is being broadcast on Radio New Zealand Concert. His Sextet was commissioned this year by Christopher Marshall for the Amici Ensemble. This work is apparently a follow-on from his octet, appropriately named ‘Octopus’. Taking the first syllable of the new work’s grouping might... read more

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