Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Edo de Waart and Ronald Brautigam confirm stature: symphonic conductor and Mozartian pianist

By , 29/10/2016
Ronald Brautigam’s is not exactly a household name and his performance history is impressively confined largely to Mozart and Beethoven, though not always in performances with high profile conductors or orchestras. Most of his playing is on the fortepiano of the age of Mozart and early Beethoven. While that partly explains his relative obscurity to the popular audience, it doesn’t detract from his high reputation among those who take their... read more

Celebrity organ (and viola) recital at St James, Lower Hutt

It was a pity that this recital was scheduled for the same night as a New Zealand Symphony Orchestra concert, which undoubtedly affected audience numbers. Nevertheless, a varied and interesting programme was enjoyed by those who attended. Arvo Pärt’s Fratres is familiar in sundry instrumentations. Here was an unusual version, for viola and organ. It opened with the viola playing solo, high up towards the fingerboard. This was very effective... read more

Galvanic lunch hour with the Rangapu Duo at St.Andrew’s

By , 26/10/2016
The names of both performers in this lunchtime concert at St.Andrew’s were new to me, each of them being Hamilton-based musicians, though I ought to have remembered that Liam Wooding was a prizewinner at Christchurch in 2015 at the National Concerto Competition. His duo partner, Noelle Dannenbring, for her part won the University of Waikato Concerto Competition earlier this year. Currently, both are studying at the University under the... read more

Orchestra Wellington’s fifth concert excels with last works of Berlioz, Bartok and Tchaikovsky (almost)

By , 15/10/2016
This was the once-a-year event for the young musicians involved with the Hutt Valley Arohanui Strings, the project inspired by the famous Venezuelan institution, El Sistema. They filed in after some of Orchestra Wellington’s players had taken their seats: the more advanced ones taking seats alongside a professional player as mentor; the beginners spread across the front of the stage – some of them looked aged about four. They... read more

Max Reger – The Romantic Bach? – splendid advocacy from Bruce Cash

By , 14/10/2016
This was the second of three lecture/recitals on the life and works of German composer Max Reger (1873-1916) by organist and choral conductor Bruce Cash. On the strength of this experience with the music of a relatively neglected composer, I found myself wishing I'd gone to the first of Cash's presentations earlier this year, and will certainly go to the third one, scheduled for March 2017. Fashions have a disconcerting... read more

Revelatory chamber music experiences from London Conchord Ensemble

By , 13/10/2016
An overseas ensemble of eight distinguished players is a rare event for Chamber Music New Zealand, even more so when most are principal players in leading British orchestras, chamber groups or music academies; an ensemble as various in backgrounds and careers as the music they played. They never all played together, apart from the encore, party pieces: bits of Brahms’s Hungarian dances. Other than at the concerts in the four... read more

Wellington Youth Orchestra and Simon Brew – playing for keeps

By , 11/10/2016
From the first solo ‘cello note of the Wellington Youth Orchestra’s performance of the “William Tell” Overture, I was spellbound – I’d never heard that opening ascending phrase speak more eloquently and poetically. Naturally, I couldn’t straight-away rustle about in my seat turning my programme’s pages to discover who the ‘cellist was - which was good, because my attention wasn’t then diverted from the playing of the other individual... read more

Streeton Trio, at Waikanae, offers persuasive, unfamiliar music but lacked a masterpiece

By , 09/10/2016
The Streeton Piano Trio was named for the important Australian painter Arthur Streeton, though I don’t know whether there was any reason for making the connection with the visual arts. The trio has twice toured New Zealand before, in 2012 and 2013, when they made a very good impression; Middle C reviewed their concerts at Waikanae. Mozart dropped for Debussy Their advertised programme had begun with Mozart’s early trio in G... read more

America: NZSO performances of brilliant new violin concerto plus Dvořák in New York and Reich in minimalist heaven

By , 08/10/2016
Once upon a time to have scheduled the New World Symphony would have guaranteed a pretty full house in spite of its being accompanied by unfamiliar music. But sometimes I think that as the years pass, the general public is becoming, not more open and adventurous, and simply ‘well-informed’ in the arts, and music too, but less in all those spheres. And there are various reasons: slavery to the flat... read more

Adventures in great music both well-known and unknown, marks strong revival by Cantoris

By , 02/10/2016
In many ways, an appealing way to design a programme: two of Mozart’s best-loved choral works and one obscure, but as it emerged, beautiful piece by an almost totally unknown composer. Emanuele d’Astorga was born in Sicily in 1680, in perhaps the most fruitful and brilliant decade in the whole history of western classical music – the decade of Vivaldi, Telemann, Rameau, Bach, Handel, Biber, Geminiani, Pachelbel, Domenico Scarlatti... read more

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