Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Momentous performances of Beethoven violin sonatas: the third and fourth recitals

By , 31/08/2017
My only knowledge of an earlier full cycle of Beethoven’s violin sonatas is at the first New Zealand International Festival of the Arts in 1986. They were played by Maurice Hasson and Maurice Till, in three recitals: two in the old Concert Chamber of the Town Hall and the third, which included the Kreutzer, in the main auditorium of the Town Hall. The old concert chamber, for those whose... read more

Camerata’s beguiling “What’s in a name?” concert of Haydn and Mozart

By , 31/08/2017
Founded in 2015 by the late and lamented Ian Lyons with colleague Liz Pritchett, Camerata is a group of musicians dedicated to the idea of making "high quality, joyful chamber music, accessible to aficionados and newcomers to classical music". Led by Anne Loeser, a violinist with the NZSO, the group consists of an amalgam of NZSO,Orchestra Wellington and Wellington Chamber Orchestra members, including in this evening's concert a number... read more

Compressed, alternative version of Mozart’s Figaro treated with wit and flair

Although only a few weeks ago Eternity Opera put on Mozart’s famous opera at the Hannah Playhouse, this was something very different.  Georgia Jamieson Emms’s group are to perform a fully-staged production of their show on 20 and 22 October at St. Matthew’s Collegiate, Masterton, then next summer take it on tour.  A good-sized audience was present for the concert, despite Houstoun and Hristova performing Beethoven at the other... read more

Beethoven violin sonata series: Spring – molto espressivo – and its companion sonata are a delight

We are fortunate indeed to have a full week (Monday to Friday) of these wonderful sonatas.   Having them performed in the Renouf Foyer proved to be an excellent decision – not so large and cavernous as the main auditorium, but still seating a large number of people; my rough calculation came to upwards of 300, and nearly all the available chairs filled. Both sonatas were composed 1800-1801, for the wealthy... read more

BEETHOVEN Violin and Piano Sonata Series – a feast for Wellingtonians!

By , 28/08/2017
Beethoven's Violin Sonatas don't span the composer's creative output as imposingly as do his efforts in some of the other genres - within the short space of six years (between 1797 and 1803) he was to write nine out of the ten completed works for violin and piano, and the final single work a decade later. However, he had attempted a work for the two instruments as a fledgling... read more

Delightful singing by combined Wainuiomata and Capital choirs in Catholic cathedral

Capital Choir opened the programme with a piece by former long-serving choir director, Felicia Edgecombe, with words by choir member Rachel McAlpine.  I had not heard the performance in 2015 of the full song cycle, but this was a pleasing taste.  Like most of the programme, the piece was sung with appropriate tone and mood, but occasionally, especially early on in each work or movement, intonation slipped.  Not severely... read more

NZSO and Edo de Waart’s outstanding performance of Damnation of Faust

Berlioz was a non-conformist, musically.  In an ironic twist, the otherwise excellent programme notes said he ‘flaunted rules and regulations’ whereas in fact he flouted them, falling out with audience and critics in the process.  The work that was the entire programme of this NZSO concert demonstrated to the full the composer’s very different  music from that composed by his contemporaries and recent predecessors. The work required a large orchestra;... read more

“New Look” NZ Trio performs old and new at Wellington City Gallery

By , 22/08/2017
NZTrio are undergoing a dramatic change. With the departure of foundation member Justine Cormack, attention at this concert was inevitably centred on the replacement violinist for this tour, Natalie Lin, a New Zealander currently living in Texas. She immediately impressed in the vigorous opening of the Bax trio with her strong, confident tone, going on to duet lyrically with Ashley Brown’s warm dark cello. This was densely-written, lush late-Romantic... read more

Kent McIntosh, Bianca Andrew with Catherine Norton: German and Swedish songs and Janáček’s remarkable cycle

By , 19/08/2017
The first half of this recital – Lieder - was given to mezzo Bianca Andrew while the Janáček was sung (mainly) by Kent McIntosh. To devote the song part to Lieder in German and Swedish (and an American-German) was to lend it very comforting variety, and filled the time to an hour. It might have been decided that Janáček could be accompanied by other Czech or Slavonic songs, which could... read more

Beautiful Lieder recital from Maaike Christie-Beekmann, viola and piano

By , 16/08/2017
I wondered whether it was quite appropriate to review this recital, because, before she began, mezzo Maaike Christie-Beekman had explained that a voice problem might not allow her to get very far through the published programme. I think her tactics were sensible when she began with the two Brahms songs, rather than with Schumann’s eight-song cycle which she then approached. And she abandoned Wolf’s Mignon songs (from Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister)... read more

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