Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Entertaining concert, mixing symphony with jazz and a witty film score from Wellington Chamber Orchestra

By , 24/09/2017
One might have considered this an unorthodox programme, starting with a well-known Mozart symphony, ending with Prokofiev’s delightful Lieutenent Kije Suite and in between, songs by Mussorgsky and two jazz standards. The Mozart symphony is known as the 'Little G minor' Symphony to distinguish it from the big one, No 40. But it became easier to distinguish after its arresting opening was used as the introduction to the fictitious, misleading... read more

At St Mary’s, Karori: viola and organ music drawn from Bach, Elgar and an obscure York Minster organist

A rather small audience enjoyed a ‘Bach sandwich’ as the artists described it.  The opening work, played by viola and organ immediately impressed with the euphonious tone of the viola, which one so seldom hears played solo, or with simply an accompaniment.  Flute tones from the organ were a sufficient contrast to allow the viola to really speak with its own voice.  It was described by the person introducing... read more

Two pianists: rapport, stamina, poetry at NZSM Adam Concert Room

Lucky we were to attend this lunchtime concert at New Zealand School of Music. It was luminous in several respects. Firstly the choice of programme – three works, by Schubert, Hindemith and Debussy. … with pithy and pertinent verbal introductions by Hamish Robb before each piece. Not every musician has this gift of communication, to wear his learning lightly in talking about composition in a way that makes audience feel drawn in... read more

NZSM voice students in admirable and highly varied recital at St Andrew’s

By , 20/09/2017
We are at that time of the year, when music students are welcomed at St Andrew’s to given them some public exposure in connection with their end-of-year assessments. Here we heard six students at varying stages of their studies. Most of them had been seen in the past year or so in the school’s and other opera productions, particularly in the recent Cunning Little Vixen which had such a... read more

Diverting three-quarter hour of flute-flavoured song: Barbara Graham, Rebecca Steel, Fiona McCabe

By , 19/09/2017
For a somewhat bigger-than-average audience including, I gather, a contingent from a retirement village, all three performers contributed commentary mixing erudition with light-heartedness. So we began with references to Handel’s ode, or oratorio, L’Allegro, Il Penseroso ed il Moderato, sung by Barbara Graham. The oratorio was based on Milton’s poem of a century earlier, entitled ‘L’Allegro-Il Penseroso’, which was enlarged at the prompting of Handel’s friends, with a portrait... read more

Outstanding concert for peace, of Renaissance music, plus Arvo Pärt, plus momentous New Zealand work

A substantial audience heard a most innovative and rewarding concert from the ever-reliable Tudor Consort.  An unusually large dose of contemporary music was adorned with Renaissance music, in a concert marking International Day of Peace (21 September). It began with a setting by Italian Carlo Gesualdo (1566-1613) of ‘Da pacem Domine’.  As Michael Stewart said in his pre-concert talk, this composer was ahead of his time; his writing for choirs... read more

A whole lot more than the girl next door – Ali Harper as Doris Day at Circa in Wellington

By , 16/09/2017
To my surprise, a friend I was recently speaking to about my theatre-going plans said, "Doris Day? Why would you want to go to a show about her?" It was a generational thing, I suspect - I counted myself lucky to have "caught" Doris Day at the end of her active career during the 1960s, whereas my friend, a dozen years younger, thought herself fortunate - obviously by heresay... read more

University cellists bring ensemble to St Andrew’s lunchtime concert series

A well-filled church was treated to a very enjoyable concert performed by the New Zealand School of Music cello ensemble, made up of current and past cello students of the NZSM.  It opened with supremely well-played Bach, performed by Olivia Wilding.   There were a few slight lapses of intonation in this difficult music, but the cellist’s playing was highly competent and confident, her tone and volume excellent. She was followed... read more

NZSM students give insightful performances of New Zealand music and pieces by Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms and Barber

By , 12/09/2017
We’ve been neglecting Old St Paul’s lunchtime concerts this year, and so I was glad to find a good audience for this varied exhibition of NZSM piano talent. It began with Amanda Bunting who played two pieces: the first movement of Beethoven’s Tempest sonata (Op 31 No 2) and Samuel Barber’s Excursions, first movement. Though the Tempest is obviously still a work in progress, with quite a lot of slips... read more

New Zealand Youth Choir delivers excellent concert, though absence of a major work regretted

The cover of the programme appeared to be the poster advertising the choir, but I did not see it anywhere earlier as a poster, and a friend in the audience to whom I spoke after the concert had not seen any publicity either.  Both of us found few people we knew in the audience, which also pointed to a lack of publicity. The Youth Choir comprises 50 voices.  A delightful... read more

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