Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

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

Much attractive, well performed music from the Bach Choir

Surely one of the functions of the NZ Choral Federation Wellington Region should be to have choral directors meet periodically to sort out compatible dates for concerts.  I know this used to happen in Peter Godfrey’s day.  Lately there has been a plethora of choral concerts.  After two last night, it was not surprising that the audience this afternoon was a little lean.  There was a choir performing on... 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

Playing with fire – music that sears and burns, from the New Zealand String Quartet

By , 10/09/2017
The NZSQ's 30th anniversary "Dangerous Liasons" national tour featured two programmes of works which encapsulated so much of what the ensemble has already achieved throughout its existence, including world-class presentations of some of the core string quartet repertoire, both in concert and on recordings, and an on-going committment to New Zealand music. Works by Beethoven, Bartok, Schumann and Mendelssohn have been given much-acclaimed performances in all parts of the... read more

Orchestra Wellington with scintillating programme: Grieg piano concerto midst spectacular orchestral waltzes

By , 09/09/2017
Orchestra Wellington’s 2017 series has followed the theme of music inspired or commissioned by the great impresario Serge Diaghilev. The two pieces with Diaghilev connections at this concert were Weber’s Invitation to the Dance and Ravel’s La valse, though there was also a ballet connection with the first Ravel music in the programme which was originally a set of waltzes for piano which Ravel orchestrated at the request, not... read more

Dangerous liaisons investigated by New Zealand String Quartet in restored St Mary’s

This year, the Quartet’s tour was entitled ‘Dangerous Liaisons’, and introductory remarks explained how this epithet applied to each of the three composers whose early compositions in the genre the items were. It was a robust and demanding programme heard by a rather modest audience.  Two little deficiencies for me: the lights were switched off entirely, save for the spotlights on the players (more of that later), and thus one... read more

Panorama Theme by Themocracy