Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Berkahn shows how you can have fun with Bach

By , 28/02/2018
This was one of those concerts that looked enigmatic from the outside, and I wondered whether it was going to deserve a review – not that I’ve ever failed to be greatly entertained by all my previous encounters with the multi-talented Berkahn. The secret here was to take several of Bach’s Two-part Inventions and respond to what Berkahn takes to be Bach’s suggestion, taking them as starting point to turn... read more

Memorable musical and emotional experience from Jordi Savall, Hespèrion XXI and Tembembe Ensamble Continuo

By , 24/02/2018
I always find it interesting, and indeed relevant, to look back to find when international musicians were in New Zealand previously. My own reviews for The Evening Post, and then The Dominion Post record Jordi Savall's coming to the then New Zealand International Arts Festival in both 1996 (when they gave concerts in both the Town Hall and St Mary of the Angels) and 2000, which was the last... read more

Two resounding recordings from Rattle – classics and a feisty newcomer

By , 23/02/2018
Taking the contents of both CDs listed above, one might argue that there are two "classic" compositions to be found among these works, one recognised internationally and the other locally, each defined as such by its popularity and general recognition as a notable piece of work. If this suggests a kind of facile populist judgement, one might reflect that posterity does eventually take over, either continuing to further enhance... read more

Most accomplished performances of piano trios by Psathas and Brahms

An ambitious chamber music programme by an enterprising and highly skilled trio was attended by a larger-than-usual audience, confounding the fears of organiser Marjan van Waardenberg, who thought the weather would put people off.  But no; by 12.15 it was just a normal Wellington windy day, with sunshine. There were no programme notes, but two members of the trio briefly introduced the items, in turn.  However, it would have been... read more

Atoll Records releases CD conspectus of Ken Wilson: Music For Winds

A worthy addition to Atoll's now substantial catalogue of recordings of music by New Zealand composers, this CD should delight many music-lovers.  That it is already doing so is proved by its place at number three on the RNZ Concert Classical Chart, on Saturday, 18 February.  They played an excerpt from Ken Wilson's Wind Quintet of 1965.  This was recorded by Kiwi Records on LP in the mid-1980s, and... read more

Michael Houstoun memorably opens Waikanae’s chamber music recital series

By , 18/02/2018
This is the season of series launches. The Waikanae Music Society, in contrast to certain other comparable chamber music groups, is in good shape, thanks to an immediately attractive programme of eight concerts, with no patronisingly-popular concerts that fail to touch those likely to be interested in real chamber music; plus an enticing ticketing policy that makes it cheap to subscribe and to attend most concerts. And that’s compounded by... read more

Masterly playing of Bach’s first sonata and partita from Martin Risely

By , 14/02/2018
It takes other professional and voluntary organisations a long time to organise a few concerts drawing mainly on New Zealand musicians. But impresario extraordinaire Marjan van Waardenberg probably spends a good deal of the summer, putting together something approaching 50 concerts – one a week – at St Andrew’s; perhaps more than all the other chamber music organisers in Greater Wellington combined. They have become an important institution in... read more

National Youth Orchestra’s summer concert a brilliant showcase for cellist Balzat in Elgar concerto

By , 03/02/2018
To start the year, neither Peter Mechen nor I was prepared to forego hearing the National Youth Orchestra and debated the question of authoring a review. We settled by both giving up something we each hated being deprived of – that is, the entire concert. The compromise: I cover the first half and Peter, the second. Much as one attempts to avoid repetitious expressions of amazement at the remarkable accomplishment and... read more

NZSO opens the musical year with Bach, Rameau and Locatelli

The orchestra made a start to the New Year that was rather different from usual.  A band without conductor, but led from the violin, that was made up of between 12 and twenty-five players, depending on the work being played.  Unusually, the players stood to perform, except of course the harpsichordist (Douglas Mews) and the cellists; the horns and percussion had chairs to sit on in those movements where... read more

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