Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Lexus Song Quest 2018: Semi-finalists

By , 29/06/2018
The semi-finalists for this year's Lexus Song Quest have been announced. They are: Joel Amosa (bass-baritone) – from Auckland, currently Regional Admin Manager for ASB Central Auckland branches banking, while working on numerous oratorios and operas. Eliza Boom (soprano) – from Whangarei, currently studying her Masters in Music at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Chelsea Dolman (soprano) – from Taupō, currently living in Hamilton and a Freemasons NZ Opera Artist... read more

Demanding song recital reflects more ambition than accomplishment

It is not often that I attend a lunchtime concert at St. Andrew’s and come away disappointed, but that was the case this time.  I am fond of Fauré’s songs and deeply devoted to Schumann’s Dichterliebe.  But this time I could not say I was enchanted by what I heard. The first song went well.  The second, like a number later on, was perhaps a little low for William McElwee’s voice... read more

The Heath Quartet – from church and the chamber to the open air

By , 27/06/2018
This was a concert whose music-making I thought extraordinary, and I’m still thinking about why this was so days after the event! It was partly to do with the repertoire, which featured a range of diametrically opposed modes of expression from different composers, and partly the result of the Quartet’s singularly “interior” way of realising these different modes, in search of the music’s different and unique essences. That the... read more

Delectable Dvořák, palatable Puccini and delicious Dohnányi at Waikanae

The delectable Dvořák quintet was a joy to hear; the Puccini was highly palatable, and the Dohnányi delicious, from an outstanding group of musicians.  Two are present New Zealand String Quartet members, one a former member, plus two highly regarded players.  A large audience heard them play.  Such is the musical activity in Wellington, there were five classical concerts in the Wellington region listed on Middle-C’s Current Events page... read more

Dvořák with Rolf Gjelsten wins all hearts at Wellington Chamber Orchestra concert

By , 24/06/2018
As part of the “run-up” to this particular Wellington Chamber Orchestra concert, its second of the current year, the Orchestra circulated on-line a truly inspiring issue of its occasional newsletter, Notes, one which I was delighted to get, in view of what was “coming”.  It featured a heartwarming contribution from the concert’s soloist, Rolf Gjelsten, who’s of course the ‘cellist of the much-acclaimed New Zealand String Quartet. His love... read more

NZSO in splendid form under Harth-Bedoya with Brahms and Tchaikovsky

It is always a case of pleasant anticipation when a new Gareth Farr work is to be performed, and this was the case again.  Farr’s piece was commissioned by the NZSO to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s first landing in this country, which occurs next year (he departed from Britain in 1768). The title comes from Governor William Hobson’s greeting to Maori chiefs as they came forward to... read more

NZ Opera’s trans-Tasman “The Elixir of Love ” a corker!

By , 23/06/2018
Y’ know wot I reckon, mate? I reckon yer need ter get yerself inter town bloody pronto, if yer ain’t a city slicker (I know a few o’ those geezers as well and they’re not bad blokes, considering…..) and grab a cuppla seats for yusself an’ yer missus or yer sheila or whomever, so youse won’t miss out on the show at the Opera House (she’s actually a cracker... read more

Immaculate and varied piano recital from gifted young Russian pianist

By , 22/06/2018
Nikolai Saratovsky is a 31-year-old pianist, brought to New Zealand by Mary Gow, impresario (feminine form??), who runs the Mulled Wine concerts at Paekakariki (you can catch him again, at the Paekakariki Memorial Hall, this Sunday at 2:30 pm).  Mary Gow also organised his concert at St Andrew's on The Terrace on Thursday lunchtime. One of a seeming endless flood of musicians from Russia and other former-Soviet states. Bach opened the... read more

Musical anniversaries: composers and music

By , 21/06/2018
Composer-related dates interest me This bit of pointless research began as an appendix to my review of Supertonic’s concert on Sunday 20 May in the Pipitea Marae. It was prompted in that review by the death in 1918 of Lili Boulanger, one of whose songs was performed there. In an appendix to that review I mentioned the obvious ones: Debussy’s death 100 years ago, Bernstein’s birth 100 years ago, Gounod’s birth... read more

A revelatory Bach X 2 lunch recital on piano and organ by Jonathan Berkahn

By , 20/06/2018
Jonathan Berkahn is a versatile musician, happy to play any keyboard instrument, including the piano accordion. In this recital he played three J S Bach pieces on the Steinway, then moved to the pipe organ in the gallery to play an organ sonata by CPE Bach and a final Toccata and Fugue by Bach père. The Fantasia in C minor is a splendid piece which sounds as bold and inspiring... read more

Panorama Theme by Themocracy