Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Rebranding strikes academia: Victoria University victim of corporate-style image-making

By , 31/07/2018
In a radical break from the knitting pattern that Middle C usually follows, I am driven to raise my voice to protest about the planned rebranding of my alma-mater, Victoria University of Wellington, or simply ‘Vic’ as it has always been universally known. Music in Wellington has its most important educational institution in Victoria University. This 'review' is prompted by the publication of Dave Armstrong’s column in this morning’s Dominion... read more

Swedish-New Zealand ensemble beguiles Waikanae with varied pieces: brand new, interesting, much loved

On picking up my printed programme when entering the hall, I recalled the last chamber music concert I reviewed: Wellington Chamber Music Trust’s concert at St. Andrew’s Church in Wellington on 15 July, where larger-size programmes (double A4) were available; an example Waikanae should follow, given the older-age group that comprises the bulk of the audience. This time the audience was considerably smaller than is usual at this venue, which... read more

Tudor Consort advances four centuries to the contemporary, war-stricken world with great success

By , 28/07/2018
Director of The Tudor Consort, Michael Stewart, spoke to introduce this generally unfamiliar (apart from the Bach) programme. As well as drawing attention to aspects of the music, he remarked on what might be felt as a departure from the choir’s usual territory, concentrating on early and Renaissance music (though there have generally been interesting deviations from that prescription), to tackle an entirely 20th, even 21st, century programme. He... read more

Tutors at the ASQ Academy confirm their stature in rare Shostakovich quartet, plus other masterpieces

By , 26/07/2018
Rosemary Collier’s review of Wednesday’s concert by participants in the 2018 Aroha String Quartet International Music Academy, offered a view of the level of performance skill that emerged from the week-long participation in the Academy, the fourth in what has become an annual event. Middle C appears to have overlooked them in the past. Further recitals by participants are taking place in the evenings and notably on Saturday evening... read more

Klara Kollektiv musicians vary the musical fare to resounding effect

By , 26/07/2018
I wondered on first sighting whether the name “Klara Kollektiv” indicated the first names of the group’s three musicians – could this be “a bevy of Klaras”, a “Klaras kollektiva”, so to speak? And then I saw Anna McGregor’s name in the publicity, which in the nicest possible way put paid to my brief whimsy, as subsequently did the ensemble’s playing throughout the concert, demonstrating part of the title’s... read more

Admirable results of a week of string instrument coaching from the Aroha String Quartet

The Aroha Quartet is innovative in a number of ways, not least in convening this annual week-long course for amateur string players of all ages, participants coming from Australia and China as well as New Zealand.  The music they produced, without much time for rehearsal, was remarkable. An almost-full St. Andrew’s Church heard the music performed by 25 enthusiastic amateur musicians.  The concert began with the first movement of Dvořák’s... read more

Interesting recital of Romantic French music for cello and piano

The first thing that struck me at this concert was not musical – it was pleasure at having a large-print programme!  Others, please copy, for those of us who find it hard to read the normal-sized print, especially in a darkened auditorium – which this wasn’t.  A further improvement in readability would be to use a different type-face; the fashionable sans-serif fonts do not pass readability tests s well... read more

Trpčeski’s emphatic restoration of Grieg concerto and a blazing Shostakovich Tenth from Martín and NZSO

By , 13/07/2018
Last Friday Jaime Martín conducted the National Youth Orchestra in a stunning concert, drawing from young players performances that were both accurate and full of energy. He has shown the same gifts with the parent orchestra. Shostakovich’s Festive Overture was written just shortly after the death of Stalin and the composition of the 10th symphony; it can more easily be read as music that complies superficially with the expectations of... read more

Polished recital of Lieder by Clara Schumann and Brahms, and Robert’s Scenes of Childhood

By , 11/07/2018
I didn’t hear the recital in March 2017 by this couple from Dunedin, though my colleague Rosemary Collier reviewed it. It seems many years since I have heard them. They form an attractive duet and the music they choose is the kind that is not much performed these days: the song recital is a bit out of fashion and there is a deep-seated belief among the classical music impresarios:... read more

Admirable exploration of challenging Purcell and gorgeous Fauré from Nota Bene

By , 08/07/2018
Looking back through Middle C’s archive, I was a little surprised to discover that Nota Bene was founded as far back as 2004; we have reviewed 18 of their concerts since our beginning in 2008. It was founded by Christine Argyle, and has been under the direction of several others since, including, quite often, Peter Walls. Concerts are usually constructed round a theme, and the theme here was death and... read more

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