Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Polished viola student performances of Bach suites plus some unfamiliar music at St Andrew’s

By , 17/10/2018
One rarely goes to a recital by students from Victoria University’s school of music (also known as the New Zealand School of Music and Te Koki), without being surprised to be exposed to interesting, often unfamiliar music played admirably by gifted players. Zephyr Wills began with the first two movements of Schubert’s sonata for Arpeggione, the odd and short-lived hybrid guitar-cello (D 821). No one today plays the weird instrument... read more

No better way of concluding a year’s worth of glorious music-making! Ensemble LTJJI at Hutt Valley Chamber Music’s final 2018 concert.

By , 15/10/2018
Undoubtedly a mouth-watering prospect on paper, this concert nevertheless had some surprises in store, almost entirely in the realm of the transcription of Mozart’s Piano Concerto K.414 for piano and string quartet, made by the composer himself to increase the music’s likelihood of being played in whatever form.  He obviously had very little faith in the extent of his audiences’ musical sensibilities, describing in a letter of December 1782... read more

Admirable concert of well-chosen music from Wellington Youth Orchestra under Mark Carter

By , 14/10/2018
The last musical occasion I was in the Riley Centre (alias, the school hall) at Wellington High School was, I think, for the splendid International Viola Congress in 2001, led by the indomitable Professor Donald Maurice (as was the most recent one in Wellington in 2016). My recollection of the acoustic then was confirmed on Sunday. The orchestra has tended to confine itself in recent, post-Town Hall years, to... read more

Monumental NZSO concert of Russian masterpieces with cellist Johannes Moser

By , 13/10/2018
This Russian programme might have been expected to be a winner, but it wasn’t, in terms of audience size. However, in terms of musical quality and sheer excitement, it was a tremendous success. It’s a surprise to me that Shostakovich’s 1st cello concerto didn’t fill every seat; does that suggest that our musical horizons are getting narrower every year? For it’s a truly stupendous work, and we heard one of... read more

Choral concert to celebrate new digital organ at Cathedral of Saint Paul

With the organ moved to the side, the rather small audience had full view of the choirs in their red cassocks.  In his introduction, Michael Stewart referred to ‘choral blockbusters’; we had a few of them!  First was Handel’s famous coronation anthem ‘Zadok the Priest’.  It was sung with the usual robust cheerfulness, as was the next anthem, Parry’s ‘I was glad’.  Richard Apperley accompanied this in fine style... read more

Circa Theatre’s “Under Milk Wood” a vital and rumbustious celebration of “LLareggub”

By , 13/10/2018
People who grew up with the sounds of the voices of either Dylan Thomas himself, or of Welsh actor Richard Burton, as the “First Voice” on any of the two recordings of Thomas’s verse-play “Under Milk Wood” that were available in New Zealand from the 1950s, were given the work pretty much as its author would have expected it to be performed – as a play for voices, to... read more

Heroic welcome for the new digital organ in St Paul’s Cathedral

To celebrate the inauguration of its new Viscount Regent Classic digital organ, the Wellington Cathedral of St. Paul has put on an Organ Festival.  The guest organist, Dr Joseph Nolan, is a British organist, formerly organist at the Chapels Royal in London (involving numbers of different organs, including one at Buckingham Palace), but since 2008, Organist and Master of Music at St. George’s Cathedral in Perth, Western Australia. Probably due... read more

Sending it up on the double bass and sparkling at the piano, plus other strings

By , 11/10/2018
This concert in Chamber Music New Zealand’s subscription series had an unusual character. It featured two international-class musicians alongside three of the members of the New Zealand String Quartet. Piers Lane has made several visits to New Zealand, including at least a couple of times to the Adam Chamber Music Festival in Nelson. As in the present concert, both pianist and bassist have often been in combination with chamber music... read more

Diverting, varied, guitar recital by NZSM students

It was not easy to understand what were the alterations to this concert’s programme, caused in part by illness; the microphone not working (as indeed it did not the previous week) didn’t help matters. First up in this varied programme were Rameka Tamaki and Oliver Featherston.  They played as a guitar duo Theme & Variations from Sextet Opus 18 (second movement) by Johannes Brahms (1833 - 1897), arranged by the... read more

Puccini’s La Boheme in Wellington – ineffably human and heartfelt

By , 04/10/2018
It may seem a strange entry point for a review’s beginning - but at the opening night of New Zealand Opera’s 2018 season of “La Boheme” in the Wellington Opera House on Thursday last, there was for me, near the Second Act’s conclusion, a “great moment”, whose incredible lyrical surge and explosion of sheer theatrical energy seemed at once to overshadow and enhance the significance of everything that had... read more

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