Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Technically brilliant, varied and versatile recital by New Zealand Guitar Quartet

Djembe is based on its namesake, a traditional African stretched-skin drum played with the hands. To reflect these origins, York makes full play of the various drumming abilities of the guitar with wonderfully lively writing, as well as other clever effects like harmonics. York’s passion for this ensemble combination (he is a former member of the renowned Los Angeles Guitar Quartet) shone through every bar. The group effectively exploited... read more

Spectacular NZSO concert with violinist Janine Jansen in the Tchaikovsky

Liadov’s atmospheric painting The Enchanted Lake was a great choice to open an evening of wonderful music, rich with the delights of that fantastic orchestration which marks the pens of the Russian greats in an abundance matched by no other race. There was the opening mystery of the dark, rumbling bass entry, the dreamy lilting melodies that floated in and out from the woodwind, and the clear crystal notes... read more

Lucy Gijsbers shines in ‘cello recital at St.Andrew’s

The first two movements of Prokofiev’s Op.119, chosen to start this programme, put Lucy Gijsbers straight into the limelight from the word go. The beautifully crafted phrases and full throated, rich sound she drew from the lower register of the cello in the opening solo bars showed immediately what an accomplished musician she is. Likewise as she moved up the register in the later reflective episodes, her tone was... read more

Acclaimed Guitarist Recital highlights venue shortcomings

Matt Withers is head of Guitar at the University of Canberra and a widely acclaimed performer who has picked up many awards in his relatively short career. He is currently touring New Zealand for the first time doing recitals and master classes, and this was a welcome opportunity to hear someone of this calibre whose reputation has gone before them. He described his varied programme as “a round-the-world tour”, and... read more

Ecstatic applause for Freddy Kempf’s first three Beethoven concertos with the NZSO

The NZSO undertook this programme with significantly pruned string resources, making a nod towards  the size  of orchestra Beethoven would have performed these works with himself. The balance and sympathy between the sections was, as always, exemplary and the concert was marked throughout by superb solo playing from wind and brass principals alike, and the impeccable string work that audiences never fail to hear from the NZSO. Born in London... read more

Splendid Orpheus Choir and NZSO shine along with Madeleine Pierard in Trans-Tasman Messiah

Handel’s Messiah remains a work of perennial popularity, be it in great cities of the Old World, or in tiny provincial settlements clinging to specks of land in far flung southern oceans. Whether presented by massed singers and a huge orchestra or a small parish choir with traditional harmonium, its magic never fails to evoke wonder and worship. There must be very few works which can claim such status... read more

Large audience hear unfamiliar Christmas music in enthusiastic performance by Festival Singers

This festive concert programme drew a large audience to the Island Bay Presbyterian Church, and it was apparent from the first bar that the choristers hugely enjoyed singing it. The opening Gloria by the choir’s director Jonathan Berkahn immediately set the scene with its vigorous, bouncy rhythms and easy harmonies, cleverly offset by a central section of more stately and peaceful mood. The following three items formed a most... read more

A divided NZSO with a breathtaking cellist in a sparkling touring programme for the South Island

From the first downbeat of Mozart's 'Paris' Symphony, Australian conductor Ben Northey galvanised the orchestra into a sparkling and vivacious performance, and set the tone for an authoritative, yet electrifying evening’s music making. His engagement with the players was almost tangible, epitomised in the initial Allegro assai where he drew out real magic from the contrabasses, in episodes that can often pass almost unnoticed. In the following Andante he fashioned... read more

Diversity and enthusiasm from Gale Force voices at Futuna

Right from the word go this short concert had the feeling of a community event, rather than a formal recital, and I’m sure that’s how the organisers wanted it. Gale Force Gospel choir is a diverse bunch of singers from many different backgrounds, who obviously enjoy the idioms of Negro Spirituals, both the singing and the swinging. They put together a varied programme of small ensemble pieces, incorporating both... read more

Carnival for Guy Fawkes’ Day – the music of Alfred Hill

This work was the earliest of Alfred Hill’s string quartets to be expanded later into an orchestral version, and is better known as Symphony No.5 “The Carnival”. He frequently “recycled” existing works into new formats, and this transcription benefitted from the larger forces which could very successfully convey the bustling, crowded atmosphere of a fiesta. The opening street scene was graphically depicted with vigorous, sunlit writing and attractive melodies, propelled... read more

Panorama Theme by Themocracy