Supported by generous help from the Adam Foundation

Orpheus Choir under Brent Stewart outstanding with Bruckner and Poulenc

By , 22/08/2015
Though this concert was advertised as being accompanied by the cathedral organ, without mention of other instruments, the programme disclosed the names of seven instrumentalists. I am one of the pernickety race that hopes for performances from the voices and instruments prescribed by the composer. However, while I’d have loved Orchestra Wellington to have been on hand, the small band and Douglas Mews’ organ playing did very well, supplying... read more

Delightful, witty Così fan tutte from Wanderlust Opera

By , 15/08/2015
It’s best to start with comment about the somewhat unfortunate timing of this wonderful enterprise. A clash with the university school of music’s double bill, running four performances from Thursday to Sunday. On top of that, many vocal enthusiasts would also have been torn by having to choose between the last day of the Big Sing, the choral competition/jamboree/gala of secondary school choirs, held this year in Wellington. Because of... read more

Gallic musical entertainment chez L’Alliance Française

By , 14/08/2015
From time to time the various foreign embassies and their affiliates present concerts of their music and/or by their musicians. There was a musically inclined Italian ambassador a few years ago who arranged for special recitals by visiting musicians from her country; for a few years the Japanese Embassy presented recitals by fine Japanese musicians; a variety of interesting musical and other arts presentations have been staged by the... read more

The Bach Choir: Romantic Fairytales: role correction

By , 14/08/2015
In our review of the Bach Choir's performance on 8 August of three Romantic choral works, we misattributed the role of Leonora in the Mendelssohn work. It was sung by Marian Hawke, not Maaike Christie-Beekman, as we had... read more

20th century music from charming flute duo: Bridget Douglas and Rachel Thomson

By , 12/08/2015
According to Bridget Douglas’s programme note, Le merle noir was the only piece that Messiaen wrote for the solo flute, which seems extraordinary in the light of his passion for bird song for which the uninitiated would imagine the flute to be the commonest, closest instrument to the sounds of many birds. I know I’ve heard it played live before but had only a sketchy recollection of it. It starts... read more

Schumann a winner but Sibelius and Mendelssohn unconvincing in fine Bach Choir performances

By , 08/08/2015
Michael Vinten and his Bach Choir had decided to explore some pretty unexpected choral repertoire with this concert of mid-nineteenth century, plus a rather out-of-season, comparable work from half a century later. I have to praise that initiative. However, much of the choral music composed during that era has not stood the test of time. The problem can be ascribed to Romanticism, which encouraged composers to find new modes of expression... read more

Opera Society revives its tradition of presenting promising young singers in tantalising song

By , 06/08/2015
Once upon a time, the Wellington Branch of the New Zealand Opera Society used to stage almost monthly recitals of mainly opera arias and ensembles. As performances of the real thing increased in the 80s and 90s, with the establishment of Wellington City Opera, annual productions by both Victoria University and Wellington Polytechnic schools of music as well as a variety of adventurous ad hoc amateur groups, the appeal... read more

Duo Tapas: violin and guitar play winning St Andrew’s lunchtime concert

By , 05/08/2015
Duo Tapas is a fairly visible little ensemble on the Wellington music scene; but it pays not to take them for granted, as playing much the same repertoire, with minor variations in their frequent concerts. It could be because I haven’t heard a couple of their recent concerts that this programme was entirely new to me. They began with Rudolph Buttman’s arrangement of one of Vivaldi’s violin sonatas, the last... read more

Just a half hour of St Andrew’s organ before you go home: Bach and Pärt

By , 04/08/2015
Middle C is a little red-faced on account of neglecting this interesting and unusual series of organ recitals at St Andrew’s. Though we’ve had them listed from the start, our reviewers have failed to find their way to the church at this after-work time-slot. The first thing to note is that St Andrew’s is one of Wellington’s many churches that has a good pipe organ which presumably gets a work-out... read more

The Creation of Music Futures: object lesson in enterprise

By , 02/08/2015
This post refers to our review of the concert of 26 July promoted by Music Futures, featuring young Wellington musicians, some of whom were involved with the current Chamber Music contest staged annually by Chamber Music New Zealand, and supported by the New Zealand Community Trust. (The National Finale was held on Sunday 2 August, and was won by the Wellington piano trio which had played in the concert of... read more

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