Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Refined, period sensibilities from Kuijken Quartet in Haydn and Mozart

By , 15/07/2017
The Kuijken Quartet is very much a family affair: second violin Sara is Sigiswald’s daughter and violist Marleen Thiers, his wife. They have devoted themselves to playing music in the ‘historically informed’ manner. While that has tended to refer mainly to music of the earlier, Baroque era, it applies also to the Galant and Classical periods, and in theory to all later periods, up to yesterday, if you insist It... read more

Lively and colourful Iolanthe from Wellington G&S Light Opera

By , 14/07/2017
Iolanthe is one of the operettas admired by many who take it upon themselves to judge musical worth, and it doesn’t rank among the most popular, with Pirates, Mikado, Gondoliers and Pinafore. The company last staged Iolanthe in 2008. Here was a chance to see how those opinions stack up with someone who was not seeing it for the first time (I saw the 2008 production and reviewed it in... read more

Excellent Kiwa String Quartet (NZSO players) in programme of quartet masterpieces and a couple of fun pieces

By , 09/07/2017
We have reached the mid-point in Wellington Chamber Music’s seven-concert 2017 series of Sunday afternoon concerts. A string quartet of players from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, with an intelligently balanced programme that might well have attracted a much bigger audience. It opened with the last of the set of six quartets, Beethoven’s Opus 18 No 6. It begins with a movement marked Allegro con brio, and so the players approached... read more

Magnificent NZSO concert, with percussionist Colin Currie, under James MacMillan

By , 08/07/2017
I had rather expected that, even if the pieces by Adès and MacMillan had not exactly created a stampede for tickets, that the remarkable, let’s even say ‘great’ symphony by Vaughan Williams would have done the trick. But no, it didn't. However, if it was something of a statement about the timidity of Wellington audiences, it was not a disgrace. Thomas Adès For another thing, I’d have thought the name Adès might... read more

Steel and McCabe, flute and piano in delightful recital at St Andrew’s

By , 05/07/2017
A fortnight ago at St Andrew’s we heard Rebecca Steel as a member of a quintet of flutes from the RNZAF Band in a splendidly diverting programme of music (mostly) arranged for five flutes. So I had hesitated about coming to hear more flute music in a particularly busy week for me. But squeezing it in proved an excellent decision. Rebecca was back this time with her piano partner, Fiona... read more

Beautiful contemporary choral music from Cantoris: if only an orchestra!

By , 01/07/2017
It was a calm, cool, drizzly night, when most of Wellington’s population was either at the stadium, in pubs or at home watching a rugby match between New Zealand and the combined British-Ireland team. Very few: to wit, about 30, felt free to attend a rather fine concert by one of Wellington’s longest surviving choirs (almost 50 years). Those happy few had a wide choice of seating. The concert opened with... read more

Flutes of the RNZAF Band demonstrate their flair and versatility at St Andrew’s lunchtime concert

By , 28/06/2017
A concert by flute students from the New Zealand School of Music had been scheduled for this lunchtime and the change had come to my attention only a couple of days before the date. There were several aspects that, even in advance, suggested a very interesting recital. One, a chance to hear just a few of the players from the RNZAF Band which is based in Wellington, but which seems... read more

Winds and piano: a masterpiece and three French delights from Zephyr

By , 11/06/2017
The players from the NZSO who comprised five-sixths of the Zephyr Wind Ensemble have played together in varying combinations over the years, and several will have played with Diedre Irons. What this leads one to expect is ensemble and musical rapport at a very high level. It was. One of the characteristics of the famous Mozart quintet is the entrancing interlacing of the individual instruments. As with most chamber music, it... read more

Naxos issues CD from NZSQ of Brahms’s 3rd string quartet and clarinet quintet

By , 11/06/2017
The New Zealand String Quartet recorded Brahms’s first two string quartets, Op 51, in July 2014 at the same place. All modern recordings of Brahms’s three string quartets fill the second disc with another comparable (occasionally a non-comparable) work, sometimes by Brahms; the filler has been the clarinet quintet on several occasions. String Quartet No 3 Setting the third quartet alongside the clarinet quintet was logical enough, but the juxtaposition created a... read more

Excellent performances of UK and US music from Wellington Youth Choir

By , 09/06/2017
The Sacred Heart Cathedral is a good place for singing – for both singers and listeners, and so it was especially good to hear this generally well-schooled and enthusiastic young choir, in a wide variety of songs. The British song tradition The concert began with an account of God Save the Queen, which prompted no one to stand, because it was clearly an arrangement, and a rather entertaining arrangement of the... read more

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