Supported by generous help from the Adam Foundation

War’s impact on the women: Nota Bene sings, Gaylene Preston reads memories

By , 14/11/2015
I’m wondering if others have noticed that quite a lot of musical and other attention is being paid to a war that took place a hundred years ago on the other side of the world; perhaps not: I’m just unusually perceptive. It was a sad mess, an indictment on all the states that became involved, because based on nationalist bigotry, pride and bluster, and in our own case on empty... read more

Wonderful NZSO programme of masterpieces from the heartland of classical music

By , 13/11/2015
I had the feeling that both conductor and pianist had, contrary to the indications in the programme, been to New Zealand before. It looks as if I was wrong about Jaime Martín (I wonder if I’m confused by J Laredo of the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio), but I can clearly recall Ohlsson’s visit though I haven’t found evidence in my large file of programmes. This however, was a monumental concert, given totally... read more

NZTrio at the City Gallery with a programme slightly changed from Upper Hutt three weeks before

By , 10/11/2015
I had reviewed the pieces by Beethoven and Kenneth Young at the Trio’s concert at the Arts and Entertainment Centre in Upper Hutt on 19 October. Here at the City Gallery, the Saint-Saëns was replaced by Fauré’s Piano Trio. I was pleased at the chance to hear both the Beethoven and Young again. It confirmed my enjoyment of Ken Young’s commission by the Trio, his facility with the instrumental characteristics... read more

Czech Philharmonic Children’s Choir gives enchanting concert at St Andrew’s

By , 02/11/2015
We have visits from overseas choirs from time to time, but I don’t think I’ve encountered one like this before. Words like enchanting, artless, exquisite, tender, crystalline, joyful, guileless, come to mind, and it refers to both the singing, and the dancing. The choir was established in 1932 to meet the needs of Czech Radio; it survived World War II and the years under Communism and became associated with the... read more

NZSM piano students give impressively mature performances at St Andrew’s

By , 28/10/2015
The end-of-year exposure of five of the most talented piano students at the New Zealand School of Music was, I suppose, a follow-on from the four-day series of student recitals between 5 and 8 October which had featured cellos, violas, voices and guitars. The five pianists were placed according to their academic level, but I could not have distinguished them merely on the basis of the standard of their performances... read more

Enchanting, polished recital by Rebecca Steel, flute and Ingrid Bauer, harp

By , 21/10/2015
I last heard Rebecca Steel in a recital with Simon Brew and Jane Curry, as the Amistad Trio, in May, when I commented that it was the third concert involving the flute in a month. I wasn’t complaining. Here she was, a confident, conspicuous figure, contrasting with the commonly perceived view of the flute as an instrument of ethereal delicacy. With Ingrid Bauer’s harp, it proved a combination made in... read more

New trio by Ken Young, an under-rated Saint-Saëns trio and Beethoven, not as you know him

By , 19/10/2015
The programmes put together by NZTrio are always unpredictable or eccentric or from left field; there’s always something that attracts strongly, something that rings a bell and induces you to give it a go, and something quite unknown – usually a new work and often by a New Zealand composer. The latter was the case here – a commission by the trio itself from New Zealand composer Kenneth Young The... read more

Viola d’amore takes place with guitar and cello in lovely NZSM-based trio

By , 16/10/2015
The last concert of the year in the university school of music’s Friday lunchtime series. I’ve been getting to too few of these rewarding little concerts in the past few years – a failing that I’ve commented on before. But I was very happy to be there today to listen to what could be described as a somewhat experimental performance: the putting together of two modern, conventional instruments with one... read more

Waikanae Music Society scholars through their paces in impressive concert

By , 11/10/2015
The Waikanae Music Society’s Charitable Trust for Young Musicians was formed in 2008 to help talented young musicians in their studies, mostly overseas. It has been a considerable task to bring them together to help demonstrate to the citizens of Kapiti how worthwhile the project is proving to be. This concert has fully justified the effort. It opened with Gemma Lee who has just returned from Britain where she was the... read more

New Zealand Opera’s Tosca a triumph at all levels

By , 10/10/2015
The Wellington run of Tosca no doubt benefitted after uniformly positive reviews and word-of-mouth reports from Auckland. The reports from Auckland were not mistaken; here was one of the most impressive and successful productions from this company yet. In Wellington, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra was in the pit, and it was, of course, a superb collaboration that obliged the audience to notice Puccini’s masterly dramatic orchestration and the ways in... read more

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