Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Great singer, and audience, sold short at hybrid festival concert

By , 19/03/2018
I’ll see if I can find space later on to mention the few good things about this concert, apart from the fact that the great Anne Sophie von Otter actually came here and sang for a while. The Programme First, let’s see what we could have expected. The first statement in the notice of her recital in the festival season brochure wrote: “Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sophie von Otter is one of... read more

Interesting if unorthodox Festival programme of music for organ and brass at St Mary of the Angels

By , 13/03/2018
Having attended the previous chamber music concert in St Mary of the Angels which seemed to have an audience of only about 60 or 70, I was rather astonished to find that what was a predominantly organ recital was a full house (or should that be una chiesa piena?). I have been heard to express a certain weariness at the four-year-long obsession with remembering the horrors of World War I;... read more

Largely successful Japanese chamber music concert at St Mary of the Angels

By , 09/03/2018
There are, inevitably, concerts where a critic feels out of his depth; music that is almost of the future, or from a sophisticated culture that one has little experience of. One often approaches them with trepidation, fearing that it will be music that is so remote in spirit and language from familiar Western music that one has no touchstone by which to assess it fairly, certainly with any sense... read more

Berkahn shows how you can have fun with Bach

By , 28/02/2018
This was one of those concerts that looked enigmatic from the outside, and I wondered whether it was going to deserve a review – not that I’ve ever failed to be greatly entertained by all my previous encounters with the multi-talented Berkahn. The secret here was to take several of Bach’s Two-part Inventions and respond to what Berkahn takes to be Bach’s suggestion, taking them as starting point to turn... read more

Memorable musical and emotional experience from Jordi Savall, Hespèrion XXI and Tembembe Ensamble Continuo

By , 24/02/2018
I always find it interesting, and indeed relevant, to look back to find when international musicians were in New Zealand previously. My own reviews for The Evening Post, and then The Dominion Post record Jordi Savall's coming to the then New Zealand International Arts Festival in both 1996 (when they gave concerts in both the Town Hall and St Mary of the Angels) and 2000, which was the last... read more

Michael Houstoun memorably opens Waikanae’s chamber music recital series

By , 18/02/2018
This is the season of series launches. The Waikanae Music Society, in contrast to certain other comparable chamber music groups, is in good shape, thanks to an immediately attractive programme of eight concerts, with no patronisingly-popular concerts that fail to touch those likely to be interested in real chamber music; plus an enticing ticketing policy that makes it cheap to subscribe and to attend most concerts. And that’s compounded by... read more

Masterly playing of Bach’s first sonata and partita from Martin Risely

By , 14/02/2018
It takes other professional and voluntary organisations a long time to organise a few concerts drawing mainly on New Zealand musicians. But impresario extraordinaire Marjan van Waardenberg probably spends a good deal of the summer, putting together something approaching 50 concerts – one a week – at St Andrew’s; perhaps more than all the other chamber music organisers in Greater Wellington combined. They have become an important institution in... read more

A Consort Christmas: Tudor Consort assembles brilliant and diverting package of words and music

By , 16/12/2017
Given The Tudor Consort's splendidly rehearsed and executed array of carols, chants, liturgical and secular songs connected with Christmas, one had to wonder whether the unusual quantity of Christmas-related music over the past few weeks had brought about some aural fatigue resulting in a smaller audience than I would have expected. And so, to remind you of all the Christmas-like concerts over the past three weeks, look at the end of... read more

Admirable Sibelius as well as Lilburn and a rare trombone concerto from Wellington Chamber Orchestra

By , 10/12/2017
Lilburn’s Suite for Orchestra was composed for the Auckland Junior Symphony Orchestra in 1955. Thus it was a sensible piece for a non-professional orchestra, though that is not to suggest that its wide-ranging moods, brilliant orchestration and rhythms that range widely from the utmost subtlety to the unusually boisterous are not very taxing. Subtle brass playing is rarely a highlight of amateur orchestras and it was trumpets and trombones that... read more

Aroha Quartet: one of the year’s most wonderful lunchtime concerts

By , 06/12/2017
Though St Andrew’s free lunchtime concerts usually populate the church very respectably, a professional group like the Aroha Quartet (though I assume they play, like all performers in these concerts, without payment) tends to draw a larger crowd and that was the case this week. Both the reputation of the quartet and the choice of music accounted for the responsive audience today; it enjoyed quite long applause, and several... read more

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