The Desolate City
, was a reason to look at two cities that have suffered terrible, war-driven destruction in living memory (Dresden and Hiroshima), and to associate physical destruction with social and moral destruction as described in Biblical accounts of cities considered to have been desolated by sin or perhaps merely by adoption of a rival religious faith.
The Book of Lamentations
and Psalm 137
provided... read more
The theme of this concert,
(‘All Night Vigil’), Op 37, and Arensky’s first piano trio.
The Rachmaninov piece is the sixth movement in the 15-movement, hour-long Vespers setting, rather inaccurately called the ‘All-night Vigil’. Bogorovitse Devo
(pronounced 'djevo') means ‘Rejoice, O Virgin’. It’s a short, gentle piece that introduced the choir in a beautifully quiet... read more
In addition to the advertised Requiem by Cherubini, the programme was fleshed out with the most popular movement from Rachmaninov’s
Here was a concert designed to attract various classes of music lovers: those attached to the classical heartland, discreetly coloured by a pictorial Romanticism; lovers of the voice in melodious, conventional guise with music composed at the turn of the 20th century; and finally, for those susceptible to musical expressionism on a vast scale, an evocation of vast natural phenomena and secular voluptuousness.
Though the orchestra had its first major...
The names of the two performers at this lunchtime concert should no doubt have been familiar to me, as they have been on the Wellington scene on and off for a long time; both had played in the NZSO. Both have lived and studied overseas and now work in other fields in Wellington, though music clearly remains an important part of their lives.
The programme note explained that Mozart wrote...
In keeping with the feisty critical tradition established by Beaglehole and Finlay at that first concert on 6 March 1947, let’s start with a little grizzle.
Wonderful for Wellington to be offered a free... read more
All three Middle C reviewers collaborated in reviewing this momentous concert. We paid attention in our first name alphabetic order. The first, fourth and seventh are Lindis’s, second, fifth and eighth, Peter’s, and the others, Rosemary’s.
I missed the first of Paekakriki’s Mulled Wine concerts in January, organised by Mary Gow, featuring ‘Ukes of Wellington’ along with wine and beer at the bar; all three I could well have enjoyed.
However, I caught the first serious engagement, involving three leading Wellington musicians none of whom were born in New Zealand but who one hopes will not change their minds in the light of political or other...
The first concert in the nine-concert Waikanae chamber music series neatly filled a hole in my piano recital experiences that the same programme would have provided in Nelson if I’d been there the previous Sunday. Varjon was one of this year’s stars at the biennial Adam Chamber Music Festival in Nelson (see my review date-lined 11 February).
He was hot news there and even though I heard him in various...
, on a fine but somewhat cool evening.
What may well have been a worry was a summer that is hardly worthy of the name, and further performances of both pieces on the following days may not have... read more
Days Bay Opera continues its eclectic repertory policies, that have ranged from the mid 16th century to the 20th. For this, it was back to the garden, after the indoors performance of
), the Goldner Quartet and cellist Matthew Barley.
The essence of the festival rests with the New Zealand String Quartet, which founded and sustained the festival... read more
My visit this year to the Nelson Chamber Music Festival was shorter than in previous years, arriving late afternoon on the Tuesday and departing midday Saturday.
The highlights from abroad were the presence of Hungarian pianist Dénes Varjon, the Australian tenor, Andrew Goodwin (singing Schumann’s
I went to the third run of the Ring in Melbourne, in December. At its first incarnation in 2013, I had rather set it aside, partly because the ticket prices were pretty steep – well over $1000 for the four – and something in me said that, as I have seen the entire cycle five times over the years, in various places including Bayreuth, I doubted whether Opera Australia... read more