Supported by generous help from the Adam Foundation

Forbidden Voices liberated in NZSM conference on music and musicians banned by Nazis

By , August 23, 2014
This evening’s concert was session number 11 in the weekend’s conference of talks, concerts and panel discussions dealing with the suppression of music and other arts during the second world war, primarily through the Nazi suppression of what they considered 'Entartete Kunst' - 'Degenerate Art'. It’s been a mixture of music and the spoken word, the latter examining aspects of the hideous impact of Nazism on art and artists... read more

Unexciting, lowpowered NZSO programme under Alexander Shelley yields riches after all

By , August 2, 2014
The one programme in the NZSO’s 2014 season that looked problematic when I first scanned the offerings last year was this one. No soloist, no well-known conductor, no crowd-pulling music centre-piece. So I was not surprised to see one of the smallest audiences for the NZSO that I can remember. However. The music, all of it, was enjoyable and Alexander Shelley proved, as he had with the National Youth Orchestra last... read more

Inspiring concert by young students of Donald Armstrong

By , July 29, 2014
This concert, in the regular Tuesday lunchtime series in the former Pro-cathedral, was the last appearance of The Elegiac Trio before they took part in the final stage of the Schools Chamber Music Contest, held this year in Christchurch on the coming Saturday. It proved a remarkable exhibition of young talent by the three members of the Trio as well as the 12-year-old violinist Melanie Pinkney. All three violinists are tutored... read more

Cathedral’s festival celebrated by satanism and the supernatural in film and music

By , July 26, 2014
How satisfying is the experience of a silent film? As part of the Cathedral’s 50th anniversary, a famous silent film made in 1925 was screened, with a dedicated sound-track comprising a live organ performance. The inspiration for an organ accompaniment came from the theme of the film itself set in the Paris Opéra where performances of Gounod’s Faust were taking place. The film tells the tale of an organ-playing 'Phantom'... read more

Engaging lunchtime concert by woodwind students

By , July 23, 2014
Five students under head of winds Deborah Rawson at the school of music gave a delightful recital on a cold day which saw a slightly smaller audience than usual at St Andrew’s. As usual the standard of the performances was remarkable, resulting in several revelations of unfamiliar music. The first was a movement from Saint-Saëns’s clarinet sonata, one of his last pieces, written in the year of his death. Hannah... read more

Scandinavian and New Zealand players unite wonderfully for the two greatest clarinet quintets

By , July 6, 2014
I understand that the Waikanae Music Society asked for and got a programme other than those that the promoters of the New Zealand tour (Chamber Music New Zealand) was offering. Both Chamber Music Hutt Valley and Wellington Chamber Music settled for either the Mozart or the Brahms plus ‘fillers’ in the first half. This concert was first advertised as the Antithesis Quintet, which might have referred to the programme, sub-titled... read more

NZSO under Venezuelan conductor triumphs with essential German and Russian masterpieces

By , June 27, 2014
A couple of highly promising young musicians whose existence have so far escaped my attention appeared with the NZSO on Friday.  Rafael Payare is the product of Venezuela’s Sistema musical organisation that involves young people seriously in classical music, and has already given rise to one of the most illustrious young conductors, Gustavo Dudamel. Payare is obviously following a similar path. He is married to Alisa Weilerstein, the cello soloist... read more

The lyrical and the spectacular from Thomas Gaynor at TGIF Cathedral lunchtime recital

By , June 27, 2014
This year is the 50th anniversary of the dedication of Wellington’s Anglican Cathedral, and so the concerts staged this year celebrate that. This particular recital was apparently organised by the late John Morrison, who, among many activities that helped the arts, particularly music, to flourish in Wellington, was chairman of the Wellington branch of the New Zealand Wagner Society. Your reviewer, as a member of the society, wants to record... read more

Winner’s tour for Nikki Chooi, 2013 Michael Hill Violin Competition: a finished artist

By , June 20, 2014
Canadian Nikki Chooi won the 2013 Michael Hill International Violin Competition and this concert was in the middle of a series of sixteen concerts and recitals around New Zealand, which forms part of the prize. Oddly, the biographical notes in the programme only listed the competitions in which he’s had success, orchestras with which and places where he has played. It neglected to say where and when he was born... read more

Choral Symphony in a triumphant end to NZSO’s monumental Beethoven symphony cycle

By , June 15, 2014
In the NZSO’s Beethoven cycle of 1995, the Choral Symphony was accompanied by Symphony No 1, an arrangement just as interesting as linking it with No 8. Each is similar in length, and both represent Beethoven writing in a style more traditional than some of those he would write or had written. These juxtapositions, that have illuminated each concert, have been as rewarding as the performances themselves; probably none has... read more

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