Supported by generous help from the Adam Foundation

Defences overwhelmed by seductive songs from Nota Bene under Julian Raphael

By , 27/06/2015
Nota Bene, founded over ten years ago by Christine Argyle, has always been a slightly unorthodox choir, perhaps ‘eclectic’ and ‘adventurous’ might be better words: they often veer towards the not-so-heavy repertoire whether jazz, quasi-pop, art songs, Renaissance polyphony, folk or “World” music, with special attention to New Zealand composers, and not averse to a touch of religiose sentiment. It’s also a choir whose performances are marked by enthusiasm... read more

Unmissable violin sonata programme from APO’s Canadian concertmaster and Sarah Watkins

By , 21/06/2015
The violinist’s name would have been new to Wellingtonians – the recently appointed Concertmaster of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra; the pianist however, is very well known. But the audience was disappointing: see comments in my Coda. I think this programme, entirely of worthwhile, interesting works, but containing only one familiar, major work, might have seemed missable to non-subscribers, unless driven by Lilburn-loyalty or special love of Bartok, and who would... read more

Orchestra Wellington in irresistable, largely Russian programme plus multi-cultural esoterica

By , 20/06/2015
Not content with the inevitable attraction of the complete Tchaikovsky symphony cycle, plus one of the most exciting piano concertos of the 20th century, Taddei added an indefinable something whose appeal might have been in any of a dozen varied musical or artistic realms. A vocal piece by a young composer, Leila Adu, of mixed New Zealand and Ghanaian birth, with its roots in those places as well as... read more

NZCT chamber music competitors come down town to St Andrew’s with interesting lunchtime treat

By , 17/06/2015
Here at St Andrew’s was the piano trio which had played the Moderato movement from Smetana’s Trio in G minor at the concert at the end of the NZSM Queen’s Birthday Chamber Music Weekend on 1 June (see the review of that date). What a treat to hear them play it again! And I’d wondered whether the group would now fill the rest of the programme with other pieces... read more

Praiseworthy, adventurous concert from Tawa Orchestra moves into foreign parts

By , 14/06/2015
My third orchestral concert this weekend established a healthy restoration of normality in music making. The two Inkinen Festival concerts from the NZSO represented music as performed by a hundred or so of the most talented and polished musicians in New Zealand. But apart from those, there are many thousand who devote some of their energy and time to pursuing the same activities; some of them do it for unapologetic... read more

Marvellous Wagnerian farewell (Siegfried and Götterdämmerung) for conductor Inkinen and his Symphony Orchestra

By , 12/06/2015
I hadn’t heard Eva Radich’s interview with soprano Christine Goerke on Upbeat before the concert (and that has a bit to do with the unfortunate shift of the programme’s time from midday to 2pm). But I heard it on Saturday morning. It was one of those wonderful, animated, intelligent, thoroughly prepared interviews that Eva invariably achieves with articulate and gifted people that reveals many of the physical and psychological... read more

Moving performances of three Tudor composers by The Tudor Consort

By , 06/06/2015
The Tudor Consort returned to its origins with this concert at the Catholic Basilica (as we used to call it). Its focus was on 500 years ago, and two anniversaries. Robert Wylkynson died that year and John Sheppard was born – both approximatrions. Putting it in historic perspective, as Michael Stewart made short introductory remarks that set the scene, Henry VIII had just come to the throne, after his... read more

Admirable, heart-warming concert closes an inspiring NZSM chamber music weekend

By , 01/06/2015
The New Zealand School of Music helped keep the Queen's Birthday road toll down by attracting scores of secondary and tertiary students to a sort of immersion programme that would prepare secondary school competitors in the NZCT Chamber Music Contest and general tuition for chamber music groups in a communal atmosphere, and keep them off the roads. It had been a busy week for many of the participants, as I... read more

Wellington Youth Orchestra under Hamish McKeich with winning Brahms and Rachmaninov

By , 29/05/2015
One might as well begin by quoting the information about the provenance of the theme of the Brahms variations that is offered in Wikipedia: “In 1870, Brahms's friend Carl Ferdinand Pohl, the librarian of the Vienna Philharmonic Society, who was working on a Haydn biography at the time, showed Brahms a transcription he had made of a piece attributed to Haydn titled Divertimento No. 1. The second movement bore the heading... read more

The strings of the School of Music take turn with wonderful Bach proramme for St Andrew’s

By , 28/05/2015
This was the last of the four concerts devoted to student players from the university School of Music.  Perhaps in future years we’ll also have concerts from woodwind and brass players, and singers, even organists and harpsichordists and percussionists; but these four have shown that it’s possible to attract good audiences more than just once a week. The limitation is no doubt the level of energy that the unpaid... read more

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