Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Another appearance by cellist Rustem Khamidullin with Sarah Watkins, at Paekakariki

By , 19/06/2016
I had gone to my third encounter with Rustem Khamidullin, not to write about it but just to enjoy without a pen in my hand, to hear him in another context. And of course, the pleasure of being able to get there by train, being able to look at the heavy seas and Kapiti Island from high on the cliffs north from Pukerua Bay rather than seeing little while... read more

An organic awakening at a Friday lunchtime at St Paul’s Cathedral

By , 17/06/2016
This was the fifth recital in the series of lunchtime recitals that are designed to cover Buxtehude’s works for the organ. Compared with the Bach family, remarkably little is known positively about Buxtehude, including the place and date of birth, though the best evidence is between 1637 and 1639 in Helsingborg (now in Sweden), a city a short distance to the north of Malmö on the Öresund, opposite Copenhagen... read more

Triumphant concert from Orchestra Wellington and Orpheus Choir: Beethoven and Haydn

By , 11/06/2016
First of all. What’s happening to Wellington’s orchestra? In the last five or six years the orchestra, now known as Orchestra Wellington, has built a quite extraordinary record of successful concerts with pretty full houses, which seem to have gained their popularity through attractive prices; and imaginative thematic programmes, usually the entire series adhering to a common theme of some kind; plus the choice of soloists, whose concertos have often... read more

Beautifully balanced programme of perfectly judged music for lunchtime

By , 08/06/2016
Most of the lunchtime concerts at St Andrew’s offer interesting music, either familiar or unusual, played by fine musicians. Students are worth hearing as they almost always exceed one’s expectations for the enterprise of their programmes and professionals delight with their artistry and maturity. This one had the enterprise of the best student recitals, in performances by very polished professional players, in the mix of moderately familiar and totally unfamiliar... read more

Wonderful Lieder recital ends Schubertiade at St Andrew’s, with powerful case for more

By , 05/06/2016
I got to four of the five concerts in this splendid little Schubert Festival which I like to refer to as a Schubertiade. I know of no other such social/musical circle that formed spontaneously around a living composer; the sure sign that not only did plenty of people in the Vienna of the 1820s recognize Schubert’s enormous gifts, but they actually loved the guy. The most famous contemporary version of... read more

Schubertiade Hohenems/Wellington at St Andrew’s: piano and song

By , 04/06/2016
The weather assorted poorly with Schubert’s anguished, obsessional Sonata in A minor. It had been sunny and calm, though cold; but the music was penetrated with sudden squally gales and dark clouds, broken by only brief shafts of light and fleeting moments of repose. Diedre Irons understood, as her programme note made clear, how the tragic illness revealed in 1823 must have affected his music. Though she responded to... read more

Happy concert from the New Zealand School of Music saxophone ensemble and soloists

By , 01/06/2016
The woodwind (more specifically, the Saxophone) department of the New Zealand School of Music has become a fairly conspicuous player in the school’s activities. It’s led by Deborah Rawson, who, as well as being a clarinetist often seen in professional orchestral ranks, plays saxophone, usually the soprano sax. While she introduced this lunchtime concert, the ensemble was directed by Simon Brew, an ‘artist teacher’ in the school. The concert began with... read more

English anthems straddling 1600 offer rich and satisfying concert from voices and viols

By , 29/05/2016
Verse anthems are the English equivalents of the Latin or French motet or Lutheran cantata. They were not just an early music genre, but continued to be composed till modern times. The Bach Choir recently sang an English verse anthem, in Parry’s Hear my Words, Ye People. In Tudor times they were particularly prolific. All of the anthems and harpsichord pieces in this concert came from the Elizabethan and Stuart... read more

The Magic Flute in brilliant production, with mainly New Zealand cast of polish and energy

By , 28/05/2016
This production that has engaged a number of young and highly promising New Zealand singers (only three from overseas), was probably among the most spectacular (and expensive I imagine) ever seen in New Zealand. Happily, it also succeeded in capturing the essential qualities of this hybrid work. It combines singspiel, comic opera, mime, vaudeville, employing a text that mixes Masonic ritual and ancient Egyptian religion, a touch of Christianity... read more

Enso String Quartet highly impressive in all eras particularly 20th century France

By , 20/05/2016
One of the first things that many people would have asked about this concert, was ‘what’s the name mean or is an acronym for?’ Nowhere in the programme could I find the answer. However, their website does ‘sort-of’ explain: “The ensemble’s name is derived from the Japanese Zen painting of the circle, which represents many things: perfection and imperfection, the moment of chaos that is creation, the emptiness of the void... read more

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