Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Trpčeski’s emphatic restoration of Grieg concerto and a blazing Shostakovich Tenth from Martín and NZSO

By , 13/07/2018
Last Friday Jaime Martín conducted the National Youth Orchestra in a stunning concert, drawing from young players performances that were both accurate and full of energy. He has shown the same gifts with the parent orchestra. Shostakovich’s Festive Overture was written just shortly after the death of Stalin and the composition of the 10th symphony; it can more easily be read as music that complies superficially with the expectations of... read more

Polished recital of Lieder by Clara Schumann and Brahms, and Robert’s Scenes of Childhood

By , 11/07/2018
I didn’t hear the recital in March 2017 by this couple from Dunedin, though my colleague Rosemary Collier reviewed it. It seems many years since I have heard them. They form an attractive duet and the music they choose is the kind that is not much performed these days: the song recital is a bit out of fashion and there is a deep-seated belief among the classical music impresarios:... read more

Admirable exploration of challenging Purcell and gorgeous Fauré from Nota Bene

By , 08/07/2018
Looking back through Middle C’s archive, I was a little surprised to discover that Nota Bene was founded as far back as 2004; we have reviewed 18 of their concerts since our beginning in 2008. It was founded by Christine Argyle, and has been under the direction of several others since, including, quite often, Peter Walls. Concerts are usually constructed round a theme, and the theme here was death and... read more

Lexus Song Quest 2018: Semi-finalists

By , 29/06/2018
The semi-finalists for this year's Lexus Song Quest have been announced. They are: Joel Amosa (bass-baritone) – from Auckland, currently Regional Admin Manager for ASB Central Auckland branches banking, while working on numerous oratorios and operas. Eliza Boom (soprano) – from Whangarei, currently studying her Masters in Music at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Chelsea Dolman (soprano) – from Taupō, currently living in Hamilton and a Freemasons NZ Opera Artist... read more

Immaculate and varied piano recital from gifted young Russian pianist

By , 22/06/2018
Nikolai Saratovsky is a 31-year-old pianist, brought to New Zealand by Mary Gow, impresario (feminine form??), who runs the Mulled Wine concerts at Paekakariki (you can catch him again, at the Paekakariki Memorial Hall, this Sunday at 2:30 pm).  Mary Gow also organised his concert at St Andrew's on The Terrace on Thursday lunchtime. One of a seeming endless flood of musicians from Russia and other former-Soviet states. Bach opened the... read more

Musical anniversaries: composers and music

By , 21/06/2018
Composer-related dates interest me This bit of pointless research began as an appendix to my review of Supertonic’s concert on Sunday 20 May in the Pipitea Marae. It was prompted in that review by the death in 1918 of Lili Boulanger, one of whose songs was performed there. In an appendix to that review I mentioned the obvious ones: Debussy’s death 100 years ago, Bernstein’s birth 100 years ago, Gounod’s birth... read more

A revelatory Bach X 2 lunch recital on piano and organ by Jonathan Berkahn

By , 20/06/2018
Jonathan Berkahn is a versatile musician, happy to play any keyboard instrument, including the piano accordion. In this recital he played three J S Bach pieces on the Steinway, then moved to the pipe organ in the gallery to play an organ sonata by CPE Bach and a final Toccata and Fugue by Bach père. The Fantasia in C minor is a splendid piece which sounds as bold and inspiring... read more

Lawrence Renes, NZSO and Simon O’Neill in superb Wagner songs and monumental Bruckner 4th

By , 16/06/2018
This subscription concert was advertised as ‘An Evening with Simon O’Neill’, obviously in the hope that the name of New Zealand’s internationally most distinguished singer would match that of the recently retired Kiri Te Kanawa. But it didn’t work as the auditorium was hardly half full. Nevertheless, O’Neill is indeed one of a small handful of leading tenors in the Wagner class. Sure, he doesn’t compete in the public... read more

Engaging and exploratory viola music from NZSM students at St Andrew’s

By , 13/06/2018
This is the time for music students to use the facilities and be exposed to audiences at St Andrew’s lunchtime concerts in preparation for their first semester assessments. For audiences too, there are a couple of benefits; invariably, there are students who surprise, sometimes astonish, with their level of musicianship and technical skill; and there’s the chance to hear some unfamiliar, sometimes very engaging music. Some is chosen to... read more

Full house Mulled Wine concert at Paekakariki with NZSM violin and piano stars

By , 27/05/2018
We’ve sadly missed a couple of earlier Mulled Wine concerts from Paekakariki: the Rodger Fox Jazz Ensemble in January and Toru (the Wellington trio of flute, viola and harp) in March, though we caught up with them at Lower Hutt recently. This concert was perhaps more than merely a compensation, from two of the distinguished classical performance lecturers at the school of music of Victoria University. There were three solo pieces:... read more

Panorama Theme by Themocracy