Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Beguiling concert of French chanson, torch songs, café and cabaret songs by Magdalena Darby and friends

By , 27/07/2016
Magdalena Darby’s bio begins with her studies at the Conservatorium of Music in Utrecht, but shies away from dates, early education, or when she came to New Zealand; one assumes she was born in the Netherlands. Before coming to New Zealand she lived in Mexico and presumably Paris. Her bio refers to performing in Paris as well as London and elsewhere in Europe (can we still assume that ‘Europe’... read more

A good case for Mendelssohn’s (complete) organ music in cathedral series

By , 22/07/2016
On top of last year’s Bach Project from Michael Stewart and Richard Apperley and the latter’s Buxtehude Project that’s running now, cathedral director of music, Michael Stewart, has now invited us to pay attention to and hopefully change our minds about Mendelssohn. In his introductory notes for the first of the series of recitals he claimed that Mendelssohn had “made an incredibly profound contribution to the organ and its... read more

Buxtehude’s credentials solidly confirmed at the 6th of the organ series at Saint Paul’s

By , 15/07/2016
On 17 June I covered some of the background to the formidable complete organ works of Dieterich Buxtehude, after the first four of the series had eluded me (read: Middle C, or I, had neglected them, a grave oversight). Here was the 6th of the series. The first work in the programme was fairly large, employing three fugues; optimistic in tone, as the key of C major seems to inspire in... read more

Excellent performance by Nota Bene of Rossini’s marvellous Petite Messe solennelle

By , 09/07/2016
Rossini’s end-of-life setting of the Mass has a somewhat special place in the repertoire – secular or sacred? serious or ironic? Thus, some more humourless music lovers have difficulty in enjoying it as some of the music is a bit unusual in tone, remote from the way a 'proper' sacred or liturgical work should be. I think it would be hard to perform it in a way that suggested any... read more

An intriguing anniversary concert from Jonathan Berkahn and Heather Easting at St Andrew’s

By , 06/07/2016
For me, there is a rather compulsive fascination with musical and other anniversaries, and with the fitting of events, of births and deaths, into a time-frame. Here I’d met a kindred spirit who introduced the programme by referring to some of the major events of around two hundred years ago. They had mainly to do with war – the Napoleonic Wars and most closely, the Battle of Waterloo, which... read more

Full vindication of the glories of the violin and piano repertoire, courtesy the Michael Hill violin competition

By , 02/07/2016
Suyeon Kang won last year’s Michael Hill International Violin Competition and it is thanks to the splendid relationship between the competition and the chamber music organization that the winners can be heard in a series of concerts throughout New Zealand. There are others in this project: the Queenstown Winter Festival (where the preliminary rounds of the competition are held), Musica Viva Australia (where two of the concerts in the series... read more

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

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