Supported by generous help from the Adam Foundation

Orchestra Wellington ends its year in blaze of irreverent glory

By , November 15, 2014
This last of Orchestra Wellington’s most successful 2014 subscription series not only delivered the last of the Haydn’s Paris symphonies, but brought together Wellington’s other major, locally-specific musical organization: the Orpheus Choir, to perform what is one of the most popular, large-scale compositions. Also called for in Carmina Burana is a children’s choir and Christine Argyle led Wellington Young Voices to contribute that element. In the first half, Haydn’s No... read more

Diverting and wide-ranging concert from the SMP Ensemble

By , November 14, 2014
The SMP Ensemble’s programmes, often devoted to experimental, New Zealand music, are not always particularly easy for the average classical music lover to enjoy. This one, advertising Schoenberg’s best-loved piece, Verklärte Nacht, guaranteed pleasure. But word of it had obviously not got out as the audience was sadly small. The first half did include a couple of, shall we say, unusual pieces, but it began and ended with harp player... read more

Polished and delightful lunchtime with winds at St Andrew’s

By , November 12, 2014
To return from a nearly two-month trip in Europe to a Wellington rich with such plentiful and excellent live music has been a considerable consolation. Not that I ever underestimated the phenomenon of a fairly small city with such a wealth of practising musicians, plus their indispensable facilitating by enterprising impresarios and concert managers such as St Andrew’s enjoys. In the Paris weekly Officiel des spectacles or Pariscope, in a... read more

Orchestra Wellington confirms its vital role in city’s musical life with wonderful Haydn and Mahler

By , September 7, 2014
In the lobby before the concert a friend asked whether I’d been to Marc Taddei’s pre-concert talk and I confessed I had not. She, with a wide knowledge of music, though from another artistic perspective, had been delighted with it, had gained rewarding insights in what was about to be played. Some pre-concert talks are more fascinating than others; Taddei's are among the best: he has a gift that reaches... read more

Chamber Music New Zealand hosts exciting concert by pianos and percussion

By , August 26, 2014
This step outside the usual range of string-dominant chamber music attracted a big house in the Michael Fowler Centre; the welcome by CEO Euan Murdoch also suggested that a larger number of younger people had been drawn by this programme, with its less familiar instrumental context, yet of major works. And he drew attention to the use of an overhead camera that projected a bird’s eye view of the array... read more

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

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