Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Another end-of-year student recital: woodwinds in calm weather

By , 26/09/2017
End of year public recitals by New Zealand School of Music students continued, today with woodwind players. If I had been uninterested in hearing the NZSO and Freddy Kempf last Saturday playing single movements of major piano concertos (though I gather it was well-patronised), this was different. Because one was not laying out a substantial ticket price for the rather frustrating experience of being left in mid-air in Mozart... read more

Entertaining concert, mixing symphony with jazz and a witty film score from Wellington Chamber Orchestra

By , 24/09/2017
One might have considered this an unorthodox programme, starting with a well-known Mozart symphony, ending with Prokofiev’s delightful Lieutenent Kije Suite and in between, songs by Mussorgsky and two jazz standards. The Mozart symphony is known as the 'Little G minor' Symphony to distinguish it from the big one, No 40. But it became easier to distinguish after its arresting opening was used as the introduction to the fictitious, misleading... read more

NZSM voice students in admirable and highly varied recital at St Andrew’s

By , 20/09/2017
We are at that time of the year, when music students are welcomed at St Andrew’s to given them some public exposure in connection with their end-of-year assessments. Here we heard six students at varying stages of their studies. Most of them had been seen in the past year or so in the school’s and other opera productions, particularly in the recent Cunning Little Vixen which had such a... read more

Diverting three-quarter hour of flute-flavoured song: Barbara Graham, Rebecca Steel, Fiona McCabe

By , 19/09/2017
For a somewhat bigger-than-average audience including, I gather, a contingent from a retirement village, all three performers contributed commentary mixing erudition with light-heartedness. So we began with references to Handel’s ode, or oratorio, L’Allegro, Il Penseroso ed il Moderato, sung by Barbara Graham. The oratorio was based on Milton’s poem of a century earlier, entitled ‘L’Allegro-Il Penseroso’, which was enlarged at the prompting of Handel’s friends, with a portrait... read more

NZSM students give insightful performances of New Zealand music and pieces by Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms and Barber

By , 12/09/2017
We’ve been neglecting Old St Paul’s lunchtime concerts this year, and so I was glad to find a good audience for this varied exhibition of NZSM piano talent. It began with Amanda Bunting who played two pieces: the first movement of Beethoven’s Tempest sonata (Op 31 No 2) and Samuel Barber’s Excursions, first movement. Though the Tempest is obviously still a work in progress, with quite a lot of slips... read more

Orchestra Wellington with scintillating programme: Grieg piano concerto midst spectacular orchestral waltzes

By , 09/09/2017
Orchestra Wellington’s 2017 series has followed the theme of music inspired or commissioned by the great impresario Serge Diaghilev. The two pieces with Diaghilev connections at this concert were Weber’s Invitation to the Dance and Ravel’s La valse, though there was also a ballet connection with the first Ravel music in the programme which was originally a set of waltzes for piano which Ravel orchestrated at the request, not... read more

St Andrew’s captures fascinating sample from the 44th International Viola Congress in Wellington

By , 06/09/2017
St Andrew’s managed to attract one of the visitors to the 44th International Viola Congress that was held in Wellington over the weekend. Polish violist Marcin Murawski together with pianist Gabriela Glapska (Polish doctoral student at Victoria University’s School of Music) played an interesting 45 minutes of Polish music. Apart from a couple of pieces by contemporary composers, most was by 19th century composers, and it was little surprise... read more

Momentous performances of Beethoven violin sonatas: the third and fourth recitals

By , 31/08/2017
My only knowledge of an earlier full cycle of Beethoven’s violin sonatas is at the first New Zealand International Festival of the Arts in 1986. They were played by Maurice Hasson and Maurice Till, in three recitals: two in the old Concert Chamber of the Town Hall and the third, which included the Kreutzer, in the main auditorium of the Town Hall. The old concert chamber, for those whose... read more

Kent McIntosh, Bianca Andrew with Catherine Norton: German and Swedish songs and Janáček’s remarkable cycle

By , 19/08/2017
The first half of this recital – Lieder - was given to mezzo Bianca Andrew while the Janáček was sung (mainly) by Kent McIntosh. To devote the song part to Lieder in German and Swedish (and an American-German) was to lend it very comforting variety, and filled the time to an hour. It might have been decided that Janáček could be accompanied by other Czech or Slavonic songs, which could... read more

Beautiful Lieder recital from Maaike Christie-Beekmann, viola and piano

By , 16/08/2017
I wondered whether it was quite appropriate to review this recital, because, before she began, mezzo Maaike Christie-Beekman had explained that a voice problem might not allow her to get very far through the published programme. I think her tactics were sensible when she began with the two Brahms songs, rather than with Schumann’s eight-song cycle which she then approached. And she abandoned Wolf’s Mignon songs (from Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister)... read more

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