Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

“Firebird” from Orchestra Wellington an incendiary experience

By , 13/05/2017
This was, in this best of all possible worlds, the best possible start to Orchestra Wellington's "The Impresario" season, a beautifully-devised concert whose centrepiece was Igor Stravinsky's 1910 Ballet "The Firebird". This piece, commissioned by the Russian-born artistic entrepreneur Sergei Diaghilev for the Ballets Russes in Paris, began a collaboration between composer and impresario which was to produce three of the most famous ballets of the 20th century, the... read more

Aotearoa Plus from the NZSO set alight by Gareth Farr premiere

By , 05/05/2017
A concert with the name "Aotearoa Plus" begs the question of how an orchestra might best support and present the music of native composers - the title is one which, in my artless way, I thought might have fairly been expected to accompany rather more homegrown examples of composition than were allowed for here. Thank goodness, then, in my view, for Gareth Farr's work, and its performance, which delivered a... read more

NZTrio at St.Andrew’s in Wellington – and homage to Justine Cormack

By , 30/04/2017
Outside of the brilliant performances of the music, the most stupendous revelation for some at the NZ Trio's recent Wellington concert would have been the announcement, made at the concert's end by local chamber music organiser Julie Coulson, that the trio's violinist Justine Cormack would be leaving the group mid-2017 - of course for people who "keep abreast" of things like this by reading newsletters and the like (a... read more

Orpheus Choir’s “Chichester Psalms” concert terrific! – but James MacMillan has the last word……..

By , 29/04/2017
As with music and art in general, people's responses to matters of spiritual belief seem to vary enormously from individual to individual. Despite what seems like an ever-increasing secularisation of everyday life, we’re still can’t help being either active or passive observers of institutionalised calendar commemorations based on matters of belief in God which affect various human activities - we're regularly made aware of certain historical frameworks and structures... read more

Bach père et fils, and antipodean Baroque resoundings, from Ensemble Paladino

By , 28/04/2017
Auckland-based Ensemble Paladino's intentions, as stated in an introductory note to this concert, were "to present uncompromising, diverse and fearless chamber music on the highest level", an exciting and challenging statement of intent which, to my ears was fulfilled most expertly and mellifluously at Lower Hutt's Little Theatre on Friday evening. It was interesting that, with the ensemble's sound still resounding in my ears, I unexpectedly found myself comparing... read more

And now for something different – another song recital at St.Andrew’s!

By , 26/04/2017
Such is the range and scope of song as an art-form that daily programmes such as this beautifully-designed compilation might easily be put together without duplication for eons of time to come. Two of the items presented here could be said to have some kind of well-known currency - Edvard Grieg's "Jeg elsker dig" (I love you), and Giuseppe Verdi's duet "Dite alla Giovine" from the opera "La Traviata... read more

Duets and other lunchtime delights at St.Andrew’s

By , 19/04/2017
Here was a particularly happy marriage of music, performance and occasion, the repertoire engaging, balanced and varied, and the performances idiomatic, focused, and whole-hearted. Serving up the music of Brahms with firstly that of Ravel seemed to me to somehow underline the impishness of the former with the ironic wit of the latter, so that each of the worlds resonated and sparkled all the more. And secondly, the choice of... read more

Magisterial performances from Siyu Sun (piano) and the Wellington Chamber Orchestra

By , 09/04/2017
A great programme and an equally great occasion! Particularly in the case of the Rachmaninov Concerto, there was a commonality of sorts between the work itself and the circumstances surrounding this particular performance, in each instance a sense of "coming through" against the odds. It's well-known that the composer wrote the music as a kind of "therapy" by way of recovering from the depression which overwhelmed him after the... read more

Adams and Mozart (and Martin Fröst) inspire de Waart and the NZSO

By , 07/04/2017
John Adams (b.1947) has for some time been popularly regarded as one of the "big three" of minimalist music composition, along with Philip Glass and Steve Reich. The term "minimalist" was used to describe a specific creative aesthetic involving the reduction to the bare essentials of whatever medium the creative artist worked with - in music this involved using repetition of melodic and rhythmic ideas to express minute gradations... read more

Purcell’s “happier graces” prevail in concert of improvisations

By , 18/03/2017
This was a concert whose music-making seemed to connect with practically everybody who sat within coo-ee of me in the Michael Fowler Centre, judging by the warmth and enthusiasm of the reception for the musicians at the end of the evening. While I must confess I wasn't as obviously enamoured of some of the concert's offerings as most people were, I certainly registered the individual and corporate skills of... read more

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