Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Gaudete at St Mary of the Angels with Baroque Voices and Palliser Viols

By , 20/12/2017
This was a beautifully devised and presented programme, appropriately given the name “Gaudete” as a kind of seasonal evocation, an enjoining spirit of joyfulness, as well as a reflection of the sentiments proclaimed by both words and music throughout the evening, such as with an eponymously-named work written especially for these musicians by New Zealand composer Ross Harris. The term “verse anthem” is the English equivalent of the German “cantata”... read more

A flavoursome taste of the “Baroque” at the St.Andrew’s Lunchtime Concert Series

By , 13/12/2017
These four performers, a singer and three instrumentalists, provided for this concert a goodly range of musical expression inhabiting that style we loosely know as “baroque”. The programme was framed by works from two of the “giants” of the era, Georg Phillipp Teleman and Johann Sebastian Bach, and also contained a sonata for oboe and bassoon by someone whose name was unknown to me, Johann David Heinichen (1683-1729) ... read more

Cynthia and Gertie go Baroque with Purcell at Circa Theatre

By , 13/12/2017
(until 23rd December) Firstly, a note of thanks to Cynthia Fortitude and Gertie Rallentando – Thank you both, for your indefatigable energies and your irrepressible buoyancies! Together, you were as a matching pair of Courtenay Place street-lamps to our sensibilities throughout the intoxicating journey upon which you launched us, offering support as well as illumination! Your concerted efforts generated such refulgence, shining forth from within the textures of one of... read more

Handel’s Messiah – music as a living entity

By , 09/12/2017
This was a most interesting “Messiah”, containing as it did a number of interpretative and executive detailings I wouldn’t quite frankly have expected to encounter in the same single performance. Of course, for me to actually say that goes against the grain of what I’ve always felt about Baroque Music and its presentation, that its composers and musicians (and almost certainly its listeners as well) would have been intensely... read more

Monteverdi again – at last! – The Fifth Book of Madrigals, from Baroque Voices

By , 03/12/2017
Continuing with a concert series which began in 2011, Baroque Voices, led by the intrepid and perennially fresh-voiced Pepe Becker, performed for us on this occasion all but the final madrigal in Monteverdi’s “Quinto Libro” (Book Five), the last-named requiring a greater number of singers than the rest of the collection. The group has, sometimes, in these concerts, re-ordered the chronology of the works (Book Four, for example, was... read more

Cataclysmic conclusion to Orchestra Wellington’s Diaghilev season

By , 02/12/2017
This concert began with two of the most famous chords in all nineteenth-century music, those which opened a thrilling performance by Orchestra Wellington of Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony, the work by which the composer allegedly intended to celebrate the achievements of Napoleon Bonaparte, but changed his mind, and, according to an eye-witness account, scratched out the original dedication, and reinscribed it as “composed in memory of a great man”. Napoleon or... read more

Vivante Ensemble’s Vaughan Williams and Mendelssohn set St.Andrew’s buzzing

By , 29/11/2017
The St Andrew's-on-The-Terrace Lunchtime Concert Series here in Wellington has over the years produced some memorable musical experiences, but surely none more exhilarating that what we heard given by the talented Vivante Ensemble on this occasion. To be variously entranced, mesmerized, captivated, energized and thoroughly intoxicated as a listener at a concert performance is to experience a "spirit of delight" which, as the poet laments, "rarely comest" to the... read more

Peter Pan – stardust forever at Circa Theatre

By , 18/11/2017

Now here was fun heaped up in spadefuls onto classic, tried-and-true fantasy with a splendid pantomimic treatment of J.M.Barrie's play "Peter Pan: the boy who wouldn't grow up", beloved of generations over a century of years. Writers Pinky Agnew and Lorae Parry, in their first-ever pantomime, managed to give us all the trappings of the art-form - music, slapstick comedy and topical jokes - while maintaining enough of... read more

Orchestra Wellington out-performs the fireworks with a stunning “Petrouchka”

By , 04/11/2017
Audiences can be curiously unpredictable, on occasions exhilarating and galvanizing masses of energy to be part of, caught up in the excitement of either enthusiastic or rapt responses to some performances, (especially those involving soloists) and then for no apparent reason, every once in a while, strangely under-responsive. Why this sudden out-of-the-blue observation, going a little against the grain of my normally unrelieved positivism as a music reviewer? It was... read more

Rachmaninov – jubilation and bitterness, but sheer poetry from Joyce Yang

By , 27/10/2017

A beautifully put-together programme, this, devoted to the music of Rachmaninov, and in almost every way, superbly delivered! There could be no doubt, however as to who the "star of the show" was - Korean-born American pianist Joyce Yang gave what seemed to me a performance in a thousand of the composer's fearsome D Minor Concerto, regarded by many as one of the most technically difficult works for... read more

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