Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

No better way of concluding a year’s worth of glorious music-making! Ensemble LTJJI at Hutt Valley Chamber Music’s final 2018 concert.

By , 15/10/2018
Undoubtedly a mouth-watering prospect on paper, this concert nevertheless had some surprises in store, almost entirely in the realm of the transcription of Mozart’s Piano Concerto K.414 for piano and string quartet, made by the composer himself to increase the music’s likelihood of being played in whatever form.  He obviously had very little faith in the extent of his audiences’ musical sensibilities, describing in a letter of December 1782... read more

Circa Theatre’s “Under Milk Wood” a vital and rumbustious celebration of “LLareggub”

By , 13/10/2018
People who grew up with the sounds of the voices of either Dylan Thomas himself, or of Welsh actor Richard Burton, as the “First Voice” on any of the two recordings of Thomas’s verse-play “Under Milk Wood” that were available in New Zealand from the 1950s, were given the work pretty much as its author would have expected it to be performed – as a play for voices, to... read more

Puccini’s La Boheme in Wellington – ineffably human and heartfelt

By , 04/10/2018
It may seem a strange entry point for a review’s beginning - but at the opening night of New Zealand Opera’s 2018 season of “La Boheme” in the Wellington Opera House on Thursday last, there was for me, near the Second Act’s conclusion, a “great moment”, whose incredible lyrical surge and explosion of sheer theatrical energy seemed at once to overshadow and enhance the significance of everything that had... read more

300 years of riches from the NZSM Orchestra – What is it about Bartok’s Second Violin Concerto this year?

By , 02/10/2018
Though primarily a vehicle for displaying the stellar talents of violinist Claudia Tarrant-Matthews, winner of the NZSM Concerto Competition for 2018, this concert gave considerable added value in terms of the wide range of repertoire, not to mention the quality of the NZSM Orchestra’s committed, focused and excitingly-played performances of the same. Following Tarrant-Matthews’ astonishing traversal of one of the twentieth century’s truly great concertos, we heard an evocative... read more

Too important to let go – Ashley Brown with a “new” NZTrio for Braid, a Suffrage Year concert

By , 26/09/2018
This is the second concert with overt connections to the recent 125th suffrage anniversary that I’ve recently reviewed, very different to the earlier one (Cantoris Choir, Wellington), though packing a similarly powerhouse punch on behalf of women’s musical creativity. It was titled Braid, and is one of three concert series given by the trio this year featuring the work of women composers, the other two being called Weave and Twine. As with Cantoris Choir’s presentation... read more

Exotic, rhapsodic, gruesome and tragic – Wellington Chamber Orchestra with conductor Andrew Atkins and Thomas Nikora (piano)

By , 23/09/2018
I thought the programme’s given, somewhat “Readers’ Digest”, title “Great Romantic Symphonic Poems” simply didn’t convey the essence of this concert, so I have invented my own, above, thinking that it ought to “grab” people’s attention more readily, even if for the wrong reasons. The adjectives refer, of course, to the concert’s contents, and by no means to the performances, which were simply riveting throughout – and what reservations... read more

125th Women’s Suffrage Anniversary Concert with Cantoris in Wellington

By , 19/09/2018
2018 marks the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand.  On 19 September 1893 the Electoral Act 1893 was passed, giving all women in New Zealand the right to vote.  As a result of this landmark legislation, New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections. Cantoris Choir in Wellington presented a concert of works on the... read more

Inspirare’s partnership with Youth Choirs a resounding success

By , 15/09/2018
This second concert that I’ve attended which featured the voices of Inspirare, a choir founded by their director, Mark L.Stamper, couldn’t have been more different from the first one (an inspirational performance of Sergei Rachmaninov’s All Night Vigil earlier this year), but was equally impressive in achieving what it had obviously set out to do. In the same venue as where the previous concert had held its audience spellbound... read more

The Borodin Quartet – rich in tradition, focused and austere in performance

By , 13/09/2018
I found myself wondering how many people in the hall on Thursday evening besides myself might have been similarly “initiated” into chamber music by the Borodin Quartet via a famous 1962 Decca LP recording of the music of Borodin (the well-known Second String Quartet) and Shostakovich (the Eighth Quartet). At that stage of the quartet’s colourful history, two of its “foundation members” from 1945 were still with the group... read more

Dynamic, muscular and sonorous – Orpheus and Wellington Youth choirs tackle Verdi’s Requiem with Orchestra Wellington to stupendous effect

By , 08/09/2018
Choir(s) and Orchestra alike would have been more than gratified at the audience turnout for this concert – the ensuing atmosphere reminded me of the same combination’s brilliantly successful presentation of Orff’s “Carmina Burana” of a couple of years ago. Naturally, the performance ethos in this instance was somewhat more sombre, as befitted the subject matter, but the musicians’ commitment to the task of realising the sounds was in... read more

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