Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

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

Richard Mapp at St.Andrew’s in Wellington – piano-playing with a quality of connection

By , 02/09/2018
Most intriguingly, the mere prospect of attending a piano recital by Richard Mapp gives rise to feelings within me of a kind of anticipation that I find difficult to explain, except with what seems like vague and insubstantial language, unable to properly grasp the essence of what gives my feelings any kind of actuality. But there’s a quality I’ve always felt in his playing that, in my experience of... read more

Stroma – Iconic Sonics at the City Gallery, Wellington…..revisiting the new, along with the new

By , 29/08/2018
Eighteen years into the 21st Century a lot of music-lovers are still coming to grips with the innovators and radical figures of twentieth-century music. It’s a process which was in some ways mirrored a century ago by the fin de siècle attitude of many people to the works of Berlioz, Liszt, Mussorgsky, Bruckner and Mahler, all of whom had to wait for a “later time”, at which stage their creative... read more

Rachmaninov and Stravinsky – not such strange bedfellows, courtesy of de Waart and the NZSO

By , 24/08/2018
What a pleasure it was to be able to read in the programme NZSO Music Director Edo de Waart’s comments about each of the pieces due to be conducted by him in this evening’s concert with the orchestra. His words resonated on a number of fronts, one of them historical as he touched on the NZSO’s special relationship with Igor Stravinsky, who, in 1961 visited New Zealand at the... read more

A girdle round about the earth – Katherine Mansfield as a “wild colonial girl” at Circa Theatre

By , 21/08/2018
Writer Lorae Parry’s dramatized exploration of Katherine Mansfield’s brief but stellar trajectory throughout different worlds on each side of the globe is a miracle of recreation. It takes a particular kind of genius to flesh out convincingly and organically the bones and sinews of someone else’s work, a process for which Parry obviously has the gift of instinct allied to the electric charge of empathy. Mansfield’s own words are... read more

East and West mingle at Wellington Youth Orchestra Concert

By , 19/08/2018
A most striking frontispiece on the programme cover (uncredited) for this enterprising concert seemed to alert us to the presence of something out-of-the-ordinary - an illustration something along the lines of those disconcerting front-and-profile images of one and the same person. It wasn’t exactly that, in this case, but the effect certainly caused a double-take on my part, which I presume was the idea! – here, a youthful portrait... read more

Ensemble Zefiro a breath of fresh, tangy air in Wellington

By , 10/08/2018
I’ve copied out the titles of the pieces as per programme, which accounts for the unusual names for aria (arie), overture (ouverture) and partita (Parthia), the last of which I thought at first was some kind of misprint. But no – there it was - Parthia, an alternative form of “partita”. So as it was something I didn’t know before I thought it was worth committing to review! However... read more

Monteverdi’s Orfeo – a “rarely comest…spirit of delight” from Eternity Opera

By , 04/08/2018
To my consternation, I learned after the performance on Saturday evening was completed, that this was to be the only “outing” for Eternity Opera’s production of Monteverdi’s Orfeo! On a number of counts, this was regrettable, if only for the fact that I knew of a number of people who weren’t able to attend the performance and who had expected (as I certainly did) that there would be at... read more

Klara Kollektiv musicians vary the musical fare to resounding effect

By , 26/07/2018
I wondered on first sighting whether the name “Klara Kollektiv” indicated the first names of the group’s three musicians – could this be “a bevy of Klaras”, a “Klaras kollektiva”, so to speak? And then I saw Anna McGregor’s name in the publicity, which in the nicest possible way put paid to my brief whimsy, as subsequently did the ensemble’s playing throughout the concert, demonstrating part of the title’s... read more

Panorama Theme by Themocracy