Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

String student talents impressively exhibited at St Andrew’s lunchtime concert

This was, on the whole, an impressive line-up of young string players.  They are presumably at different stages in their studies (in other years the printed programme for such concerts has shown which year each player was, which was helpful in appreciating their level of skill). The Brahms sonata is one of his most elegiac pieces.  However, the tone of Charlotte Lamb’s violin being a little harsh didn’t match this... read more

Kapiti Chamber Choir with the Romantic Triangle: Brahms, Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann

As I observed of the last Kapiti Chamber choir concert I reviewed  (three years ago), none of the choral items in the first half was an easy sing, and most  were unaccompanied.  Good observation of dynamics was a significant feature throughout the concert.  The items were sung in the original German language except the Requiem, which was in Latin.  English translations were printed in the programme. Before the concert began... read more

Rich and diverting recital of songs by Takiri vocal quartet and piano at Waikanae

The reviewing of this concert was shared by Rosemary Collier and Lindis Taylor. First part: Rosemary Collier  Two years ago the ensemble sang for the Waikanae Music Society; on that occasion the mezzo was Bianca Andrew and the tenor Andrew Glover.  That programme also began with a bracket of well-known Schubert lieder, then progressed to Schumann (I’m embarrassed to say his songs were the Spanische Liebeslieder, which in a very recent review... read more

Schumann song programme – solos, duets, quartets – everything admirable except the relentless clapping

A single song and two cycles of songs were performed to a small but appreciative audience; it was marvellous to have an all-Schumann concert.  After applause following the first ‘stand-alone’ song, the audience then applauded after virtually every song in the cycles; frustration at this breaking up of the continuity of the cycles showed at times in accompanist Catherine Norton’s body language. The first song, ‘Der Hidalgo’ was appropriately a... read more

Ron Newton plays for St James 2017 Sunday Organ Series

Dr Ron Newton, as well as being an organist, is an organ builder and travels throughout the country working on organs English composer John Baptiste Calkin (1827 – 1905) is not often heard of these days.  He wrote a lot of church and organ music.  I found his march rather undistinguished, though obviously written for a time when organ music was often symphonic in nature (and often being transcriptions of... read more

Excellent and interesting mix of Mozart quintet and Respighi song

The sun had well and truly set before I made my way to Karori through cold southerly rain and wind for a charity concert in the series organised by Christiaan van der Zee and others.  The regular Friday evening concerts in winter have usually been in St. Ninian’s Church; the change of venue brought a quite different acoustic.  This church has a vaulted timber ceiling and plastered walls, producing... read more

Festival Singers – an entertaining but mixed operatic bag at Waiwhetu

It was a splendid idea for a concert:  Perform sacred works, or quasi-religious works, by some of the great opera composers. Vary it with instrumental pieces, including some for strings, and a soloist or two. Introduce the items in informative and amusing, but brief, words. The formula was fine, but the performances did not always live up to the promise. Using an electronic organ, sometimes with piano, to accompany the pieces... read more

Archi d’Amore Zealanda with delightful programme of New Zealand compositions, plus Bach

The ensemble brought a thoroughly delightful programme to an appreciative audience.  What was unusual was that apart from the solo Bach work, the music played was contemporary, whereas one would expect that the viola d’amore would be playing music from a much earlier times.  The programme notes included this comment ‘...the instrument has been enjoying a renaissance since the mid-twentieth century, with new works being composed and old works... read more

Choral singing flourishes in Wellington region Big Sing gala concert

As I said in 2015 (in a review of the Big Sing National Finale concert), it is marvellous to find so many young people taking part in choirs and obviously enjoying it.  Apparently there are more choirs in the 2017 Festival than ever before, and it seems to me that the standard is always rising.  The fact that all the choirs learn all their pieces by heart is staggering... read more

Acclamation for Auckland Viva Voce’s remarkable performance of enthralling work on pilgrimage: Camino de Santiago de Compostela

The programme’’s sub-title for the work was “Joby Talbot’s stunning choral depiction of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.”  The blurb was right; this was a truly remarkable work, of just over an hour’s almost constant unaccompanied singing (apart from the periodic use of 8 traditional small cymbals,or crotales), with no applause until the end. Talbot is a 46-year-old British composer who has written in many genres, including opera and ballet... read more

Panorama Theme by Themocracy