Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Some impressive performances from NZSM string students at St Andrew’s

On the coldest day of the winter so far, there was still a respectably-sized audience at the lunchtime concert. The students introduced themselves and their music, but unlike the wind students I reviewed two weeks ago, these students did not use the microphone, and so several of them were inaudible, speaking as though to a few people sitting in front of them.  One who spoke in audible tones nevertheless was... read more

Talents and skills of university woodwind students in St Andrew’s lunchtime recital

It is interesting to hear music students at different levels of their courses, and of ability and achievement.  All these students, though, performed well and provided engaging music.  In most cases they were accompanied on the piano, although two students played unaccompanied pieces.  It was pleasing to see a number of school students in the audience; perhaps they are studying wind instruments. Simon Brew, acting head of winds at... read more

Impressive and stylish performance of Bach’s great Mass in B minor celebrates choir’s 50 years

A handsome A4-size printed programme with a good size of typeface greeted the almost capacity audience at the concert.  Inside was a potted history of the choir, and good programme notes, credited to the internet source, plus entire libretto of the Mass, with English translations. This work, one of the pinnacles of the choral repertoire, is Bach’s only Mass, though made up partly of a number of earlier pieces, written... read more

Piquant and entertaining programme from guitar and viola d’amore at St Andrew’s

I heard these two musicians last year, and once again I can only say that their playing is highly skilled and utterly delightful, and the repertoire charming. A sizeable audience, including numbers of young people, heard them play a diverse range of music, not all of it composed for precisely this instrumentation, but all of it well worth hearing and apt for the combination. The Locatelli Sonata Op.2, no.4 was enchanting ... read more

Fabulous students choir fully prepared for Hong Kong choral festival in July

A rather damp, cool evening after days of beautiful, calm weather did not daunt family, friends and supporters of the choir; the church was packed. The 55-member choir proved to be in great form, and well-trained in a diversity of choral music.  Their interpretations were always adapted to the style and age of music being performed.  Diverse tone and approach were sensitively observed.  I found myself writing down ‘men’ and... read more

Nota Bene at Sacred Heart Cathedral: an enjoyable concert by a very accomplished choir

An imaginative concert full of delightful songs beautifully sung, it attracted  a moderate audience.  The diversity and careful planning of the programme was let down, in my view, by being broken up by too much applause.  Since it was divided into five Parts, it would have been sensible to have asked the audience to keep applause to the end of each Part.  As it was, almost every song was... read more

Wellington Chamber Orchestra in interesting Alfred Hill exploratory mode

An adventurous and stimulating programme was chosen by the Wellington Chamber Orchestra for this first concert of 2018.  The works demanded, and received, almost a full symphony orchestra.  Whether the bright acoustic of St. Andrew’s can cope with this number of players, including brass (mercifully this time not in the sanctuary – it was occupied by the piano, and the percussion) is another matter.  A number of rows of... read more

Polish and Shakespearean themes lead fine St Andrew’s lunchtime recital

Shakespeare ‘book-ended’ the programme, with two sets of songs, separated by Chopin.  It made an interesting programme, featuring mainly the piano, but with pleasing songs to begin and end. The pianist and composer André Tchaikowsky was not, we were told in the pianist’s introductory remarks, related to the great composer of the same name.  I remember him visiting New Zealand to play with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, a long... read more

Tudor Consort successfully aligns Easter concert with ending of World War I

As Michael Stewart explained in his pre-concert talk, in considering music for the yearly Good Friday concert, he had the idea of aligning music for Holy Week with music marking the end of World War I. Therefore he chose appropriate music written during that war, and interspersed it with music of earlier times written by English composers, and with poems written by two poets of the Great War. All... read more

New Zealand String Quartet at Waikanae deliver major works with assurance, passion, delicacy

How fortunate we are to have such a fine quartet performing to us frequently!  They are national treasures – worth their weight in gold.  And that is how they appeared at this concert: in new, gold encrusted outfits.  In Rolf Gjelsten’s case it was restricted to his tie, but the women’s tops were much more flashy – but not so much as to be a distraction from the wonderful... read more

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