Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

NZSM classical voice students show their talents at St Andrew’s

A Thursday lunchtime concert apparently does not have the appeal of the regular Wednesday one; the audience was quite small.  However, it was an opportunity to hear some promising young singers, and a first-class accompanist. The singers were all sopranos, and a mixture of first, second and third year students, the majority being second years. First up was Olivia Stewart.  She sang two items in English: ‘Angels ever bright and fair’... read more

Swedish-New Zealand ensemble beguiles Waikanae with varied pieces: brand new, interesting, much loved

On picking up my printed programme when entering the hall, I recalled the last chamber music concert I reviewed: Wellington Chamber Music Trust’s concert at St. Andrew’s Church in Wellington on 15 July, where larger-size programmes (double A4) were available; an example Waikanae should follow, given the older-age group that comprises the bulk of the audience. This time the audience was considerably smaller than is usual at this venue, which... read more

Admirable results of a week of string instrument coaching from the Aroha String Quartet

The Aroha Quartet is innovative in a number of ways, not least in convening this annual week-long course for amateur string players of all ages, participants coming from Australia and China as well as New Zealand.  The music they produced, without much time for rehearsal, was remarkable. An almost-full St. Andrew’s Church heard the music performed by 25 enthusiastic amateur musicians.  The concert began with the first movement of Dvořák’s... read more

Interesting recital of Romantic French music for cello and piano

The first thing that struck me at this concert was not musical – it was pleasure at having a large-print programme!  Others, please copy, for those of us who find it hard to read the normal-sized print, especially in a darkened auditorium – which this wasn’t.  A further improvement in readability would be to use a different type-face; the fashionable sans-serif fonts do not pass readability tests s well... read more

Jaime Martín and National Youth Orchestra on full throttle as percussion and brass deliver excitement and panache

It was a joy to see young people making fine music so well, and enjoying it, and to observe, too, the number of young people in the audience responding most enthusiastically – but a pity to note many empty seats.  However, let us hope that the younger members of the audience will, as a result of this experience, attend concerts by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, especially as they... read more

Demanding song recital reflects more ambition than accomplishment

It is not often that I attend a lunchtime concert at St. Andrew’s and come away disappointed, but that was the case this time.  I am fond of Fauré’s songs and deeply devoted to Schumann’s Dichterliebe.  But this time I could not say I was enchanted by what I heard. The first song went well.  The second, like a number later on, was perhaps a little low for William McElwee’s voice... read more

Delectable Dvořák, palatable Puccini and delicious Dohnányi at Waikanae

The delectable Dvořák quintet was a joy to hear; the Puccini was highly palatable, and the Dohnányi delicious, from an outstanding group of musicians.  Two are present New Zealand String Quartet members, one a former member, plus two highly regarded players.  A large audience heard them play.  Such is the musical activity in Wellington, there were five classical concerts in the Wellington region listed on Middle-C’s Current Events page... read more

NZSO in splendid form under Harth-Bedoya with Brahms and Tchaikovsky

It is always a case of pleasant anticipation when a new Gareth Farr work is to be performed, and this was the case again.  Farr’s piece was commissioned by the NZSO to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s first landing in this country, which occurs next year (he departed from Britain in 1768). The title comes from Governor William Hobson’s greeting to Maori chiefs as they came forward to... read more

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

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