Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Outstanding concert for peace, of Renaissance music, plus Arvo Pärt, plus momentous New Zealand work

A substantial audience heard a most innovative and rewarding concert from the ever-reliable Tudor Consort.  An unusually large dose of contemporary music was adorned with Renaissance music, in a concert marking International Day of Peace (21 September). It began with a setting by Italian Carlo Gesualdo (1566-1613) of ‘Da pacem Domine’.  As Michael Stewart said in his pre-concert talk, this composer was ahead of his time; his writing for choirs... read more

University cellists bring ensemble to St Andrew’s lunchtime concert series

A well-filled church was treated to a very enjoyable concert performed by the New Zealand School of Music cello ensemble, made up of current and past cello students of the NZSM.  It opened with supremely well-played Bach, performed by Olivia Wilding.   There were a few slight lapses of intonation in this difficult music, but the cellist’s playing was highly competent and confident, her tone and volume excellent. She was followed... read more

New Zealand Youth Choir delivers excellent concert, though absence of a major work regretted

The cover of the programme appeared to be the poster advertising the choir, but I did not see it anywhere earlier as a poster, and a friend in the audience to whom I spoke after the concert had not seen any publicity either.  Both of us found few people we knew in the audience, which also pointed to a lack of publicity. The Youth Choir comprises 50 voices.  A delightful... read more

Dangerous liaisons investigated by New Zealand String Quartet in restored St Mary’s

This year, the Quartet’s tour was entitled ‘Dangerous Liaisons’, and introductory remarks explained how this epithet applied to each of the three composers whose early compositions in the genre the items were. It was a robust and demanding programme heard by a rather modest audience.  Two little deficiencies for me: the lights were switched off entirely, save for the spotlights on the players (more of that later), and thus one... read more

An engaging performance by a young Auckland piano trio

This is a trio of young players.  The two string players are currently playing in the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.  The pianist in 2015 won the NZ School of Music concerto competition.  All three have studied overseas; James Jin won the same competition in 2014 that his female colleague won the following year.  The cellist has spent most of his career in Australia so far. Their engaging manner of performing was... read more

Compressed, alternative version of Mozart’s Figaro treated with wit and flair

Although only a few weeks ago Eternity Opera put on Mozart’s famous opera at the Hannah Playhouse, this was something very different.  Georgia Jamieson Emms’s group are to perform a fully-staged production of their show on 20 and 22 October at St. Matthew’s Collegiate, Masterton, then next summer take it on tour.  A good-sized audience was present for the concert, despite Houstoun and Hristova performing Beethoven at the other... read more

Beethoven violin sonata series: Spring – molto espressivo – and its companion sonata are a delight

We are fortunate indeed to have a full week (Monday to Friday) of these wonderful sonatas.   Having them performed in the Renouf Foyer proved to be an excellent decision – not so large and cavernous as the main auditorium, but still seating a large number of people; my rough calculation came to upwards of 300, and nearly all the available chairs filled. Both sonatas were composed 1800-1801, for the wealthy... read more

Delightful singing by combined Wainuiomata and Capital choirs in Catholic cathedral

Capital Choir opened the programme with a piece by former long-serving choir director, Felicia Edgecombe, with words by choir member Rachel McAlpine.  I had not heard the performance in 2015 of the full song cycle, but this was a pleasing taste.  Like most of the programme, the piece was sung with appropriate tone and mood, but occasionally, especially early on in each work or movement, intonation slipped.  Not severely... read more

NZSO and Edo de Waart’s outstanding performance of Damnation of Faust

Berlioz was a non-conformist, musically.  In an ironic twist, the otherwise excellent programme notes said he ‘flaunted rules and regulations’ whereas in fact he flouted them, falling out with audience and critics in the process.  The work that was the entire programme of this NZSO concert demonstrated to the full the composer’s very different  music from that composed by his contemporaries and recent predecessors. The work required a large orchestra;... read more

Remarkable TGIF concert at St Paul’s Cathedral by Porirua’s ‘Sistema’-inspired orchestra, Virtuoso Strings

I did not intend to review this concert.  I intended to hear how these young people from the Sistema-style programme in Porirua East were getting on, and to support them.  I took no notes.  However, such was the excellence of their performance, I could not resist writing about it. Along with others, I was truly surprised at the skill in playing the instruments that I witnessed.  Intonation, dynamics, tone were... read more

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