Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

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

Splendid playing from NZSM students of New Zealand woodwind compositions

Similarly to the crop of good string players from NZSM whom we heard at St. Andrew’s recently, so we now heard splendid woodwind players.  The range of works by New Zealand composers in this rather over-long concert was wide, but all were appealing, melodic and interesting. I had never heard of the composer Eric Biddington, but his Sonatina for clarinet and piano, the 2nd movement of which was played by... read more

Enthusiastic reception of nicely varied programme from Takács Quartet

My initial reaction at the concert was a longing for the Town Hall to be restored to use; chamber music does not sound nearly so well in the cavernous Michael Fowler Centre unless one is near the front, which I was not; it simply does not provide the resonance, and makes ‘chamber music’ a misnomer. The concert began with vintage Haydn – musically, and chronologically, being written around 1797, (he... read more

Splendid Bartók; evocative New Zealand piece; guitarist substitution perhaps not a misfortune

The programme for the concert obviously did not appeal to everyone; there were a lot of empty seats, and even more after the interval when it became obvious that many devotees of the guitar, and of the Rodrigo work, did not wish to encounter Bartók, which was a great shame.  Not so tonight’s soloist, who joined the audience after the interval of this, the final concert of his tour ... read more

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

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