Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Category: Live performance

A revelatory Bach X 2 lunch recital on piano and organ by Jonathan Berkahn

By , 20/06/2018
Jonathan Berkahn is a versatile musician, happy to play any keyboard instrument, including the piano accordion. In this recital he played three J S Bach pieces on the Steinway, then moved to the pipe organ in the gallery to play an organ sonata by CPE Bach and a final Toccata and Fugue by Bach père. The Fantasia in C minor is a splendid piece which sounds as bold and inspiring... read more

Lawrence Renes, NZSO and Simon O’Neill in superb Wagner songs and monumental Bruckner 4th

By , 16/06/2018
This subscription concert was advertised as ‘An Evening with Simon O’Neill’, obviously in the hope that the name of New Zealand’s internationally most distinguished singer would match that of the recently retired Kiri Te Kanawa. But it didn’t work as the auditorium was hardly half full. Nevertheless, O’Neill is indeed one of a small handful of leading tenors in the Wagner class. Sure, he doesn’t compete in the public... read more

Engaging and exploratory viola music from NZSM students at St Andrew’s

By , 13/06/2018
This is the time for music students to use the facilities and be exposed to audiences at St Andrew’s lunchtime concerts in preparation for their first semester assessments. For audiences too, there are a couple of benefits; invariably, there are students who surprise, sometimes astonish, with their level of musicianship and technical skill; and there’s the chance to hear some unfamiliar, sometimes very engaging music. Some is chosen 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

Full house Mulled Wine concert at Paekakariki with NZSM violin and piano stars

By , 27/05/2018
We’ve sadly missed a couple of earlier Mulled Wine concerts from Paekakariki: the Rodger Fox Jazz Ensemble in January and Toru (the Wellington trio of flute, viola and harp) in March, though we caught up with them at Lower Hutt recently. This concert was perhaps more than merely a compensation, from two of the distinguished classical performance lecturers at the school of music of Victoria University. There were three solo pieces:... read more

Liturgical music, dramatic and meditative in splendid Orpheus Choir concert

By , 26/05/2018
The Orpheus Choir made a striking decision to perform two great choral works that are not often heard – one that is well-enough known but not so often heard (the Duruflé) and Dvořák’s Te Deum which I had not heard before. It’s one of those pieces that you are sure you’ve heard at some time, but turns out to be quite unfamiliar. Gabrieli and Dvořák However, the concert began with something... 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

Unusual but timely concert by Supertonic, dynamic mixture of the musical, the political, the sexual

By , 20/05/2018
Middle C has reviewed two previous concerts by Supertonic (both by Rosemary Collier), in 2015, and she was impressed (where have we been in the meantime?). They were in different venues, the Sacred Heart Cathedral and the New Zealand Portrait Gallery. This time they gave me my first experience in the Pipitea Marae, which I’m ashamed to confess I’d never been in; a building of normal construction, with impressive... read more

Admirable, stimulating programme of piano trios from Te Koki Trio

By , 20/05/2018
Gale-force winds outside might have been an appropriate accompaniment to Shostakovich’s frightful war-time masterpiece. But it was not necessarily a fitting way to characterise Brahms’s third piano trio. In spite of the remarks in the programme notes (in general, illuminating), and even though it’s in a minor key, I have never found the opening pages devoid of melody, or revealing an ‘unsettled nature’; though later movements might be so... read more

Diverting Debussy-inspired trio charm a responsive audience at Lower Hutt

By , 16/05/2018
Te reo Maori for the numeral 3 is toru; thus ‘Toru Trio’ is a redundancy. This instrumental trio comprises harp, viola and flute, modelled on Debussy's war-time piece; all are players in Orchestra Wellington. All the pieces were composed in the last 100 years (though the Debussy himself was a couple of years outside that frame). Their arrival on stage made a striking impression: Karen Batten in a dramatic gold... read more

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