Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Category: Live performance

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

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

Spectacular centenary concert for Leonard Bernstein from the NZSO

By , 11/05/2018
Faced with an auditorium less than half full for a concert to celebrate a hundred years of one of the most famous (I carefully refrain from using ‘greatest’) composers and conductors of the 20th century, raised interesting thoughts. One was that I had expected about this sized audience; that, before I’d seen the NZSO offer of big ticket discounts. I’ve no doubt that everyone interested in classical music and broadly defined popular... 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

Behn String Quartet opens Wellington Chamber Music’s 2018 season – brilliantly

By , 22/04/2018
Wellington Chamber Music Inc opened its 2018 season of seven concerts with a multi-national string quartet (naturally, one cannot use the word -ethnic when speaking of members of several nations inhabited by one ethnic group, European peoples), led by a New Zealander. It’s probably unusual for a musical group to adopt a literary name. Aphra Behn was a late 17th century English woman playwright and novelist. She’s always interested me:... 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

Sasha Cooke’s entrancing Berlioz songs, a bewitching premiere and masterpieces of Debussy and Ravel: thanks to De Waart and the NZSO

By , 21/04/2018
Though this turned out a great concert with an enthusiastic reception of Ravel’s Boléro at the end, I had heard a number of less than excited reactions to the programme beforehand. There’s an ‘attitude’ surrounding Boléro, and not the whole world loves Debussy as much as the music historians generally do. That left Les nuits d’ été, but then there are still a sad few who have inherited an earlier... read more

Kapiti and Palmerston North choirs in rewarding performance of Dvořák’s Stabat Mater

By , 15/04/2018
This seems to be the Dvořák year in Wellington, as two days earlier I had heard players from Orchestra Wellington perform two of his chamber works – the String Quintet No 2 and the Serenade for wind instruments, cello and bass. Orchestra Wellington is featuring five of Dvořák’s symphonies in their 2018 season; and RNZ Concert are playing them all this week! Most welcome as we tend to hear... read more

Admirable, enterprising concert of Dvořák from Orchestra Wellington players

By , 13/04/2018
Dvořák wrote two serenades: the first, for strings in 1875 and the second, for winds plus cello and bass, in 1878. We heard the latter. His two serenades occupy a rather special place in music of the Romantic era, the wind one especially, as there had not been a work of comparable charm since Mozart’s 80 years before, and none quite as fine later. Though perhaps not influenced by Dvořák... read more

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