Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Category: Reviews – Concerts

NZSO players in special concert under Aisslinn Nosky with Baroque masters

By , 17/11/2017
It’s been a fine Baroque week in Wellington, at St Andrew’s, with an attractive lunch-time concert on Wednesday, with four strings from Wellington’s two professional orchestras and an NZSM harpsichordist; and this evening a special ensemble, of 18 players from the NZSO, plus harpsichordist Douglas Mews. The story behind this evening’s concert was elaborate. NZSO violinist Anne Loeser travelled to Toronto in the Summer of 2014 for an intensive Baroque... read more

NZSO and Orchestra Wellington string players in Baroque chamber music at St Andrew’s lunchtime

As with last week’s lunchtime concert from St Andrew’s, Lindis Taylor and I found ourselves in different parts of the church and both had scribbled notes. He graciously proposed that I cover the ground generally while he would merely add a few pedantic details. Again, no attributions. The theme of La Folia has been ascribed to Corelli, but it is much older. Research suggests that it emerged in the 15th... read more

Edo de Waart and NZSO in deeply assimilated music of Brahms, Wagner and Sibelius (with Janine Jansen)

By , 10/11/2017
The programme might have looked fairly conventional, except that the symphony, usually the sole occupant of the second half of the traditional concert, was played first. That may have been because the Sibelius concerto enjoys one of the most exciting endings while Brahms’s Third Symphony is a favourite as a result of its steering a path between peacefulness and joy and quiet drama, ending with one of most reflective... read more

A somewhat impromptu lunchtime recital proves a delight at St Andrew’s

Having left the reviewing duty unplanned, both Lindis Taylor and I found ourselves at this recital, mutually unaware of each other at the time; we decided to combine our impressions. Prizes (a free annual pass for the St Andrew's lunchtime concerts in 2018) for successful identification of the origin of the various remarks. This programme was arranged at short notice after the originally scheduled players withdrew. Three separate duos, it... read more

Wellington’s professional chamber choir ends successful second year

By , 05/11/2017
Middle C attended and reviewed the inaugural concert by this professional chamber choir on 4 September 2016, and we reviewed their previous concert on 13 August this year. Each of those concerts had a theme, and so did this one: The Cycle of Life using two of the immediate seasons: Winter and Spring – symbolising death and life, characterising the nature of those seasons from a North American perspective –... read more

Orchestra Wellington out-performs the fireworks with a stunning “Petrouchka”

By , 04/11/2017
Audiences can be curiously unpredictable, on occasions exhilarating and galvanizing masses of energy to be part of, caught up in the excitement of either enthusiastic or rapt responses to some performances, (especially those involving soloists) and then for no apparent reason, every once in a while, strangely under-responsive. Why this sudden out-of-the-blue observation, going a little against the grain of my normally unrelieved positivism as a music reviewer? It was... read more

Jonathan Berkahn and friends with formal and informal music for lunchtime

This programme replaced that originally scheduled at short notice, due to illness.  The pieces were mainly Scots, Irish and English, or were based on songs from those nationalities.  The latter were infrequently heard examples of their composers’ works.  Jonathan Berkahn gave a brief spoken introduction to each of the items. It began with Berkahn playing piano, first in Thème Anglais “The Plough Boy” varié, Op.110/1 by Hummel.  This delightful variation... read more

Imposing commemoration of 500th anniversary of Lutheran Reformation

By , 29/10/2017
This was an ecumenical service, celebrating the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, led by Bishop Mark Whitfield of the Lutheran Church of New Zealand, in the Anglican Cathedral, with choral support from the Cathedral choir. Earlier in the year, there was a commemorative service that involved the Roman Catholic Church at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, jointly hosted by Cardinal John Dew and Bishop... read more

Rachmaninov – jubilation and bitterness, but sheer poetry from Joyce Yang

By , 27/10/2017

A beautifully put-together programme, this, devoted to the music of Rachmaninov, and in almost every way, superbly delivered! There could be no doubt, however as to who the "star of the show" was - Korean-born American pianist Joyce Yang gave what seemed to me a performance in a thousand of the composer's fearsome D Minor Concerto, regarded by many as one of the most technically difficult works for... read more

Alexander Gavrylyuk – transcendental pianism at Waikanae

By , 22/10/2017
I reviewed Alexandre Gavrylyuk's astounding recital at Waikanae last year, reflecting on that occasion, on the pianist's ability to enchant his listeners with every note, and in doing so, display a Sviatoslav Richter-like capacity to invest each sound with a kind of "centre of being" which suggests that the interpreter has gotten right to the heart of what the music means. Last time, it was the very first note... read more

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