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Category: Reviews – Concerts

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

St Andrew’s captures fascinating sample from the 44th International Viola Congress in Wellington

By , 06/09/2017
St Andrew’s managed to attract one of the visitors to the 44th International Viola Congress that was held in Wellington over the weekend. Polish violist Marcin Murawski together with pianist Gabriela Glapska (Polish doctoral student at Victoria University’s School of Music) played an interesting 45 minutes of Polish music. Apart from a couple of pieces by contemporary composers, most was by 19th century composers, and it was little surprise... read more

Madrigals-a-go! defined, declared and delivered by Cantoris with director Thomas Nikora

By , 06/09/2017
The programme note was right to describe the evening's entertainment as "a delightful Spring programme", even if Wellington hadn't thus far (and hasn't since yet) had a weather response worthy of the name! Still, none of this was through want of trying on the part of Cantoris, whose singing at least warmed our insides and gave as good a precursor of the winds of change as any recent general... read more

“The Three Altos” – scenes of glory and achievement for the viola here in Wellington

By , 04/09/2017
This concert marked the conclusion of the 44th International Viola Congress, one which brought aficionados from everywhere in the world to Wellington for no less than five days of intense viola interaction. Co-hosts for the event were Professor Donald Maurice, and NZSQ violist Gillian Ansell, both distinguished teachers of the viola at the New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington. It was no wonder that, with fifty-plus... 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

BEETHOVEN – Violin and Piano Sonata Series – a final frolic and a fury, to great acclaim!

By , 01/09/2017
The excellently-written programme notes accompanying this series of concerts made reference to the "frolicsome" mood of Beethoven's A Major Violin Sonata Op.12 No.2, which opened this, the last of the lunchtime series of concerts given by Bella Hristova and Michael Houstoun. The very opening of the work's Allegro vivace beginning was smile-inducing, the buoyantly-tripping rhythms shared by both instruments, the piano slightly more dominant in this environment (and more... read more

Momentous performances of Beethoven violin sonatas: the third and fourth recitals

By , 31/08/2017
My only knowledge of an earlier full cycle of Beethoven’s violin sonatas is at the first New Zealand International Festival of the Arts in 1986. They were played by Maurice Hasson and Maurice Till, in three recitals: two in the old Concert Chamber of the Town Hall and the third, which included the Kreutzer, in the main auditorium of the Town Hall. The old concert chamber, for those whose... 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

BEETHOVEN Violin and Piano Sonata Series – a feast for Wellingtonians!

By , 28/08/2017
Beethoven's Violin Sonatas don't span the composer's creative output as imposingly as do his efforts in some of the other genres - within the short space of six years (between 1797 and 1803) he was to write nine out of the ten completed works for violin and piano, and the final single work a decade later. However, he had attempted a work for the two instruments as a fledgling... 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

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