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Category: Reviews – Recordings

Beauty, poignancy, energy, focus – Kenneth Young’s CD “Shadows and Light”

By , 01/08/2017

Over much too protracted a period I have lived with this disc of Kenneth Young's music, playing single tracks at times when opportunities arose, and, in random-step-wise mode very gradually familiarising myself with the music's sounds. It's only recently that I've had the oportunity to tease it out from my constantly-attenuated "must-hear" collection of recordings, and given it the uninterrupted attention I've felt it deserves. Playing a track at... read more

Michael Houstoun’s Beethoven on Rattle

By , 01/12/2014
With his recently-released set of the complete Beethoven piano sonatas recorded for Rattle Records, Michael Houstoun joins a select number of pianists who have recorded the cycle more than once. And though he's in pretty stellar company, here, alongside luminaries such as Wilhelm Kempff, Alfred Brendel, Wilhelm Backhaus, Daniel Barenboim and Friedrich Gulda, with this latest issue Houstoun can, in my opinion, hold his head up proudly in their... read more

Yvette Audain and friends “in the groove” – a new CD

By , 19/10/2014
Yvette Audain modestly commented beforehand that what would make her night would be at least TWO people in the audience for the launch of her CD "Grooves Unspoken". Well, she got her wish and more, besides - not a great deal more, but those of us who were there were caught up in the creative and recreative web and waft of the music and its performance. And with the... read more

Jenny McLeod’s “Peter Pan” music on Naxos

By , 10/03/2012
After the splendid concert given by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra featuring Jenny McLeod's The Emperor and the Nightingale as part of the NZ International Festival of the Arts Series, it was interesting re-adjusting one's thoughts towards an audio-only presentation of the work, included on this splendid recent CD. In fact, coming back to it in the wake of the concert enhanced my enjoyment of both experiences, and stimulated... read more

Tribute to Kurt Sanderling from ICA Classics

By , 31/01/2012
Kurt Sanderling, who died last year in Berlin at the age of 98, was a name known to me from my formative days of record-collecting, through his 1950s recording made with the Leningrad Phllharmonic of Rachmaninov's Second Symphony - one of those early cotton-stitched white-and-yellow panelled Deutsche Grammophon LP covers with the composer's facsimile autograph scribbled across the central vertical yellow panel (all very tasteful and esoteric, obviously aimed at... read more

Georgina Zellan-Smith – fond piano memories

By , 15/11/2011
I must confess my first reaction upon receiving this CD was of surprise that so gifted an executant as Georgina Zellan-Smith would expend so much of her energies on "faded trifles" such as these. Especially in the wake of the same pianist's excellent Beethoven/Hummel CD, whose interesting and unique compilation of repertoire "enlarged" the piano-playing world for me, I thought this collection seemed, by comparison, somewhat surplus to requirements... read more

NZSO concludes its Sibelius Symphony cycle on Naxos

By , 21/09/2011
Sometimes, when listening to performances of music one knows and loves, one has to try to come to terms with interpretations markedly different to one's own ideas. Common sense suggests that this is a healthy process to take part in - and, after all, to expect uniformity or even conformity of music-making or listening across different performances would be unrealistic, let alone undesirable. And music-making which goes against the... read more

Dream team together on record – Trpčeski, Petrenko and Rachmaninov

By , 18/09/2011
Avie Records and its NZ distributor Ode Records will have pleased Wellington concertgoers enormously with a recent pair of CD recordings (available separately) featuring pianist Simon Trpčeski and conductor Vasily Petrenko in the music of Rachmaninov - all four Piano Concertos and the Rhapsody on Theme of Paganini. Of course, both Simon Trpčeski and Vasily Petrenko have been recent guest artists with the NZSO, though not performing together -... read more

Boris Pigovat’s Requiem – a stunning CD presentation

By , 15/09/2011
This recording commemorates the first performance outside the Ukraine of Boris Pigovat's Requiem, given by violist Donald Maurice, with the Vector Wellington Orchestra conducted by Marc Taddei, on November 9th, 2008 at the Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington. The composer, whose grandparents and aunt were victims of the Babiy Yar tragedy in 1941, when thousands of German Jews were massacred in cold blood by the Nazis, had wanted for a... read more

A new generation’s Lilburn, from Atoll Records

By , 14/09/2011
If there's ever a composer who seems to have been "rediscovered" by a fresh generation of performers, then Douglas Lilburn is the one, his music seeming to appeal as readily to today's young players as it did to many of the composer's similarly delighted and steadfast contemporary champions. New recordings of many of Lilburn's major works have appeared over the last few years, a couple of these projects containing substantial... read more

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