Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

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Cathedrals and landscapes – delight and awe with the NZSO

By , 28/08/2015
Sibelius and Bruckner on the same programme? - bracing cocktails of icy spring water, followed by restorative draughts of schnapps, or, perhaps, aromatic coffee? (that is, to say, their musical equivalents!)…… intriguing prospect, one that didn't arise the last time Simone Young was in New Zealand to conduct Bruckner with the NZSO. Paired with his mighty Fifth Symphony on that occasion was the music of Mozart, Bruckner's fellow-countryman. The... read more

Miranda Wilson – bringing it back home from Idaho

By , 17/07/2015
Trying to think of an appropriate heading for the review of this concert presented me with something of a challenge (as I find words do in general). After wrestling inconsequentially  with a number of thoughts, I finally hit upon the idea of celebrating what seemed to me a particularly distinctive Trans-Pacific connection through music, one which had happily resulted in this concert being presented here in Wellington for our... read more

Orchestra Wellington in irresistible, largely Russian programme plus multi-cultural esoterica

By , 20/06/2015
Not content with the inevitable attraction of the complete Tchaikovsky symphony cycle, plus one of the most exciting piano concertos of the 20th century, Taddei added an indefinable something whose appeal might have been in any of a dozen varied musical or artistic realms. A vocal piece by a young composer, Leila Adu, of mixed New Zealand and Ghanaian birth, with its roots in those places as well as... read more

Saxophone feast from the New Zealand School of Music

The Bach aria which opened this concert must be one of the most sublime vocal duos ever written, and it has been sung with breathtaking beauty by all the great oratorio artists. Hence it has to be a very demanding challenge to achieve a successful transcription for saxophones. The power of the original is such that I found it impossible to banish that version from my mind, and hear... read more

Passion and circumspection from the wonderful Faust Quartet

By , 02/09/2014
Named after German literature's archetypal questing figure, the Swiss-based Faust Quartet currently on tour in New Zealand, gave us an appropriately far-reaching programme for their Chamber Music Hutt Valley Concert at the Lower Hutt Little Theatre. Led since 2012 by New Zealander Simone Roggen, the group also has German, Norwegian and Swiss members, its cosmopolitan "face" also reflecting the range and origins of the music presented on this occasion As... read more

Houstoun’s stupendous feat in first of the final trilogy of Beethoven sonata recitals

How does one express in words the riches of hearing Beethoven’s incomparable piano sonatas superbly played? The only real drawback to the performance was the fact of it having to be held in the Michael Fowler Centre due to the earthquake strengthening of the Town Hall, in which building is also located the Ilott Theatre, where the first (April) concerts in this series were held. Sensibly, much of the auditorium was roped... read more

Fine artistry and insight by Duo Cecilia, cello and piano duo

By , 16/10/2013
Lucy Gijsbers is in her master’s year and Andrew Atkins the third year of his B Mus at the New Zealand School of Music. Both have already distinguished themselves in competition and academic achievement. Lucy has played as soloist with orchestras as well as being principal cello in both the NZSM and the National Youth orchestras. Each took turns introducing the pieces they played: both needed to be more aware... read more

Pianist Sonja Radojkovic at Lower Hutt – tempestuous, erratic, inspirational

By , 22/08/2013
I've deliberately let more than a few days pass before attempting to set down my thoughts regarding what I heard at Serbian pianist Sonja Radojkovic's recent Lower Hutt piano recital. Even now I'm not sure of being able to do the event full justice, but the Law of Diminished Returns will undoubtedly kick in and play havoc with memory if I wait too much longer. The pianist was supposed to... read more

Viola partnerships at St.Andrew’s

This was an intriguing programme presented by three faculty members from the NZ School of Music plus Victoria Jaenecke, principal viola of  the Wellington Orchestra. It opened with a viola and guitar transcription of Schubert’s sonata which was originally scored for piano and arpeggione, a bowed, fretted 6-string instrument, rather like a bowed guitar. The version presented here sat very comfortably with the transformed instrumentation, despite the tonal balance... read more

Valedictions from the Tokyo Quartet

By , 15/06/2013
Going to hear practically any concert is a kind of privilege for the listener - especially when one thinks about the "coming together" of the different things that contribute to a live performance. The "here-and-now" of it all has its own kind of spontaneously-charged electricity. Somehow, it doesn't feel quite the same when listening to the same music played on a recording, and not even when the performers are... read more

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