Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

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Fire, flamenco and folksong ‘cello style, from Ramón Jaffé

By , 01/03/2016

The title given to this concert by the artists rolled off the tongue colourfully and evocatively enough - however, I confess that I found myself involuntarily drawn into slightly circumspect mode over the word "fire", having over the years grown somewhat weary of being assailed by regular barrages of hype from major arts organization by way of advertising their oncoming productions.

As it turned out, I needn't have... read more

Welllington Chamber Orchestra – significant, important, moving……

By , 20/09/2015
A significant, important and moving concert. Significant? - with two works by Douglas Lilburn included, the orchestra splendidly commemorated the composer's 100th birthday year. Important? - the concert included in the programme Lilburn's First Symphony, one that ought to be in our main-centre orchestras' regular concert repertoire, but is hardly ever played - see "Stop Press" below, however. Moving? - the concert was dedicated by the orchestra to the... read more

Popular for the best reason – the NZSO’s Classical Hits Concert

By , 19/09/2015
Appropriately enough from my point of view, this concert began with the very same music that enthralled me almost fifty years ago, at the beginning of my very first concert-going experience in Palmerston North's Opera House. I still recall, at the start of the "William Tell" Overture, the beauty of those two NZBC Symphony Orchestra solo 'cellos (played by Wilf Simenauer and Farquhar Wilkinson), and the thrill of the... read more

Going for it at St.Andrew’s – Te Kōkī Trio

By , 06/09/2015
This was a mighty concert experience - here were three musicians bent upon drawing all that they could out of the music and of themselves, resulting in performances of great excitement and intensity. The thrills and spills that inevitably came with such an approach simply added to the visceral nature of the experience, so that, at the end, we all felt we'd seen and heard something alive and real In... read more

Aural (and visual) feast from Stroma at the Wellington City Gallery

By , 30/08/2015
Contemporary music ensemble Stroma performed at the Wellington City Gallery, in a space flanked on three sides by images created by photographer Fiona Pardington, whose exhibition "A Beautiful Hesitation", brought an additional resonant and interactive context to the "sounded out" work of the composers. As the images suspended objects in time for us to register our thoughts and feelings about them, so too did the music seek to impinge... read more

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!)……..an 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

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