Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Admirable results of a week of string instrument coaching from the Aroha String Quartet

The Aroha Quartet is innovative in a number of ways, not least in convening this annual week-long course for amateur string players of all ages, participants coming from Australia and China as well as New Zealand.  The music they produced, without much time for rehearsal, was remarkable. An almost-full St. Andrew’s Church heard the music performed by 25 enthusiastic amateur musicians.  The concert began with the first movement of Dvořák’s... read more

Interesting recital of Romantic French music for cello and piano

The first thing that struck me at this concert was not musical – it was pleasure at having a large-print programme!  Others, please copy, for those of us who find it hard to read the normal-sized print, especially in a darkened auditorium – which this wasn’t.  A further improvement in readability would be to use a different type-face; the fashionable sans-serif fonts do not pass readability tests s well... read more

Trpčeski’s emphatic restoration of Grieg concerto and a blazing Shostakovich Tenth from Martín and NZSO

By , 13/07/2018
Last Friday Jaime Martín conducted the National Youth Orchestra in a stunning concert, drawing from young players performances that were both accurate and full of energy. He has shown the same gifts with the parent orchestra. Shostakovich’s Festive Overture was written just shortly after the death of Stalin and the composition of the 10th symphony; it can more easily be read as music that complies superficially with the expectations of... read more

Polished recital of Lieder by Clara Schumann and Brahms, and Robert’s Scenes of Childhood

By , 11/07/2018
I didn’t hear the recital in March 2017 by this couple from Dunedin, though my colleague Rosemary Collier reviewed it. It seems many years since I have heard them. They form an attractive duet and the music they choose is the kind that is not much performed these days: the song recital is a bit out of fashion and there is a deep-seated belief among the classical music impresarios:... read more

Admirable exploration of challenging Purcell and gorgeous Fauré from Nota Bene

By , 08/07/2018
Looking back through Middle C’s archive, I was a little surprised to discover that Nota Bene was founded as far back as 2004; we have reviewed 18 of their concerts since our beginning in 2008. It was founded by Christine Argyle, and has been under the direction of several others since, including, quite often, Peter Walls. Concerts are usually constructed round a theme, and the theme here was death and... read more

SONGS FOR NOBODIES – Ali Harper explores the ordinary and the fabulous

By , 08/07/2018
Having previously enjoyed Ali Harper’s one-woman shows Legendary Divas and A Doris Day Special,  I was eagerly looking forward to my “latest” theatrical outing in her presence, which I imagined would be her “take” on the singers mentioned in the pre-show publicity. Apart from Maria Callas, the famous names listed were ones I actually knew very little about, so as well as being entertained, I was expecting to be... read more

Orchestra Wellington’s “The Prophecy” a remarkable musical journey

By , 07/07/2018
Due to a printer’s mix-up, there were no printed programmes to be had for this concert, conductor Marc Taddei assuring us at the concert’s outset that he would be our guide throughout the evening’s music-making. As it turned out, the only regret at such a state of things one came away with from the concert at the end was having no tangible printed record of or piece of memorabilia... read more

Jaime Martín and National Youth Orchestra on full throttle as percussion and brass deliver excitement and panache

It was a joy to see young people making fine music so well, and enjoying it, and to observe, too, the number of young people in the audience responding most enthusiastically – but a pity to note many empty seats.  However, let us hope that the younger members of the audience will, as a result of this experience, attend concerts by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, especially as they... read more

Lexus Song Quest 2018: Semi-finalists

By , 29/06/2018
The semi-finalists for this year's Lexus Song Quest have been announced. They are: Joel Amosa (bass-baritone) – from Auckland, currently Regional Admin Manager for ASB Central Auckland branches banking, while working on numerous oratorios and operas. Eliza Boom (soprano) – from Whangarei, currently studying her Masters in Music at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Chelsea Dolman (soprano) – from Taupō, currently living in Hamilton and a Freemasons NZ Opera Artist... read more

Demanding song recital reflects more ambition than accomplishment

It is not often that I attend a lunchtime concert at St. Andrew’s and come away disappointed, but that was the case this time.  I am fond of Fauré’s songs and deeply devoted to Schumann’s Dichterliebe.  But this time I could not say I was enchanted by what I heard. The first song went well.  The second, like a number later on, was perhaps a little low for William McElwee’s voice... read more

Panorama Theme by Themocracy