Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Digestible lunchtime concerts: whole and parts of lovely music from Aroha String Quartet

By , 02/08/2017
This week, from 1 to 6 August, the Aroha String Quartet International Music Academy, supported by Trinity College in London, is being held at St Andrew’s. This concert was a sampler employing just five of the tutors at the Academy. The others, not involved with today's concert, are Ursula Evans – second violin in the Quartet; Donald Armstrong – violin and string ensemble director, Ken Ichinose – cello), Robin... read more

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

Exuberant and popular performances by Wellington Youth Orchestra

By , 31/07/2017
Concerts from the Wellington Youth Orchestra used to be held in the Town Hall, which was the right space in terms of acoustics and the orchestral tradition. But the sometimes rather small audiences did look rather … small; comparable to the size of the orchestra – around 60. On Monday there were many more that that facing the orchestra. Either St Andrew’s or the Catholic Basilica offer a more intimate... read more

Xenia Pestova – an interpreter for all ages, at St.Andrew’s, Wellington

By , 30/07/2017
Xenia Pestova’s programme in itself commanded a good deal of interest, with its many and varied juxtapositionings of old and new adding adventurous touches to the concert’s overall excitement along with the anticipation of many individual delights. I’d not had any previous encounter with the pianist’s playing, but read with interest her “artist’s bio” resume as per programme, which outlined a goodly number of notable artistic achievements, enough to... read more

Splendid Bartók; evocative New Zealand piece; guitarist substitution perhaps not a misfortune

The programme for the concert obviously did not appeal to everyone; there were a lot of empty seats, and even more after the interval when it became obvious that many devotees of the guitar, and of the Rodrigo work, did not wish to encounter Bartók, which was a great shame.  Not so tonight’s soloist, who joined the audience after the interval of this, the final concert of his tour ... read more

Close-up Janáček an operatic delight from NZSM

By , 28/07/2017
  It wasn't until he was almost fifty that Moravian composer Leoš Janáček began to show the world what he could really do, with the appearance of the first of his operas, Jenufa, in Brno in 1904. Up to that time a lot of his musical activities were devoted to researches into folk music, determined as he was to create from Moravian and other strains of Slavonic folk music a... read more

String student talents impressively exhibited at St Andrew’s lunchtime concert

This was, on the whole, an impressive line-up of young string players.  They are presumably at different stages in their studies (in other years the printed programme for such concerts has shown which year each player was, which was helpful in appreciating their level of skill). The Brahms sonata is one of his most elegiac pieces.  However, the tone of Charlotte Lamb’s violin being a little harsh didn’t match this... read more

Adventurous, revelatory concert by Troubadour String Quartet in Lower Hutt

By , 24/07/2017
At the Adam Chamber Music Festival in Nelson this year, the Troubadour Quartet gave two free concerts, one giving the same Britten quartet that they played here, the second, Schubert’s A minor quartet (Rosamunde). I was there for a few days and really regret not hearing them. Haydn For it took only a few bars of the Haydn quartet (one of his very last) to show me that these were players... read more

Refined, period sensibilities from Kuijken Quartet in Haydn and Mozart

By , 15/07/2017
The Kuijken Quartet is very much a family affair: second violin Sara is Sigiswald’s daughter and violist Marleen Thiers, his wife. They have devoted themselves to playing music in the ‘historically informed’ manner. While that has tended to refer mainly to music of the earlier, Baroque era, it applies also to the Galant and Classical periods, and in theory to all later periods, up to yesterday, if you insist It... read more

Lively and colourful Iolanthe from Wellington G&S Light Opera

By , 14/07/2017
Iolanthe is one of the operettas admired by many who take it upon themselves to judge musical worth, and it doesn’t rank among the most popular, with Pirates, Mikado, Gondoliers and Pinafore. The company last staged Iolanthe in 2008. Here was a chance to see how those opinions stack up with someone who was not seeing it for the first time (I saw the 2008 production and reviewed it in... read more

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