Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Acclamation for Auckland Viva Voce’s remarkable performance of enthralling work on pilgrimage: Camino de Santiago de Compostela

The programme’’s sub-title for the work was “Joby Talbot’s stunning choral depiction of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.”  The blurb was right; this was a truly remarkable work, of just over an hour’s almost constant unaccompanied singing (apart from the periodic use of 8 traditional small cymbals,or crotales), with no applause until the end. Talbot is a 46-year-old British composer who has written in many genres, including opera and ballet... read more

NZ Opera’s 2017 Carmen surprises, disconcerts and delights

By , 01/06/2017
There's almost always a lot to like in any production of Carmen. On the face of things the opera has everything that any theatre-goer-cum-music-lover could wish for - like the Shakespearean character who says "four feasts are forward", one can say Carmen has the four things which ensure operatic success - spectacle, drama, compelling characters and memorable tunes. Of course, these things don't make or play themselves, and, despite... read more

NZSM Piano Students show their mettle at St.Andrew’s, Wellington

By , 31/05/2017
  A pity that the printed programme gave no information about any of the piano students, which would have “fleshed out” each of them a bit more, a smidgeon of biographical information and a comment regarding repertoire preferences in each case, for instance - nothing more than a couple of sentences akin to what each might write on his or her CV. While I thought the Acting Director of the... read more

Renowned Bach scholar and conductor Suzuki with fine baroque ensemble Juilliard415

It is wonderful for audiences in New Zealand to welcome back Masaaki Suzuki, this time with an ensemble of students from the famous Juilliard School based at the Lincoln Center in New York.   The 18 instrumentalists came from 8 different countries. Suzuki, as well as running his own choral and orchestral ensembles and teaching in Tokyo, teaches also at Juilliard.  He is a renowned Bach scholar and conductor, and... read more

Solo cellist Christopher Hutton in Wellington Chamber Music’s second 2017 concert

By , 28/05/2017
Though originally from Wellington, Christopher Hutton had most of his education in the United States, at Boston University, the Eastman School of Music at Rochester, the University of North Carolina and the University of Delaware, before becoming an associate professor at the Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. He has made previous tours for Chamber Music New Zealand and Wellington Chamber Music, recently as cellist in the Poinsett Piano Trio... read more

Interesting organ programme from Tom Chatterton at St James, Lower Hutt

Tom Chatterton, a fairly recent arrival from Britain (where he attended Uppingham School, where Professor Peter Godfrey taught before coming to New Zealand), was heard by upwards of 40 people, on the impressive three-manual organ.  His mixing of shorter, more lyrical pieces between longer, more serious ones was good programming.  It was a shame that the Bach Prelude and Fugue was a substitute for Toccata in C, BWV 564... read more

Baroque Voices pay rich homage to NZ “Masters”

By , 28/05/2017
This concert was the eighth in the "Alleluia: a newë work" series by Baroque Voices, the idea being, in director Pepe Becker's own words, to "present works from the early music era alongside modern compositions", an undertaking which the group first instigated as long ago as 1995. Though the presentations have been consistent in their overall approach, the ensemble has managed to maintain an ever-fascinating and invariably rewarding range of... read more

Brahms’s Deutsches Requiem given spirited and scrupulous performance by Tudor Consort

By , 27/05/2017
Brahms’s Requiem is known well enough by name and reputation to all tolerably interested in Music, but fewer would be familiar with it or have actually heard it live. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it in live performance, and have, somewhat to my embarrassment only become familiar with it on recordings in the last twenty years or so. The Orpheus Choir, naturally, has been its main advocate in... read more

Woodwind students present entertaining, varied music at St Andrew’s lunchtime concert

To hear young performers is always a pleasure; here we had seven young woodwind players, along with three pianists.  The first piece used  a student pianist, and the Bach work was unaccompanied.  Hugh McMillan and Kirsten Robertson were authoritative pianists for the other items. Bridget Douglas, principal flute with the NZSO is acting Head of Winds, and she introduced the concert.  After that, the players introduced their items, and it... read more

Wellington Youth Orchestra in winning performances, especially Brahms No 1

By , 23/05/2017
Looking back over Middle C’s reviews of the Wellington Youth Orchestra, one sees a couple of repeated themes. One that through them we sometimes hear unfamiliar but great and enjoyable music, and that the citizens of Wellington turn up in such sparse numbers that one wonders what can justify boasts of our being the cultural capital. This evening’s concert ticked both those notions. It began with Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Festival Overture:... read more

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