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Posts tagged: baroque music

Purcell’s “happier graces” prevail in concert of improvisations

By , 18/03/2017
This was a concert whose music-making seemed to connect with practically everybody who sat within coo-ee of me in the Michael Fowler Centre, judging by the warmth and enthusiasm of the reception for the musicians at the end of the evening. While I must confess I wasn't as obviously enamoured of some of the concert's offerings as most people were, I certainly registered the individual and corporate skills of... read more

Days Bay Opera does it again with Handel’s “Theodora”

By , 11/02/2017
One of the pleasures of reviewing for me is fronting up to performances of music which I simply don’t know, and subsequently asking myself (sometimes in tones of amazement and disbelief) why it is I’ve never encountered this or that work before, finding it so beautiful / profound / thrilling /whatever! Thus it was with this often compelling production of Handel’s oratorio Theodora, a work the composer wrote towards... read more

Nelson Chamber Music festival again New Zealand’s biennial musical highlight

By , 10/02/2017
My visit this year to the Nelson Chamber Music Festival was shorter than in previous years, arriving late afternoon on the Tuesday and departing midday Saturday. The highlights from abroad were the presence of Hungarian pianist Dénes Varjon, the Australian tenor, Andrew Goodwin (singing Schumann’s Dichterliebe), the Goldner Quartet and cellist Matthew Barley. The essence of the festival rests with the New Zealand String Quartet, which founded and sustained the festival... read more

Unfamiliar but rewarding music to mark Conference on 17th and 18th century English music

When on Wednesday after the lunchtime concert someone drew my attention to a poster in St Andrew’s Church foyer, advertising a concert the following early evening, I was unaware of its provenance.  It transpired that it was in association with the 11th Biennial Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies.  Therefore the substantial audience was largely made up of delegates to this... read more

St Andrew’s opens 2017 lunchtime concerts with enjoyable baroque concert

The concert was in part the Wellington launch of a new CD of the music of these two composers performed by Maurice, Curry, and Polish and Hungarian musicians.  An opening speech was delivered by the Polish Ambassador to New Zealand, H.E. Zbigniew Gniatkowski.  After the concert enjoyable refreshments were available.  The concert, the first in the 2017 St. Andrew’s series, was very well attended. The programme began with Christoph Graupner’s... read more

No Christmas without “Messiah” – with the Tudor Consort and the NZSO

  This was a remarkable performance, in many ways.  The smaller-than-usual orchestra was matched by a larger-than-usual Tudor Consort in fine voice, and splendid soloists, all directed by Australian Handel specialist Graham Abbott.  Unusually, there were no cuts in the score; all was performed.  ‘Their sound is gone out’, in Part II is usually a chorus.  But this was composed three years after the première; in the first performance it... read more

Max Reger – The Romantic Bach? – splendid advocacy from Bruce Cash

By , 14/10/2016
This was the second of three lecture/recitals on the life and works of German composer Max Reger (1873-1916) by organist and choral conductor Bruce Cash. On the strength of this experience with the music of a relatively neglected composer, I found myself wishing I'd gone to the first of Cash's presentations earlier this year, and will certainly go to the third one, scheduled for March 2017. Fashions have a disconcerting... read more

Adventures in great music both well-known and unknown, marks strong revival by Cantoris

By , 02/10/2016
In many ways, an appealing way to design a programme: two of Mozart’s best-loved choral works and one obscure, but as it emerged, beautiful piece by an almost totally unknown composer. Emanuele d’Astorga was born in Sicily in 1680, in perhaps the most fruitful and brilliant decade in the whole history of western classical music – the decade of Vivaldi, Telemann, Rameau, Bach, Handel, Biber, Geminiani, Pachelbel, Domenico Scarlatti... read more

Diverting, accomplished, baroque concert from Auckland’s NZBarok on a cold night

Formerly known as AKBarok, this Auckland group was making its first visit to Wellington, though it has been in existence for 14 years!  It was a welcome visit, with an audience almost filling the downstairs and half-filling the gallery at St. Andrews, this despite the night being wet and perhaps the coldest of the year.  It was a pleasure to find the gallery open; it is not always for... read more

Buxtehude’s credentials solidly confirmed at the 6th of the organ series at Saint Paul’s

By , 15/07/2016
On 17 June I covered some of the background to the formidable complete organ works of Dieterich Buxtehude, after the first four of the series had eluded me (read: Middle C, or I, had neglected them, a grave oversight). Here was the 6th of the series. The first work in the programme was fairly large, employing three fugues; optimistic in tone, as the key of C major seems to inspire in... read more

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