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Posts tagged: concerto

Jeux, Debussy’s quiet revolutionary, steals Orchestra Wellington’s show

By , 07/07/2017
This was the second of Orchestra Wellington's 2017 series of concerts containing works commissioned by the renowned impresario Serge Diaghilev for the dance company he had formed, the Ballets Russes, regarded by many performance historians as the most influential dance company of the 20th Century. It was the Ballets Russes company which, thanks to Diaghilev's commissions, was to premiere three of Igor Stravinsky's most famous ballets, the Firebird, Petroushka... read more

Magical Mendelssohn and tempestuous Tchaikovsky from the Wellington Chamber Orchestra

By , 02/07/2017
First impressions are, as they say, important, although they can sometimes be misleading. If one took the opening few minutes of the Wellington Chamber Orchestra's Sunday concert, featuring Felix Mendelssohn's adorable Overture "A Midsummer Night's Dream", and peremptorily judged the concert's music-making by the short-winded and unatmospheric opening chords, and the somewhat unseemly scramble of upper string lines attempting and failing to co-ordinate their rhythmic patternings right throughout this... read more

Schumann and Barber – adventurous and absorbing sounds from the NZSO, with Daniel Müller-Schott

By , 17/06/2017
Poor old Brahms was left out of the title for this concert, despite his "Tragic Overture" opening the programme, though therein lies a rub - I thought in a sense it was apposite this time round, as the NZSO's performance under James Feddeck for me lacked any real sense of tragedy - rather it came across as an intermittently "worried" piece of music trying its best here and there... read more

“Firebird” from Orchestra Wellington an incendiary experience

By , 13/05/2017
This was, in this best of all possible worlds, the best possible start to Orchestra Wellington's "The Impresario" season, a beautifully-devised concert whose centrepiece was Igor Stravinsky's 1910 Ballet "The Firebird". This piece, commissioned by the Russian-born artistic entrepreneur Sergei Diaghilev for the Ballets Russes in Paris, began a collaboration between composer and impresario which was to produce three of the most famous ballets of the 20th century, the... read more

Aotearoa Plus from the NZSO set alight by Gareth Farr premiere

By , 05/05/2017
A concert with the name "Aotearoa Plus" begs the question of how an orchestra might best support and present the music of native composers - the title is one which, in my artless way, I thought might have fairly been expected to accompany rather more homegrown examples of composition than were allowed for here. Thank goodness, then, in my view, for Gareth Farr's work, and its performance, which delivered a... read more

Magisterial performances from Siyu Sun (piano) and the Wellington Chamber Orchestra

By , 09/04/2017
A great programme and an equally great occasion! Particularly in the case of the Rachmaninov Concerto, there was a commonality of sorts between the work itself and the circumstances surrounding this particular performance, in each instance a sense of "coming through" against the odds. It's well-known that the composer wrote the music as a kind of "therapy" by way of recovering from the depression which overwhelmed him after the... read more

Adams and Mozart (and Martin Fröst) inspire de Waart and the NZSO

By , 07/04/2017
John Adams (b.1947) has for some time been popularly regarded as one of the "big three" of minimalist music composition, along with Philip Glass and Steve Reich. The term "minimalist" was used to describe a specific creative aesthetic involving the reduction to the bare essentials of whatever medium the creative artist worked with - in music this involved using repetition of melodic and rhythmic ideas to express minute gradations... read more

Shaken but not stirred – Wellington Chamber Orchestra’s “Peter and the Wolf” and other delights

This concert was very well attended, the audience including many children, despite its not being advertised on RNZ Concert’s “Live Diary”, or the fact that the NZSO performed one of the works the previous afternoon at a free concert at Te Papa. The Gabrieli works featured brass instruments only. The nature of the work and the instruments employed were described by Andrew Joyce, and the instruments were demonstrated by their... read more

Edo de Waart and Ronald Brautigam confirm stature: symphonic conductor and Mozartian pianist

By , 29/10/2016
Ronald Brautigam’s is not exactly a household name and his performance history is impressively confined largely to Mozart and Beethoven, though not always in performances with high profile conductors or orchestras. Most of his playing is on the fortepiano of the age of Mozart and early Beethoven. While that partly explains his relative obscurity to the popular audience, it doesn’t detract from his high reputation among those who take their... read more

Wellington Youth Orchestra and Simon Brew – playing for keeps

By , 11/10/2016
From the first solo ‘cello note of the Wellington Youth Orchestra’s performance of the “William Tell” Overture, I was spellbound – I’d never heard that opening ascending phrase speak more eloquently and poetically. Naturally, I couldn’t straight-away rustle about in my seat turning my programme’s pages to discover who the ‘cellist was - which was good, because my attention wasn’t then diverted from the playing of the other individual... read more

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