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Posts tagged: contemporary music

Playing with fire – music that sears and burns, from the New Zealand String Quartet

By , 10/09/2017
The NZSQ's 30th anniversary "Dangerous Liasons" national tour featured two programmes of works which encapsulated so much of what the ensemble has already achieved throughout its existence, including world-class presentations of some of the core string quartet repertoire, both in concert and on recordings, and an on-going committment to New Zealand music. Works by Beethoven, Bartok, Schumann and Mendelssohn have been given much-acclaimed performances in all parts of the... read more

“The Three Altos” – scenes of glory and achievement for the viola here in Wellington

By , 04/09/2017
This concert marked the conclusion of the 44th International Viola Congress, one which brought aficionados from everywhere in the world to Wellington for no less than five days of intense viola interaction. Co-hosts for the event were Professor Donald Maurice, and NZSQ violist Gillian Ansell, both distinguished teachers of the viola at the New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington. It was no wonder that, with fifty-plus... read more

Mahler, Berg – and Salina Fisher, from the NZSO – music of innocence and experience

By , 11/08/2017
Spectres, once they’re established, can haunt the world of music for decades, for oceans of time, during which certain attitudes and values can be gradually eroded, or else further entrenched. The fact that each of this concert’s three items might well have reawakened specific “ghosts” lurking among the sensibilities of the NZSO’s many loyal supporters might well have accounted for the relative paucity of attendance (by my reckoning the... 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

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

Adventurous, quirky, energetic – a musical-life experience for the 2017 NZSONYO

By , 14/07/2017
Thank goodness for Benjamin Britten's variously-named The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra / Variations and Fugue on a theme of Purcell Op.34! At the recent pair of NZNYO concerts in Wellington and Auckland it was music which, unlike the works making up the rest of the programme, was reasonably familiar to the audience. As such, the piece provided a benchmark of sorts with which the youthful orchestra's playing... read more

Magnificent NZSO concert, with percussionist Colin Currie, under James MacMillan

By , 08/07/2017
I had rather expected that, even if the pieces by Adès and MacMillan had not exactly created a stampede for tickets, that the remarkable, let’s even say ‘great’ symphony by Vaughan Williams would have done the trick. But no, it didn't. However, if it was something of a statement about the timidity of Wellington audiences, it was not a disgrace. Thomas Adès For another thing, I’d have thought the name Adès might... read more

Beautiful contemporary choral music from Cantoris: if only an orchestra!

By , 01/07/2017
It was a calm, cool, drizzly night, when most of Wellington’s population was either at the stadium, in pubs or at home watching a rugby match between New Zealand and the combined British-Ireland team. Very few: to wit, about 30, felt free to attend a rather fine concert by one of Wellington’s longest surviving choirs (almost 50 years). Those happy few had a wide choice of seating. The concert opened with... read more

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

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

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