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Posts tagged: contemporary music

America: NZSO performances of brilliant new violin concerto plus Dvořák in New York and Reich in minimalist heaven

By , 08/10/2016
Once upon a time to have scheduled the New World Symphony would have guaranteed a pretty full house in spite of its being accompanied by unfamiliar music. But sometimes I think that as the years pass, the general public is becoming, not more open and adventurous, and simply ‘well-informed’ in the arts, and music too, but less in all those spheres. And there are various reasons: slavery to the flat... read more

Quintessence on show via youth and experience at Michael Fowler Centre

By , 17/09/2016
What a lovely idea,  arranging a day of performances of quintets for strings, and then giving the arrangement the name “quintessence” – and I must confess to not previously knowing the origin of the term in classical and medieval philosophy, of the “fifth” element or essence, a substance said to comprise the makeup of the celestial bodies, no less! In relation to Chamber Music New Zealand’s event, Quintessence was... read more

NZ Trio with Xia Jing – violin, ‘cello, piano and guzheng

By , 16/09/2016

This concert was part of Victoria University Confucious Institute’s China/New Zealand Musical Exchange programme, and sponsored jointly by the Confucious Institute and the China Cultural Centre in New Zealand, with support from both the Asia New Zealand Foundation and Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music.

A special feature of the concert was the presence of Xia Jing, one of the foremost exponents of the guzhengread more

Sombre Music of the Low Countries from the Bach Choir

Most of this music made me feel low, like the countries.  Only Sweelinck (1562-1621) seemed to sparkle with life, and he was much the oldest of the composers performed, the others being all from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.  I decided that I liked soulful music – but not doleful music.  After hearing two sombre works (first movement from Mahler’s 10th symphony and Berg’s violin concerto) the previous evening ... read more

Cellist Rebecca Turner with intriguing and entertaining music on carbon-fibre cello

By , 03/08/2016
There are certain benefits in forming habits, and the weekly lunchtime concerts at St Andrew’s are among the less sinful of what I’m prepared to confess to. Well, there was the weather. But I was there and though we (Middle C Incorporated) had not assigned the reviewing to anyone, Rebecca Turner’s performance of a totally unknown composer soon had me reaching for pen and notebook. It was by a composer... read more

Youth and experience together produce brilliant and heartfelt Messiaen

By , 08/07/2016

Elizabeth Kerr's pre-concert talk, gratifyingly well-attended and enthusiastically received, placed its listeners right in the epicenter of things relating to Olivier Messiaen and his final completed work Éclairs sur l’au-delá (Illuminations of the Beyond), whose performance by the NZSO/NYO was to follow shortly after.

In a masterstroke of juxtapositioning she took us straightaway to an event that took place in January 1941, in a German prisoner-of war camp... read more

Emma Sayers – piano recital of connections, dedications and premieres

By , 22/06/2016

Emma Sayers began her recital with the Mozart Variations, then spoke briefly to us by way of welcome, outlining how the remainder of the program had come about. She had been approached by composer Anthony Ritchie to perform a set of pieces written in memory of his parents, the whole (Three Pieces for J.A.R) named for his father, John Ritchie, with one of the set (Aria for Anita)... read more

Feast of music, art and ambiences – NZTrio’s “Zoom” at Wellington’s City Gallery

By , 16/06/2016
Appearances of NZTrio at the City Gallery are always a special event. There’s the wine, the fruit juices, the food, the opportunity to meet interesting people, the art (in this case, quirky, occasionally beautiful, watercolours by Francis Uprichard). Oh, and there’s the music. A feature of NZTrio presentations (this one titled “Zoom”) is their inclusion of New Zealand work. Often it is specially commissioned, as were the David Hamilton and... read more

Enso String Quartet highly impressive in all eras particularly 20th century France

By , 20/05/2016
One of the first things that many people would have asked about this concert, was ‘what’s the name mean or is an acronym for?’ Nowhere in the programme could I find the answer. However, their website does ‘sort-of’ explain: “The ensemble’s name is derived from the Japanese Zen painting of the circle, which represents many things: perfection and imperfection, the moment of chaos that is creation, the emptiness of the void... read more

NZSO ‘wastes its sweetness upon the desert air’ with some splendid, approachable, 21st century music

By , 06/05/2016
Above all, this concert again raised for me the old controversy about the handling of new music. Whether it is best to ghettoize music that is unlikely to find a large audience, or to place these pieces carefully in concerts that include an irresistibly popular masterpiece. If the intention is to persuade the timid to expose their minds to something unfamiliar, the size of Friday’s audience showed again that approach... read more

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