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Posts tagged: contemporary music

Breaths of fresh air – the Imani Winds hit Wellington

By , 26/09/2017
This was the New York-based ensemble Imani Winds' first concert in New Zealand as part of a 10-venue tour organised by CMNZ. Every member of the group during their introductions for each of the concert's items conveyed considerable pleasure and excitement at being part of this inaugural visit by the ensemble to New Zealand. They've come with something of a reputation for being innovative and adventurous in their programming... read more

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

“New Look” NZ Trio performs old and new at Wellington City Gallery

By , 22/08/2017
NZTrio are undergoing a dramatic change. With the departure of foundation member Justine Cormack, attention at this concert was inevitably centred on the replacement violinist for this tour, Natalie Lin, a New Zealander currently living in Texas. She immediately impressed in the vigorous opening of the Bax trio with her strong, confident tone, going on to duet lyrically with Ashley Brown’s warm dark cello. This was densely-written, lush late-Romantic... 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

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