"Matariki" - the "eyes of god", are said to be the stars belonging to a cluster (known elsewhere as the "Pleiades") which were formed by the fierce God of the Winds, Tāwhirimātea, who tore his eyes out and threw them into the heavens in anger at the separation of his parents the Earth and Sky.
Somewhat less overtly savage is the account in Greek mythology of the seven daughters of...
An American in Paris
, which I knew reasonably well.
I had not heard any of Leonard Bernstein's "Mass"
- though I remember reading a review of the composer's own recording many years ago, one whose description of the work's full-on... read more
The only clue I had to what we might be in for, during the course of the oncoming Orchestra Wellington's concert with the overall name "Night Creature", was George Gershwin's
demonstrated again his considerable skill in orchestral writing, and his inventiveness. The programme notes explained that the title refers to tarantism, the extreme desire to dance, that used to be attributed to the bite of the tarantula, but is named after the sea port in southern Italy. From this tradition comes the dance, tarantella, a rapid, whirling dance.
The piece opened with tubular... read more
A recent work by John Psathas,
[A review by a colleague did not materialize and this is based on my review that appeared in the Listener of 16 May. It could not be courteously published until that issue of the Listener had gone off sale. It is here somewhat changed and expanded]
Not long ago a concert of music written in recent decades, especially by a New Zealand composer, would probably have attracted a smallish audience... read more
The title alludes to the fact that these works were either devised, or revised, when their composers were a long way from home: Pruden in London, Dvořák in the USA and Rachmaninov in the States also.
Larry Pruden’s work for string orchestra was a fine concert opener. Its dreamy, unison opening for violins only, led us gently into the concert. Other strings followed, the minor key giving the work a...
Called a “Summer Residency Concert”, this NZSO National Youth Orchestra presentation most effectively highlighted the skills of some of the country’s top youthful musicians.
This was done by allocating works featuring the orchestra’s different sections to make up the concert’s first half. Following this, the whole orchestra came together to perform Brahms’ genial and much-loved Second Symphony.
The idea looked good on paper, and worked, I thought, marvellously in practice, thanks...
Century pianist/composer Anton Rubinstein, while on tour in the United States, the writer turning to a kind of “vernacular” in order to be able to express the wildness of exhilaration that had seized him when confronted with such music-making –
“….the house trembled, the lights danced, the walls shuck, the... read more
This concert put me in mind of a review I once read of a performance given by the great 19
Westland: A Back-Country Overture,
a work I’d not heard before. True, the rather cramped St.Andrew’s venue heightened the music’s (and the playing’s!) raw impact, not altogether helpfully; but there was no denying the... read more
There’s nothing quite like an encounter (preferably “live”) with an unfamiliar piece of music that rocks one’s socks off! This happened for me right at the beginning of this Wellington Chamber Orchestra concert, with Larry Pruden’s
It was refreshing to have a programme entirely of New Zealand compositions. It made for a most enjoyable concert, in fact more so than numbers of piano recitals I have attended.
One infrequently hears music by father and son of the same family (perhaps occasionally the Mozarts, Leopold and Wolfgang), so it was a distinct pleasure to hear music by both John and Anthony Ritchie. The geniality of the writing...
This NZSO concert was a show made up of various classy acts - perhaps the sum of its parts were greater than the whole, but those classy parts alone made it all memorable, if not perfect.
One of these classy acts was violinist Nicola Benedetti's - she gave a beautifully warm and richly-toned performance of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. Another was conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya's inspired music-making with the orchestra throughout almost...