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Posts tagged: New Zealand music

Unusual but timely concert by Supertonic, dynamic mixture of the musical, the political, the sexual

By , 20/05/2018
Middle C has reviewed two previous concerts by Supertonic (both by Rosemary Collier), in 2015, and she was impressed (where have we been in the meantime?). They were in different venues, the Sacred Heart Cathedral and the New Zealand Portrait Gallery. This time they gave me my first experience in the Pipitea Marae, which I’m ashamed to confess I’d never been in; a building of normal construction, with impressive... read more

Pianist Tony Chen Lin’s debut CD for Rattle a must-hear….

By , 01/05/2018
My first encounter with Tony Chen Lin was in 2008 at Kerikeri’s International Piano Competition, in which he was awarded what I’ve always regarded as a “too close to call” second place to his friend Jun Bouterey-Ishido. Since then I’ve heard each of them some years afterwards give separate recitals in Wellington; and while appreciating the unique excellence of each, I’m still unable to pronounce either of them the... read more

Behn String Quartet opens Wellington Chamber Music’s 2018 season – brilliantly

By , 22/04/2018
Wellington Chamber Music Inc opened its 2018 season of seven concerts with a multi-national string quartet (naturally, one cannot use the word -ethnic when speaking of members of several nations inhabited by one ethnic group, European peoples), led by a New Zealander. It’s probably unusual for a musical group to adopt a literary name. Aphra Behn was a late 17th century English woman playwright and novelist. She’s always interested me:... read more

Sasha Cooke’s entrancing Berlioz songs, a bewitching premiere and masterpieces of Debussy and Ravel: thanks to De Waart and the NZSO

By , 21/04/2018
Though this turned out a great concert with an enthusiastic reception of Ravel’s Boléro at the end, I had heard a number of less than excited reactions to the programme beforehand. There’s an ‘attitude’ surrounding Boléro, and not the whole world loves Debussy as much as the music historians generally do. That left Les nuits d’ été, but then there are still a sad few who have inherited an earlier... read more

NZSM Orchestra’s “Triple” celebration with the Te Kōkī Trio

By , 17/04/2018
There was palpable excitement among those gathering within the none-too-spacious vistas of  St.Andrew’s-on-The-Terrace Church for the most recent concert given by Te Kōkī New Zealand School Of Music’s Orchestra with conductor Kenneth Young, most certainly due to the event’s extra attraction in presenting the fabulous Te Kōkī Trio as guest soloists in Beethoven’s wondrous Triple Concerto! – of course, each of the Trio’s soloists are currently heads of their... read more

Brilliance and feeling from the Mazzoli Trio at Lower Hutt

By , 26/03/2018
Formed in 2015 by students from the University of Auckland and the Pettman National Junior Academy of Music, the Mazzoli Trio, so the story goes, took its name from that of a composer of a piece of music which was one of the first the trio of musicians had prepared. They had fallen in love with the piece, one called “Lies You Can Believe In”, written by up-and-coming New... read more

Switzerland – Circa Theatre’s absorbing “life and art” thriller

By , 20/03/2018
Playwright Joanna Murray-Smith remembers her mother reading American author Patricia Highsmith’s novels “voraciously”, and with an intensity of concentration that left a deep impression upon her. She was to find herself in turn similarly “drawn in” by Highsmith’s writing, in particular by what she termed her “utterly fearless curiosity about the darkness of the human psyche”. Subsequently, in her play “Switzerland”, where Murray-Smith depicts the author, in self-imposed exile... read more

Remarkable integration of musical cultures in spite of documentation and presentation shortcomings

Of the skill manifest in this unusual concert there can be no doubt.  Regarding the audience’s involvement there are regrets: there were no notes about individual works in the brief three pages in the composite programme booklet; most of the information was about the players.  No spoken introductions were given, and no explanation of the taonga pūoro, as Richard Nunns gave at a Festival concert years ago.  I am... read more

Berkahn shows how you can have fun with Bach

By , 28/02/2018
This was one of those concerts that looked enigmatic from the outside, and I wondered whether it was going to deserve a review – not that I’ve ever failed to be greatly entertained by all my previous encounters with the multi-talented Berkahn. The secret here was to take several of Bach’s Two-part Inventions and respond to what Berkahn takes to be Bach’s suggestion, taking them as starting point to turn... read more

Two resounding recordings from Rattle – classics and a feisty newcomer

By , 23/02/2018
Taking the contents of both CDs listed above, one might argue that there are two "classic" compositions to be found among these works, one recognised internationally and the other locally, each defined as such by its popularity and general recognition as a notable piece of work. If this suggests a kind of facile populist judgement, one might reflect that posterity does eventually take over, either continuing to further enhance... read more

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