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Posts tagged: New Zealand music

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

Splendid Bartók; evocative New Zealand piece; guitarist substitution perhaps not a misfortune

The programme for the concert obviously did not appeal to everyone; there were a lot of empty seats, and even more after the interval when it became obvious that many devotees of the guitar, and of the Rodrigo work, did not wish to encounter Bartók, which was a great shame.  Not so tonight’s soloist, who joined the audience after the interval of this, the final concert of his tour ... read more

Adventurous, revelatory concert by Troubadour String Quartet in Lower Hutt

By , 24/07/2017
At the Adam Chamber Music Festival in Nelson this year, the Troubadour Quartet gave two free concerts, one giving the same Britten quartet that they played here, the second, Schubert’s A minor quartet (Rosamunde). I was there for a few days and really regret not hearing them. Haydn For it took only a few bars of the Haydn quartet (one of his very last) to show me that these were players... 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

Destination Beehive 2017 at Circa Theatre – too serious to be taken seriously

By , 09/07/2017
Legend has it that American songwriter and political satirist Tom Lehrer gave up satire when American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It's perhaps just as tempting for any present-day satirist to take a similar stance in the face of the antics of those real-life dodgers, shysters, con-artists and masters of illusion we know as politicians - why bother, she or he might argue... 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

Splendid NZSO concert with a greatly gifted cellist and young conductor prodigy

By , 20/05/2017
This was the second of three concerts in the NZSO’s main series to feature a solo cello: a fortnight ago, a new work by Gareth Farr, and in a month's time, Schumann’s cello concerto played by Daniel Müller-Schott. Interesting: that Müller-Schott was here in 2013 playing the Dvořák concerto which was the concerto tonight, played by alarmingly talented Armenian cellist, Narek Hakhnazaryan. But first, to follow the Gareth Farr premiere... read more

“Firebird” from Orchestra Wellington an incendiary experience

By , 13/05/2017
This was, in this best of all possible worlds, the best possible start to Orchestra Wellington's "The Impresario" season, a beautifully-devised concert whose centrepiece was Igor Stravinsky's 1910 Ballet "The Firebird". This piece, commissioned by the Russian-born artistic entrepreneur Sergei Diaghilev for the Ballets Russes in Paris, began a collaboration between composer and impresario which was to produce three of the most famous ballets of the 20th century, the... read more

Piano and string quartet in unexpectedly contrasting scene

By , 08/05/2017
A radical change has occurred in programming over the past year or three. Instead of programmes of carefully related music, set in a coherent sequence, either chronological, stylistic or thematic, disjunction and daring contrast have come to be the fashion. To seek the traditional common theme, one might suggest ‘composers starting with ‘D’’, or that, instead of a chronological sequence starting ancient and ending modern, you turn it around: a... read more

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