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Posts tagged: New Zealand music

Atoll Records releases CD conspectus of Ken Wilson: Music For Winds

A worthy addition to Atoll's now substantial catalogue of recordings of music by New Zealand composers, this CD should delight many music-lovers.  That it is already doing so is proved by its place at number three on the RNZ Concert Classical Chart, on Saturday, 18 February.  They played an excerpt from Ken Wilson's Wind Quintet of 1965.  This was recorded by Kiwi Records on LP in the mid-1980s, and... read more

Gaudete at St Mary of the Angels with Baroque Voices and Palliser Viols

By , 20/12/2017
This was a beautifully devised and presented programme, appropriately given the name “Gaudete” as a kind of seasonal evocation, an enjoining spirit of joyfulness, as well as a reflection of the sentiments proclaimed by both words and music throughout the evening, such as with an eponymously-named work written especially for these musicians by New Zealand composer Ross Harris. The term “verse anthem” is the English equivalent of the German “cantata”... read more

Admirable Sibelius as well as Lilburn and a rare trombone concerto from Wellington Chamber Orchestra

By , 10/12/2017
Lilburn’s Suite for Orchestra was composed for the Auckland Junior Symphony Orchestra in 1955. Thus it was a sensible piece for a non-professional orchestra, though that is not to suggest that its wide-ranging moods, brilliant orchestration and rhythms that range widely from the utmost subtlety to the unusually boisterous are not very taxing. Subtle brass playing is rarely a highlight of amateur orchestras and it was trumpets and trombones that... read more

Stroma’s “Spectral Electric” concert at City Art Gallery

By , 16/11/2017
Large and flexible contemporary music ensemble Stroma subdivided into smaller units for most of their “Spectral Electric” concert. Founder member Ed Allen, using a mechanically and electrically modified horn, got to demonstrate aspects of virtuosity not typically heard in his work with the NZSO and Orchestra Wellington. In Luigi Ceccarelli’s Respiri, there were raindrop staccatos, deep pedal notes and plaintive keening. Horn calls were echoed and blended, acoustic sounds... read more

Orchestra Wellington out-performs the fireworks with a stunning “Petrouchka”

By , 04/11/2017
Audiences can be curiously unpredictable, on occasions exhilarating and galvanizing masses of energy to be part of, caught up in the excitement of either enthusiastic or rapt responses to some performances, (especially those involving soloists) and then for no apparent reason, every once in a while, strangely under-responsive. Why this sudden out-of-the-blue observation, going a little against the grain of my normally unrelieved positivism as a music reviewer? It was... read more

Maximum Minimalism – simple, state-of-the-art complexities from Stroma

By , 19/10/2017
“Maximum Minimalism” was the wittily oxymoronic title for this concert by Wellington’s (New Zealand’s?) premiere contemporary music ensemble, Stroma. “Minimalism” was the name bestowed on a group of American composers who, in the 1960s, reacted against the forbidding complexity of atonal and serial music and began (largely independently of each other) employing the extended repetition of simple elements. Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Terry Riley were the pioneers (La... read more

Wilma Smith and Friends play fine programme for Wellington Chamber Music

By , 15/10/2017
We reviewed Wilma Smith and Friends at their Waikanae concert on 24 September. There they had played Beethoven’s not-much-played Op 16 piano quartet, Dvořák’s greatly loved Op 87 as well as the piano quartet by the group’s pianist, Leathwick.  I suppose I can wait till next August when I see that Wellington Chamber Music’s just announced 2018 Sunday series will hear the Dvořák played by the Leppänen, Thomson, Joyce... read more

China/New Zealand Ode to the Moon concert with a radiant Aroha Quartet

By , 01/10/2017
This was one of those concerts that, had I been an ordinary audience member I would have looked forward to immensely! However, being a reviewer and facing the prospect of commenting on a genre of music about which I knew very little, I felt a mixture of excitement and trepidation about what I might encounter! As it turned out I need not have worried, as the music written and... read more

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

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