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Posts tagged: oratorio

NZSO and Edo de Waart’s outstanding performance of Damnation of Faust

Berlioz was a non-conformist, musically.  In an ironic twist, the otherwise excellent programme notes said he ‘flaunted rules and regulations’ whereas in fact he flouted them, falling out with audience and critics in the process.  The work that was the entire programme of this NZSO concert demonstrated to the full the composer’s very different  music from that composed by his contemporaries and recent predecessors. The work required a large orchestra;... read more

Orpheus Choir’s “Chichester Psalms” concert terrific! – but James MacMillan has the last word……..

By , 29/04/2017
As with music and art in general, people's responses to matters of spiritual belief seem to vary enormously from individual to individual. Despite what seems like an ever-increasing secularisation of everyday life, we’re still can’t help being either active or passive observers of institutionalised calendar commemorations based on matters of belief in God which affect various human activities - we're regularly made aware of certain historical frameworks and structures... read more

Days Bay Opera does it again with Handel’s “Theodora”

By , 11/02/2017
One of the pleasures of reviewing for me is fronting up to performances of music which I simply don’t know, and subsequently asking myself (sometimes in tones of amazement and disbelief) why it is I’ve never encountered this or that work before, finding it so beautiful / profound / thrilling /whatever! Thus it was with this often compelling production of Handel’s oratorio Theodora, a work the composer wrote towards... read more

No Christmas without “Messiah” – with the Tudor Consort and the NZSO

  This was a remarkable performance, in many ways.  The smaller-than-usual orchestra was matched by a larger-than-usual Tudor Consort in fine voice, and splendid soloists, all directed by Australian Handel specialist Graham Abbott.  Unusually, there were no cuts in the score; all was performed.  ‘Their sound is gone out’, in Part II is usually a chorus.  But this was composed three years after the première; in the first performance it... read more

Schumann a winner but Sibelius and Mendelssohn unconvincing in fine Bach Choir performances

By , 08/08/2015
Michael Vinten and his Bach Choir had decided to explore some pretty unexpected choral repertoire with this concert of mid-nineteenth century, plus a rather out-of-season, comparable work from half a century later. I have to praise that initiative. However, much of the choral music composed during that era has not stood the test of time. The problem can be ascribed to Romanticism, which encouraged composers to find new modes of expression... read more

Impressive semi-staged Elijah from Orpheus Choir, Orchestra Wellington and superb soloists

I found this performance of Elijah entertaining, inspiring, and of a very high standard.  So did the large, attentive audience, who responded enthusiastically.  After the performance, I heard many favourable comments. The first thing that struck one coming into the auditorium was the huge screen behind the choir seats.  However, it was not used for projecting images, but was simply suffused with colour.  The colour chosen varied with the mood... read more

A brave Kapiti Chamber Choir gives good account of Bach’s Mass in B minor

By , 26/04/2015
The Kapiti Chamber Choir is the smaller of the two choirs in the district (the other, larger, choir is the Kapiti Chorale) established or taken over by Peter Godfrey after he came to Kapiti. Some might have felt that it was singularly ambitious for an amateur choir to tackle one of the biggest and most demanding choral works. In their defence, however, their conductor Eric Sidoti reported that this was... read more

Fine Israel in Egypt from Tudor Consort in challenging acoustic

Israel in Egypt sets out to recount the Old Testament story of Israel’s final period in Egypt under a Pharaoh that withdrew all previous privileges and inflicted on the Israelites a physical bondage of the harshest kind. Handel set an entirely biblical libretto which dramatically depicts the Ten Plagues that Israel’s God visited on the Egyptians, the captives’ escape towards the Red Sea, the Egyptian pursuit with murderous intent... read more

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