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Posts tagged: orchestral

Wellington Youth Orchestra goes for broke with Beethoven

By , 14/05/2018
This was, I thought, a well-nigh-perfect concert in terms of length and proportion – as well, it nicely varied the “standard” overture/concerto/symphonic work formula for classical orchestral concerts, one which doesn’t really cater for a particular kind of repertoire, which, as a result, is often overlooked. Elgar’s adorable String Serenade Op. 20 is a prime example of a piece of music that doesn’t easily fit in unless those in... read more

Vivaldi triumphs in the NZSO’s Italian celebration

By , 12/05/2018
What a boringly predictable world it would be if everything in it turned out as one anticipated! I sat pondering this earth-shattering truism during the interval of Saturday evening’s NZSO concert in the wake of the most inspiring and life-enhancing performance of Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” I’ve heard since first encountering New Zealand violinist Alan Loveday’s now-legendary recording of the work with Neville Marriner’s Academy of St.Martin-in-the-Fields, from... read more

Spectacular centenary concert for Leonard Bernstein from the NZSO

By , 11/05/2018
Faced with an auditorium less than half full for a concert to celebrate a hundred years of one of the most famous (I carefully refrain from using ‘greatest’) composers and conductors of the 20th century, raised interesting thoughts. One was that I had expected about this sized audience; that, before I’d seen the NZSO offer of big ticket discounts. I’ve no doubt that everyone interested in classical music and broadly defined popular... 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

Wellington Chamber Orchestra in interesting Alfred Hill exploratory mode

An adventurous and stimulating programme was chosen by the Wellington Chamber Orchestra for this first concert of 2018.  The works demanded, and received, almost a full symphony orchestra.  Whether the bright acoustic of St. Andrew’s can cope with this number of players, including brass (mercifully this time not in the sanctuary – it was occupied by the piano, and the percussion) is another matter.  A number of rows of... read more

De Waart and NZSO: Brilliant Mozart two piano concerto and epic Mahler performance

By , 06/04/2018
For me, two of Mozart’s most beguiling works have adjacent numbers in the Köchel catalogue: the Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola (K 364) and the Concerto for two pianos (K 365), meaning that scholars believed they were written about the same time, 1779. Certainly, they have both been deeply embedded in my affections, perhaps through the performances I first heard. This was a little before Mozart’s leaving Salzburg for... read more

National Youth Orchestra’s summer concert a brilliant showcase for cellist Balzat in Elgar concerto

By , 03/02/2018
To start the year, neither Peter Mechen nor I was prepared to forego hearing the National Youth Orchestra and debated the question of authoring a review. We settled by both giving up something we each hated being deprived of – that is, the entire concert. The compromise: I cover the first half and Peter, the second. Much as one attempts to avoid repetitious expressions of amazement at the remarkable accomplishment and... read more

NZSO opens the musical year with Bach, Rameau and Locatelli

The orchestra made a start to the New Year that was rather different from usual.  A band without conductor, but led from the violin, that was made up of between 12 and twenty-five players, depending on the work being played.  Unusually, the players stood to perform, except of course the harpsichordist (Douglas Mews) and the cellists; the horns and percussion had chairs to sit on in those movements where... read more

Legal choristers and instrumentalists in anniversary class action supporting child cancer campaign

It was heartening to see such a large bunch of lawyers who enjoy making music – and the large, mainly young audience who came to hear their second performance.  The 38-strong orchestra included some 21 players from the NZSO and Orchestra Wellington, but only one lawyer – the indefatigable Merran Cooke, who rehearses the performers and organised the concert.  The choir consisted of 53 singers. The composers selected were a... read more

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