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Posts tagged: orchestral

Magnificent NZSO concert, with percussionist Colin Currie, under James MacMillan

By , 08/07/2017
I had rather expected that, even if the pieces by Adès and MacMillan had not exactly created a stampede for tickets, that the remarkable, let’s even say ‘great’ symphony by Vaughan Williams would have done the trick. But no, it didn't. However, if it was something of a statement about the timidity of Wellington audiences, it was not a disgrace. Thomas Adès For another thing, I’d have thought the name Adès might... read more

Jeux, Debussy’s quiet revolutionary, steals Orchestra Wellington’s show

By , 07/07/2017
This was the second of Orchestra Wellington's 2017 series of concerts containing works commissioned by the renowned impresario Serge Diaghilev for the dance company he had formed, the Ballets Russes, regarded by many performance historians as the most influential dance company of the 20th Century. It was the Ballets Russes company which, thanks to Diaghilev's commissions, was to premiere three of Igor Stravinsky's most famous ballets, the Firebird, Petroushka... read more

Magical Mendelssohn and tempestuous Tchaikovsky from the Wellington Chamber Orchestra

By , 02/07/2017
First impressions are, as they say, important, although they can sometimes be misleading. If one took the opening few minutes of the Wellington Chamber Orchestra's Sunday concert, featuring Felix Mendelssohn's adorable Overture "A Midsummer Night's Dream", and peremptorily judged the concert's music-making by the short-winded and unatmospheric opening chords, and the somewhat unseemly scramble of upper string lines attempting and failing to co-ordinate their rhythmic patternings right throughout this... read more

Schumann and Barber – adventurous and absorbing sounds from the NZSO, with Daniel Müller-Schott

By , 17/06/2017
Poor old Brahms was left out of the title for this concert, despite his "Tragic Overture" opening the programme, though therein lies a rub - I thought in a sense it was apposite this time round, as the NZSO's performance under James Feddeck for me lacked any real sense of tragedy - rather it came across as an intermittently "worried" piece of music trying its best here and there... read more

Wellington Youth Orchestra in winning performances, especially Brahms No 1

By , 23/05/2017
Looking back over Middle C’s reviews of the Wellington Youth Orchestra, one sees a couple of repeated themes. One that through them we sometimes hear unfamiliar but great and enjoyable music, and that the citizens of Wellington turn up in such sparse numbers that one wonders what can justify boasts of our being the cultural capital. This evening’s concert ticked both those notions. It began with Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Festival Overture:... 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

Aotearoa Plus from the NZSO set alight by Gareth Farr premiere

By , 05/05/2017
A concert with the name "Aotearoa Plus" begs the question of how an orchestra might best support and present the music of native composers - the title is one which, in my artless way, I thought might have fairly been expected to accompany rather more homegrown examples of composition than were allowed for here. Thank goodness, then, in my view, for Gareth Farr's work, and its performance, which delivered a... read more

Renowned Bach scholar and conductor Suzuki with fine baroque ensemble Juilliard415

It is wonderful for audiences in New Zealand to welcome back Masaaki Suzuki, this time with an ensemble of students from the famous Juilliard School based at the Lincoln Center in New York   The 18 instrumentalists came from 8 different countries. Suzuki, as well as running his own choral and orchestral ensembles and teaching in Tokyo, teaches also at Juilliard.  He is a renowned Bach scholar and conductor, and Wellington... read more

Further excellent exploratory concert into delightful quasi-juvenile symphonies

By , 28/04/2017
My colleagues, Rosemary Collier and Peter Mechen, have reviewed earlier concerts by Camerata – in May 2015 and November 2016. I’m sorry to have missed them. They included Haydn’s first and third symphonies; I wondered whether we’d missed a concert that had included the second symphony. It also made me wonder, with considerable anticipation, whether they plan to survive long enough to get through all 104 (or is it 108?)... read more

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