"Matariki" - the "eyes of god", are said to be the stars belonging to a cluster (known elsewhere as the "Pleiades") which were formed by the fierce God of the Winds, Tāwhirimātea, who tore his eyes out and threw them into the heavens in anger at the separation of his parents the Earth and Sky.
Somewhat less overtly savage is the account in Greek mythology of the seven daughters of...
The NZSM Orchestra keeps up a pretty hot pace, with relatively frequent concerts. This was ‘the big one’; the annual Town Hall concert, and probably the last for some time, due to the earthquake strengthening to take place at that venue.
However, the coldest day of the year so far would, without doubt, have been the main reason for relatively low audience numbers. This was a shame, because the orchestra...
An American in Paris
, which I knew reasonably well.
I had not heard any of Leonard Bernstein's "Mass"
- though I remember reading a review of the composer's own recording many years ago, one whose description of the work's full-on... read more
The only clue I had to what we might be in for, during the course of the oncoming Orchestra Wellington's concert with the overall name "Night Creature", was George Gershwin's
The Lark Ascending
, the work that tops the Radio New Zealand Concert ‘Settling the Score’ popularity programme almost every year. Works by English composers book-ended the concert, and an Englishman was the conductor, who obviously knew the music very well, especially the Elgar.
While the concert-master... read more
It was gratifying to see the Michael Fowler Centre virtually full, no doubt due at least in part to the presence on the programme,
demonstrated again his considerable skill in orchestral writing, and his inventiveness. The programme notes explained that the title refers to tarantism, the extreme desire to dance, that used to be attributed to the bite of the tarantula, but is named after the sea port in southern Italy. From this tradition comes the dance, tarantella, a rapid, whirling dance.
The piece opened with tubular... read more
A recent work by John Psathas,
[A review by a colleague did not materialize and this is based on my review that appeared in the Listener of 16 May. It could not be courteously published until that issue of the Listener had gone off sale. It is here somewhat changed and expanded]
Not long ago a concert of music written in recent decades, especially by a New Zealand composer, would probably have attracted a smallish audience... read more
It was unfortunate that probably many in the audience beside myself had attended the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s concert in the Michael Fowler Centre the previous night: a close juxtaposition of the playing of a professional orchestra with that of an amateur orchestra is not good for the latter.
Nevertheless, there were high points in this ambitious programme. It was good to see (and hear) the brass out of the...
The title alludes to the fact that these works were either devised, or revised, when their composers were a long way from home: Pruden in London, Dvořák in the USA and Rachmaninov in the States also.
Larry Pruden’s work for string orchestra was a fine concert opener. Its dreamy, unison opening for violins only, led us gently into the concert. Other strings followed, the minor key giving the work a...
This was a whale of a concert from the NZSM Orchestra and conductor Kenneth Young, performing with Auckland-based viola soloist Irina Andreeva. Much of the enjoyment was in our anticipation of the programme, which featured a not too-well-known Folksong Suite by Benjamin Britten, and an even more rarely performed concerto for viola by Darius Milhaud, coupled with one of the best-loved of the Tchaikovsky Symphonies, the "Pathetique". If not...
, which opened the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra's Wellington Concert on Friday evening, I thought the playing and conducting among the finest and most compelling I had heard from these musicians at any time - right from the outset... read more
What better way to begin an orchestral concert than with music that features playing of rapt, superfine concentration, sharp-edged focus and meticulous attention to detail?
For much of Maurice Ravel's