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Posts tagged: piano

Rachmaninov – jubilation and bitterness, but sheer poetry from Joyce Yang

By , 27/10/2017

A beautifully put-together programme, this, devoted to the music of Rachmaninov, and in almost every way, superbly delivered! There could be no doubt, however as to who the "star of the show" was - Korean-born American pianist Joyce Yang gave what seemed to me a performance in a thousand of the composer's fearsome D Minor Concerto, regarded by many as one of the most technically difficult works for... read more

At last! Michael Houstoun’s Beethoven recordings for Rattle reach the Diabelli Variations

By , 24/10/2017
Early in 1819, Anton Diabelli, who was a music publisher in Vienna, and something of a dilettante composer, wrote a waltz, and invited all of the leading composers of the time in and around Vienna to compose a single variation on his work. Diabelli's intention was to publish the collection as a complete set, planning to raise money for patriotic and humanitarian purposes relating to the recent Napoleonic Wars Included... read more

Alexander Gavrylyuk – transcendental pianism at Waikanae

By , 22/10/2017
I reviewed Alexandre Gavrylyuk's astounding recital at Waikanae last year, reflecting on that occasion, on the pianist's ability to enchant his listeners with every note, and in doing so, display a Sviatoslav Richter-like capacity to invest each sound with a kind of "centre of being" which suggests that the interpreter has gotten right to the heart of what the music means. Last time, it was the very first note... 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

To err is human, to forgive (the job of the critic): four student pianists with seriously worthwhile music

By , 27/09/2017
The lunchtime concert market has been somewhat crowded over recent weeks and both St Andrew’s and Old Saint Paul’s have provided nice venues and good audiences for end-of-year recitals. While we’ve covered most of the recent lunchtime concerts in Wellington we have been unable this year to get to the series running at St Mark’s Lower Hutt, which have been equally worthwhile. Four pianists played today at St Andrew’s. They... read more

Two pianists: rapport, stamina, poetry at NZSM Adam Concert Room

Lucky we were to attend this lunchtime concert at New Zealand School of Music. It was luminous in several respects. Firstly the choice of programme – three works, by Schubert, Hindemith and Debussy. … with pithy and pertinent verbal introductions by Hamish Robb before each piece. Not every musician has this gift of communication, to wear his learning lightly in talking about composition in a way that makes audience feel drawn in... read more

Orchestra Wellington with scintillating programme: Grieg piano concerto midst spectacular orchestral waltzes

By , 09/09/2017
Orchestra Wellington’s 2017 series has followed the theme of music inspired or commissioned by the great impresario Serge Diaghilev. The two pieces with Diaghilev connections at this concert were Weber’s Invitation to the Dance and Ravel’s La valse, though there was also a ballet connection with the first Ravel music in the programme which was originally a set of waltzes for piano which Ravel orchestrated at the request, not... read more

BEETHOVEN – Violin and Piano Sonata Series – a final frolic and a fury, to great acclaim!

By , 01/09/2017
The excellently-written programme notes accompanying this series of concerts made reference to the "frolicsome" mood of Beethoven's A Major Violin Sonata Op.12 No.2, which opened this, the last of the lunchtime series of concerts given by Bella Hristova and Michael Houstoun. The very opening of the work's Allegro vivace beginning was smile-inducing, the buoyantly-tripping rhythms shared by both instruments, the piano slightly more dominant in this environment (and more... read more

Beethoven violin sonata series: Spring – molto espressivo – and its companion sonata are a delight

We are fortunate indeed to have a full week (Monday to Friday) of these wonderful sonatas.   Having them performed in the Renouf Foyer proved to be an excellent decision – not so large and cavernous as the main auditorium, but still seating a large number of people; my rough calculation came to upwards of 300, and nearly all the available chairs filled. Both sonatas were composed 1800-1801, for the wealthy... read more

Astonishing performance of complete Daphnis et Chloé ballet music, plus a Schumann allusion

By , 05/08/2017
Orchestra Wellington continued its 2017 series theme that focuses on the great impresario Sergei Diaghilev, the genius behind the Ballets Russes which changed the face of ballet before the First World War, and also impacted on most of the other arts. For he employed the most gifted choreographers, composers, dancers and designers, of the age, and inspired them to produce work that would radically enrich and rejuvenate, even revolutionise... read more

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