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Posts tagged: piano

Thoughtful, enterprising programming from Michael Houstoun performed with conviction and sensitivity

By , 12/04/2018
I remember reading somewhere amongst the material advertising this Hutt Valley Chamber Music concert a passage quoting Michael Houstoun as saying he thought the choice of repertoire here had produced “the most perfect recital he had ever put together”. After listening to his strong, deeply considered playing of all three works, I felt bound to concur with his judgement, with each of his choices having some quality that seemed... read more

Polish and Shakespearean themes lead fine St Andrew’s lunchtime recital

Shakespeare ‘book-ended’ the programme, with two sets of songs, separated by Chopin.  It made an interesting programme, featuring mainly the piano, but with pleasing songs to begin and end. The pianist and composer André Tchaikowsky was not, we were told in the pianist’s introductory remarks, related to the great composer of the same name.  I remember him visiting New Zealand to play with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, a long... read more

Intriguing improvisatory performances by Robbie Duncan and Bernard Wells at St Andrew’s

By , 21/03/2018
This is a belated, 'sort-of' review of the St Andrew’s concert on Wednesday 21 March. So I have filed it out of date order for a few days so that it will be noticed. I didn’t arrive at the concert till after 12.30; the first few minutes were spent tuning my head to the sounds and to the character of the playing, and trying to sense the players’ personalities and that of... read more

Two resounding recordings from Rattle – classics and a feisty newcomer

By , 23/02/2018
Taking the contents of both CDs listed above, one might argue that there are two "classic" compositions to be found among these works, one recognised internationally and the other locally, each defined as such by its popularity and general recognition as a notable piece of work. If this suggests a kind of facile populist judgement, one might reflect that posterity does eventually take over, either continuing to further enhance... read more

Michael Houstoun memorably opens Waikanae’s chamber music recital series

By , 18/02/2018
This is the season of series launches. The Waikanae Music Society, in contrast to certain other comparable chamber music groups, is in good shape, thanks to an immediately attractive programme of eight concerts, with no patronisingly-popular concerts that fail to touch those likely to be interested in real chamber music; plus an enticing ticketing policy that makes it cheap to subscribe and to attend most concerts. And that’s compounded by... read more

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

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