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Posts tagged: song recital

Beguiling concert of French chanson, torch songs, café and cabaret songs by Magdalena Darby and friends

By , 27/07/2016
Magdalena Darby’s bio begins with her studies at the Conservatorium of Music in Utrecht, but shies away from dates, early education, or when she came to New Zealand; one assumes she was born in the Netherlands. Before coming to New Zealand she lived in Mexico and presumably Paris. Her bio refers to performing in Paris as well as London and elsewhere in Europe (can we still assume that ‘Europe’... read more

Two fine sopranos in rare, varied, Wigmore Hall-quality recital

Here was a recital that would have hacked it in the Wigmore Hall, London, or in any other suitably-sized venue, for that matter.  It was good to have a programme (mainly) of duets – so rarely heard these days. The programme began with great panache, in ‘Herbstlied’ and ‘Maiglökchen und die Blümelein’ from Sechs Duette by Mendelssohn.  The voices were well-matched, and Catherine Norton, as always, was a reliable and... read more

Wonderful Lieder recital ends Schubertiade at St Andrew’s, with powerful case for more

By , 05/06/2016
I got to four of the five concerts in this splendid little Schubert Festival which I like to refer to as a Schubertiade. I know of no other such social/musical circle that formed spontaneously around a living composer; the sure sign that not only did plenty of people in the Vienna of the 1820s recognize Schubert’s enormous gifts, but they actually loved the guy. The most famous contemporary version of... read more

Schubertiade Hohenems/Wellington at St Andrew’s: piano and song

By , 04/06/2016
The weather assorted poorly with Schubert’s anguished, obsessional Sonata in A minor. It had been sunny and calm, though cold; but the music was penetrated with sudden squally gales and dark clouds, broken by only brief shafts of light and fleeting moments of repose. Diedre Irons understood, as her programme note made clear, how the tragic illness revealed in 1823 must have affected his music. Though she responded to... read more

Superb song tribute for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, from the resourceful Nota Bene

Despite the title of the concert, the song referenced appeared in the printed programme as ‘The Cloud-clapped Towers’. Some of those in Christchurch certainly were, although the tall buildings on the cover of the programme represented Auckland and Wellington. Joking aside, the programme presented was a marvellous conception by Peter Walls and Jacqueline Coats. Peter Walls has taken over as Nota Bene’s new musical director; he’s a busy man, having... read more

Breaking the song recital drought with a fine, adventurous recital of unfamiliar songs by great composers

Another concert by Songbook, mainly featuring different singers from those in the concert I reviewed favourably last June. The laudatory remarks I made then apply again. Despite the theme, which may have seemed appropriate for Wellington (there was little wind at that stage of the evening, though some light rain), there was huge variety in the programme, not least in the length of the songs, from very short to... read more

Innovative and fitting celebration of Kiri Te Kanawa with New Zealand Festival: a full MFC

By , 13/03/2016
The Michael Fowler Centre was full for the Sunday early evening concert. A song recital with a few contributions from a local choir would not ordinarily have filled St Andrew’s on The Terrace; the name Kiri Te Kanawa changed everything. Very few singers are still in business over 70 years of age (Joan Sutherland stopped in 1990, aged 64, and I suspect that even if age was starting to tell in... read more

Delightful Takiri Vocal Ensemble heralds a new era for the song recital?

By , 30/08/2015
The Takiri Ensemble is a novelty for New Zealand: a vocal quartet that aims to be a permanent presence in this country. It challenges the long-held and flimsily sustained belief that there’s no audience for the song recital; another similar, ill-supported notion is that there’s little appetite for piano recitals. Each prejudice has probably been based on cases that have not been representative or well-conceived, flawed through poor programming... read more

Opera Society revives its tradition of presenting promising young singers in tantalising song

By , 06/08/2015
Once upon a time, the Wellington Branch of the New Zealand Opera Society used to stage almost monthly recitals of mainly opera arias and ensembles. As performances of the real thing increased in the 80s and 90s, with the establishment of Wellington City Opera, annual productions by both Victoria University and Wellington Polytechnic schools of music as well as a variety of adventurous ad hoc amateur groups, the appeal... read more

Pianist Catherine Norton initiates delightful, welcome renaissance in song recitals

Resounding congratulations are due to Catherine Norton, who is not only a superb accompanist, but also is the initiator of Songbook.   She has fairly recently returned from study and performing overseas, mainly in the United Kingdom.  She has worked with the Young Songmakers’ Almanac, descendant of The Songmakers’ Almanac, an English vocal group which toured here some years ago with Chamber Music New Zealand.  This doubtless gave her the... read more

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