Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Now on CD! – Claire Cowan’s incandescent score for the RNZB’s recent “Hansel and Gretel”, played by the NZSO with Hamish McKeich

By , 22/12/2020
After reading various reviews of the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s production of Auckland composer Claire Cowan’s Hansel and Gretel, toured by the company during 2019, I’m left feeling like one of the “gentlemen of England now abed” from Shakespeare’s Henry V play, those whom the monarch prophesised would “think themselves accurs’d” for not being at Agincourt to share in the splendour of the occasion’s success. And now, having listened... read more

At last! – the 2020 NZSO National Youth Orchestra gets to show what it can do

By , 18/12/2020
NZSO Chief Executive Peter Biggs called this evening’s concert “a belated wish come true”, after the NZSO NYO’s plans for mid-year Wellington and Auckland performances together with the NZSO of Shostakovich’s epic “Leningrad” Symphony were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. After such a disappointment, the young players were “overjoyed” that the lifting of restrictions nation-wide enabled a new concert to be announced for the year’s end, with the... read more

End of the musical year for Wellington Chamber Orchestra with an Emperor and Franck’s symphony

By , 13/12/2020
Verdi: La Forza del Destino overture The overture to Verdi's opera, 'The Power of Fate' is much more popular than the opera itself. It encapsulates the drama of the opera, its lyricism and its wonderful melodies. It opens with three unison chords for the brasses, followed by repeated agitated phrases by the lower strings, which foreshadows the tragedy of the drama to follow. A beautiful mournful theme from Act 3... read more

Acclaim at Wellington’s MFC for Handel, the “Messiah”, the NZSO, the Tudor Consort, the soloists, and conductor extraordinaire, Gemma New

By , 12/12/2020
I can’t remember a Wellington audience leaping to its collective feet at the conclusion of a recent “Messiah” with quite such unbridled enthusiasm as we all found ourselves doing this evening, caught up in what suddenly felt like, from where I had been sitting, a near-tsunami of acclamation for the musicians and the music at the end of the performance’s final “Amen” chorus.  Certainly, our sensibilities had been “stoked”... read more

RNZAF Wind Quintet plus piano, in diverting programme closes Marjan van Waartenberg’s era at St Andrew’s

By , 09/12/2020
Not only was this the last in the 2020 St Andrew’s lunchtime concert series (not counting the church’s Christmas carol service next Wednesday, 16 December); but the last concert organised by Marjan van Waardenberg at St Andrew’s: a voluntary job she has done since 2005. The concerts have been transformed dramatically during the time she has led them, from short series of concerts through the year to an unbroken... read more

Compelling Beethoven recordings from Eugene Albulescu

By , 08/12/2020
It’s a measure of the remarkable staying power of Beethoven’s music that new performances and recordings of works that many of us know so well through having heard them countless times over the years simply keep coming (and show no signs of abating two hundred and fifty years after the composer’s birth).  Having recently heard a good deal of the New Zealand String Quartet’s acclaimed traversal of the great... read more

Orchestra Wellington: huge percussion resources exploited in Psathas masterpiece from Olympus complemented by huge Rachmaninov symphony

By , 05/12/2020
The large line-up of percussion instruments at the front of the orchestra would have given an inkling to the audience that they would be in for a challenging, interesting evening of music. Although the John Psathas' View from Olympus has had many performances, premiered by the Halle Orchestra in Manchester in 2002, it is still music off the beaten track for an audience of predominantly older concert goers. The... read more

“The Older the Better” – a triumph of age and experience at Circa Theatre

By , 03/12/2020
A footnote to the show’s title above the cast list in the programme reads: “The performers you may or may not see, tonight....”. When putting the show together around the talents of three ninety-plus performers, Dame Kate Harcourt, Coral Trimmer and Sunny Amey, the producer of “The Older, the Better” Kate JasonSmith found so many willing participants among what she called “a fabulous collection of Gold Card performers” that... read more

Gareth Farr’s “Chemin des Dames” Concerto and Elgar’s ‘Cello Concerto together a powerful “concerted” statement on disc

By , 02/12/2020
I tried, I REALLY DID try to NOT look at my previous review for “Middle C” of the concert featuring the Gareth Farr 'Cello concerto played by the same ‘cellist, Sébastien Hurtaud (also with the NZSO, though with a different conductor, Hamish McKeich) before writing this present review of the piece’s CD recording – of course, it was a different performance which needed to be “responded to” on its... read more

Splendiferous sounds captured on CD from Christchurch Town Hall’s rejuvenated Rieger organ courtesy of Martin Setchell

By , 29/11/2020
This recording, “Resounding Aftershocks”  broke an eight-year silence for the Christchurch Town Hall Rieger organ which followed the catastrophic 2011 earthquakes, and, as befitted the occasion, celebrated the instrument’s return to full prowess in heady fashion! Organist Martin Setchell’s long-established brilliance and elan as a performer is here demonstrated to the utmost thanks to the skills and expertise of the disc’s sound engineer Mike Clayton, capturing the occasion most... read more

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