Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Wellington Chamber Orchestra with rewarding and interesting music from Britain and Armenia

It was tempting to describe this as a concert of unfamiliar twentieth-century music, however the symphony was composed and first performed in the 1880s. An enthusiastic audience filled the church to hear this interesting programme, that began with the rather elusive, indefinite opening of the Finzi work.  This had once been intended to be part of a symphony, but it never eventuated, and after many years, the work was completed... read more

A finely-wrought, light-on-its-feet “Messiah” from Nicholas McGegan with The Tudor Consort and the NZSO

By , 08/12/2018
Just for interest’s sakes I hearkened back to my “Middle C” review of an earlier Messiah here in Wellington conducted by Nicholas McGegan with the NZSO three years previously, one which I hailed as a focused and characterful performance throughout. There was plenty to wax enthusiastic about on that occasion – McGegan’s very “visceral “ way with some of the music’s more pictorial evocations, such as the frisson of excitement he... read more

An “Enchanted Evening” from The Virtuoso Strings with Jonathan Lemalu

By , 03/12/2018
It had all the makings of a large and vital extended-family affair, with the usual concert rituals and parameters given a relaxed and informal spontaneity that readily brought musicians and audience together. I liked the buzz of excitement in both the foyer and the auditorium, one growing out of a sense of being in a friendly crowd and anticipating the delights to come! This was “Some Enchanted Evening”, a presentation... read more

Creative, thrilling and heart-warming conclusion to Orchestra Wellington’s 2018 season

By , 01/12/2018
Well, it was quite a night for Orchestra Wellington! – in front of an enthusiastic and appreciative audience at the Michael Fowler Centre on Saturday evening the musicians put everything they had into making the final night of the orchestra’s 2018 concert season one to remember. We were presented with a line-up of pieces which, if perhaps not all sure-fire crowd-pleasers, perfectly expressed the desire of the orchestra’s organisers... read more

Beautiful, visceral, hypnotic, disconcerting – Stroma’s “essential experimental” at Wellington’s Pyramid Club

By , 29/11/2018
The venue really brought it all alive, in a way that I thought a more conventional concert-chamber-like place wouldn’t have done. In the most positive way we in the audience seemed to be “put at ease” by the “late-night club” surroundings at Taranaki Street’s Pyramid Club, and, rather than attending a concert, were instead made to feel we were “eavesdropping” on the ongoing creative processes constituting and shaping each... read more

Baroque music, rare and familiar, in a happy St Andrew’s concert

A larger-than-average audience came to hear this programme of a mixture  of familiar and unfamiliar baroque works. Sometimes musical (and other) works from the past are lost sight of because their worth is slight.  This seemed to me to be true of the Cervetto piece.  Extraordinary as it is to read of a a composer from 17th-18th centuries who lived to be at least 101 (c.1682-1783), his music didn’t live... read more

Rutter’s lovely Magnificat accompanied by carols of bells and the Orpheus Choir in sold out concert

By , 24/11/2018
Though conductor Brent Stewart entertained the audience with his introduction to the unconventional Carol of the Bells, he waited till its end before engaging in his lively promotion of the choir's next year’s programme, using the choir to sing striking excerpts from Mozart’s Requiem and Carmina Burana by Carl Orff. As well, he mentioned three concerts in which the choir will sing with both Orchestra Wellington and the New... read more

NZSO in splendid Beethoven: the first and the last, under Edo de Waart

Such is the popularity of Beethoven’s Choral Symphony (no.9) that the Michael Fowler Centre auditorium was sold out.  There were two empty seats next to me, but I did not see many others. The gentle prologue to  Beethoven’s first symphony (the symphony premiered in 1800) almost sounds like an ending, and reminds one immediately of Haydn, the great master of the symphony, who was still around for the first 40... read more

Baching at the Moon – ‘Cellist Raeul Pierard at St.Peter’s on-Willis, Wellington

By , 23/11/2018
Long and involved stories or series of tales have always attracted me – I’m a sucker for sagas, an enthusiast for epics, a connoisseur of chronicles. In music there’s nothing I like better to involve myself with than something that covers a wide span of time, incident and characterisation. I’m a completist who’s in seventh heaven when about to embark upon things like Bach’s “forty-eight”, Haydn’s “Salomon Symphonies”, Liszt’s... read more

Popular guitarists with delightful though unfamiliar music at St Andrew’s

By , 21/11/2018
Guitarists Jane Curry and Owen Moriarty are familiar figures at the St Andrew’s lunchtime concerts, and the sounds they make are particularly suited to the church’s acoustic. Furthermore, for anyone open to discoveries, more of the guitar repertoire than that of almost any other well-known instrument is unfamiliar. It’s not that only in recent years has it become a popular instrument in the classical music world; in fact, it... read more

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