Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Tudor Consort revives ancient Tenebrae rituals marking the stories of Holy Week

By , 19/04/2019
The number of people familiar with the word Tenebrae is probably getting fewer by the year as religious belief declines and the deep-rooted traditions, including the use of Latin, are ‘modernised’. It’s not just a Roman Catholic Easter observance but it is also in the Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran, Western Orthodox and other churches. And since the Roman church ditched the use of Latin in normal services, the spirit of... read more

Maria Mo: a fine recital by a promising artist at St Andrew’s

By , 17/04/2019

Mario Mo is a talented young pianist at the threshold of her career. She has won awards and scholarships, studied with Katherine Austin at the University of Waikato and then at the Vienna Conservatory and the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. She has had a thorough grounding. She played an ambitious programme.

Beethoven stretches the limits of the piano in the Waldstein Sonata and apart from a... read more

Wide-ranging and imaginative song recital at Waikanae: Mellaerts and Baillieu

By , 14/04/2019
The Waikanae Music society had taken this recital from Chamber Music New Zealand’s associate society series. It was about the last of a ten-concert tour around the country. It was a courageous step since, for many years – decades? – there has been a belief that audiences avoid song recitals; the same belief has been cultivated about piano recitals. There is not a huge amount of evidence for either display... read more

A dramatic and sharply-focused St.John Passion from Nota Bene and the Chiesa Ensemble at St Mary of the Angels

By , 14/04/2019

Of four Scriptural “Passion” settings associated in some way or another with Johann Sebastian Bach, two have been fully “authenticated”, the larger St.Matthew Passion, and the smaller, more intense and visceral St.John Passion – while two others, settings of the other evangelists’ accounts of Jesus’ death, are either spurious or recyclings of lost material. Bach undertook the St.John Passion during his first year as director of church... read more

Edo de Waart’s NZSO subscription concert full of charm and affection with Brahms, Elgar and Strauss

By , 13/04/2019
Two professional orchestral concerts on successive days looks more like the style of a significant European city, but here it was the chance to display one of the few remaining signs that Wellington is, or rather, used to be, the country’s cultural capital, a title that has really belonged to Auckland for the past 20 years or so. Orchestra Wellington celebrated the sesquicentenary (150 years) of Berlioz’s death by programming... read more

Berlioz, and his “Lelio”, given their dues and more by Orchestra Wellington

By , 12/04/2019
My first reaction to the news that Orchestra Wellington was planning to give the New Zealand premiere of Hector Berlioz’s  Lelio, or “A return to life” in its properly-ordered place as a sequel to the well-known Symphonie Fantastique was a delightful amalgam of excitement, admiration, incredulity and skepticism regarding the idea. I knew the work from recordings, and it had long seemed to me of the order of something... read more

Dazzling pianist, Alessio Bax, gives sole Wellington performance at Upper Hutt

By , 08/04/2019
Last Thursday, 4 April. RNZ Concert broadcast the usual Thursday concert from the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. It included Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony and Grieg’s Piano Concerto. A generation and more ago it was common to be dismissive of the Grieg concerto, but the classical music world has grown up a bit since then and sensible people with cultivated but unpretentious tastes rate it among the loveliest in the repertoire. I hadn’t... read more

The Children – redefining well-being as responsibility, at Circa Theatre

By , 07/04/2019
Enigmas abound in this award-winning 2016 play by British playwright Lucy Kirkwood, here presented by Wellington’s Circa Theatre, and brought to everyday life by art-that-conceals-art performances from the three actors, Catherine Downes, Carmel McGlone and Peter Hambleton, in tandem with similarly naturalistic, almost self-effacing direction from Susan Wilson – a worthy New Zealand premiere production. Firstly, the play’s title leads one to expect that the subject, theme, story, etc., will... read more

Soloists steal the show with Mozart’s K.364 at Wellington Chamber Orchestra’s inspiring concert

By , 07/04/2019
Being part of an orchestra of some 60 players is a wonderfully uplifting experience for an amateur or semi-professional musician. You get carried away with the flow of the music, you are part of a large team with a common purpose. You do your best, you put your heart and soul into the music. You don't set out to compete with the great symphony orchestras, you do it for... read more

Cantoris, with Thomas Nikora, brings life to Faure, and Rutter to life

By , 06/04/2019
Gabriel Faure’s Requiem, with its relatively intimate, and gentle, largely non-confrontational utterances receives frequent church performance by non-professional choirs in a version with organ accompaniment (there are various other versions extant of the work, two of which are scored with varying orchestral forces, details of which are too impossibly convoluted to even comment on). I’m mentioning this circumstance because I frequently go away from such performances feeling “short-changed” as... read more

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