Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

HK Gruber’s critique of classical music with the NZSO a hit with a younger, if smaller, audience

By , 10/10/2019

'Why serious?' the programme notes asks, presumably quoting HK Gruber. The music in this programme was meant to be fun. Gruber wanted to make music simple, approachable, and break down the demarcation between classical and popular music. Simplicity, however does not mean stupidity. Gruber's models were Kurt Weill and Hans Eisler, and their iconoclastic music of Berlin of the 1920s. So this evening's music was a long way... read more

Accomplished performances from Wellington Youth Orchestra with talented Asaki Watanabe in Bruch concerto

By , 06/10/2019
Being part of a symphony orchestra is a huge commitment for young people. It involves rehearsals every Monday evening during term time. It also requires a high degree of competence on an orchestral instrument. A full symphony orchestra needs 20-24 violins, and a corresponding number of violas, cellos and double basses as well as a full compliment of winds, brass and percussion. The Wellington Youth Orchestra mustered an almost... read more

Ken Young’s final outing with the NZSM Orchestra with a new composition and a concerto with a gifted violinist

By , 04/10/2019
This was a little more than a routine concert by the music school of Victoria University, featuring a couple of its post graduate students: one, composer Luka Venter and the other, violinist Nickolas Majić. At the end  of the concert it emerged, with a large cluster of flowers and speeches, that this was the last concert with the orchestra’s regular conductor, Kenneth Young; it marked his retirement from the position... read more

Impressive piano recital of Brahms, Gershwin and Chopin from talented NZSM post-graduate students

By , 03/10/2019
Here was a particularly rewarding recital from two of the graduate students of the university school of music’s Jian Liu. Tasman Richards First, the three intermezzi of Brahms’s Op 117. Most of the 20 piano pieces of the four opuses from Brahms last years are intermezzi: all three of Op 117 are. They were described by the famous critic, Eduard Hanslick as ‘monologues’... pieces of a ‘thoroughly personal and subjective character’... read more

Enthralling and disturbing – NZ Opera’s take on Britten’s “The Turn of the Screw”

By , 03/10/2019
  It’s difficult to think of another opera whose overall theme, story-line and characterisations are more interlaced by ambiguities as Britten’s The Turn of the Screw –  the story on which the opera is based, Henry James’ novella of the same name, carries its own versions of much the same kinds of imponderables, though the opera seems, if anything, to further complicate and intensify the issues. The story tells of... read more

Martinborough Music Festival – an overview of a delightful feast of chamber music

By , 29/09/2019
Martinborough is a charming, tastefully preserved and restored little country town 65 km from Wellington. Running a Music Festival there, featuring some of  New Zealand's finest musicians is an incredibly ambitious project. The festival, held this year over three days, 27-29 September, was their third. It featured Michael Houstoun, piano, Jenny Wollerman, soprano, Wilma Smith, violin and viola, Vesa-Matti Leppanen, Yuka Egochi, Amy Bookman and Alan Molina, violins, Christopher... read more

Piano fantasies, dreams and forebodings, from Tony Chen Lin at Wellington’s St.Andrew’s

By , 29/09/2019
Can it really be three years almost to the day that Tony Chen Lin was last playing for us in this same venue? - delighting and enthralling us on that occasion with a programme remarkable as much for its explorations of the music’s connecting threads and echoings as its contrasts and differences? Perhaps it was the unifying factor of having a similarly “only connect” spirit hovering about the music... read more

Martinborough Music Festival; Saturday evening of songs and Schubert String Quintet

(This review from Charlotte Wilson arose as a result of my being unable to attend the third and fourth concerts: Festival chairman Ed Allen told me that he’d mentioned the matter to Charlotte; she offered to help and I welcomed her readiness to fill the gap between my review of the Friday concert and Steven Sedley’s covering the two afternoon concerts: Middle C is delighted to publish her sparkling... read more

Enterprising first concert in Martinborough’s splendid little music festival

By , 27/09/2019
Here was a festival of chamber music made in heaven. I think that if you’d asked most chamber music regulars to create four programmes of the most beautiful music for a festival, they would have looked very much like what was programmed for Martinborough. I regretted missing the two earlier festivals, 2017 and 2018. Scarlatti The opening pieces of the first concert were perhaps unexpected in this context. Though Michael Houstoun... read more

Concerted and ensembled efforts from NZSM string players give pleasure at St.Andrew’s

By , 25/09/2019
What a heartwarming occasion this was, counteracting the bitter chill of the wind outside, making nonsense of what appeared to be a sunny day. Josef Haydn’s music was just the job to lighten the spirits, and we were lucky enough to get a kind of “made-up” concerto for violin and cello, freshly discovered (!)and performed forthwith for our pleasure by various students from the New Zealand School of Music! No... read more

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