Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

The Capital Band in Brooklyn – Pärt, Janáček and Bartók a great workout for the Vogelmorn Hall

By , 13/04/2021
This was the first of four concerts scheduled by The Capital Band for 2021, a fascinating programme of music which engaged throughout for different reasons – the works played were straightforwardly presented in their “original” forms, or (in the case of Arvo Pärt’s Summa) an alternative form crafted by the composer. The remaining concerts in the 2021 series will each contain a chamber work “rearranged” for The Capital Band’s... read more

Music of magical flight – Palmer, Mozart and Stravinsky from the NZSO

By , 08/04/2021
Throughout the first half of Canadian-based New Zealand-born composer Juliet Palmer’s work Buzzard, I was enraptured,  totally enthralled by Palmer’s self-proclaimed “digestion” of Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird. I was bowled over as much by the former’s mastery of orchestral techniques we all readily ascribe to the latter’s music, the brilliance of the orchestrations, the motoric rhythms, and, by turns, the fluency and the angularity of the changing time-signatures, as by... read more

“Gloria” from Nota Bene and The Queen’s Closet gladdens hearts and minds at St Mary of the Angels

By , 28/03/2021
As it has happened the three concerts I have reviewed so far this year have taken place in various splendid Wellington churches, each contributing to the atmosphere, ambience and impact of the music and its making, spectacularly so in the case of the third occasion at St Mary of the Angels Church in Boulcott St., where a programme entitled “Gloria” was given by the Nota Bene Choir with the... read more

NZSO launches into 2021 determined, with a splendid, dynamic programme to evade Covid 19

By , 26/03/2021
The first of the NZSO’s main concert series, which is entitled the “Podium Series”, proved a conspicuous triumph. Though it might have seemed difficult to account for the name “Carnival” which was given to this particular concert, it was vividly illuminated in Feby Idrus’s colourful and well-informed programme notes, indirectly with La Valse, but quite specifically with Petrushka, where the word relates directly to Stravinsky’s setting of the first... read more

Camerata – continuing the joy of new discovery with Haydn at St.Peter’s-on-Willis.St Church

By , 20/02/2021
I do have recordings of Haydn’s early symphonies (part of the first-ever “complete” recorded cycle of the works made back, it now seems, when Adam was a boy, by Antal Dorati and the Philharmonia Hungarica), but prior to attending each of Camerata’s concerts featuring these works I didn’t make a point of listening to them. This was because I wanted to experience as far as possible that “thrill of... read more

Vibrant Concerti Grossi old and new light up a refurbished Old St.Paul’s in Thorndon

By , 16/02/2021
I was thrilled beyond words when told that this concert would take place in the breathtakingly beautiful Old St/ Paul’s Church in Thorndon, a building which extensive earthquake-strengthening renovations had closed to the public for so long! So for me it was like greeting an old friend when walking through the church’s entranceway for the New Baroque Generation’s Wellington concert, one which concluded the ensemble’s enterprising “11 concerts in... read more

Sleep-walking as Rhona Fraser’s Days Bay Opera returns with a delightful Bellini masterpiece

By , 12/02/2021
In common with most of the world, Bellini is no longer a famous composer in New Zealand; his operas are now rarely performed. Of Bellini’s operas only Norma gets much attention. I’m only aware of Canterbury Opera’s production of it in 2002, since its last professional production by a touring company in 1928. However, in 2016 Rhona Fraser’s Opera in a Days Bay Garden was responsible for a somewhat rarer... read more

A new film commemorates the 1941 Babiy Yar Massacre of Ukraine Jews by the Nazis

By , 11/02/2021
A 2008 concert in Wellington given by the then Vector Wellington Orchestra conducted by Marc Taddei featured the very first performance in New Zealand of Russian-born Israeli composer Boris Pigovat’s “Requiem”, with violist Donald Maurice as the soloist.  This work, completed in 1995, commemorated the horrific massacre by the Nazis of thousands of Jewish citizens of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv during 1941. Pigovat’s grandparents and an aunt were among... read more

The third group, the Glorious Mysteries, from Biber’s Rosary Sonatas from Loeser, Young and Mews

By , 05/02/2021
Middle C missed the first two parts of Biber’s famous Rosary Sonatas late last year. These are instrumental compositions inspired by the sense of each of the fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary.  So it was rewarding to hear the third group of ‘sonatas’, which comprises sonatas 11 to 15, plus the famous, stand-alone Passacaglia; and to be told that it was hoped to perform the entire series again later... read more

Burt Bacharach – a tribute from Ali Harper at Circa Theatre

By , 23/01/2021
I can’t think of another performer I know whose presentations give me more pleasure than do those of Ali Harper’s, for her unbeatable combinations of artistry, energy and sheer charisma! And here, at Circa Theatre once again, we were treated to all of those qualities put at the service of the music of one of the most iconic songwriters of recent times, Burt Bacharach. His is a name which... read more

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