Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Firstly sparks, and then a conflagration – pianist Otis Prescott-Mason in recital

By , 20/11/2021
Having heard, and spoken or written about so many piano recitals and recordings over the years in a critical capacity, I’m finding myself these days increasingly gravitating towards performances that bring to the fore a sense of sheer enjoyment of and involvement in the music’s playing. On the strength of what I heard at St.Andrews’ Church last Saturday afternoon, the young Wellington pianist Otis Prescott-Mason seemed to me to... read more

Ludwig is My Darling

By , 18/11/2021
These well-known singers, old friends and opera collagues, are accustomed to presenting a lunchtime concert at this time of year, and the programme was an interesting mix of songs that reflected their tastes and interests. Unfortunately, such was the lack of parking on The Terrace, I missed the lighter items that opened the concert, ‘Dashing away with the smoothing iron’, and ‘The Boatie Rows’ from The Book of Scottish Song... read more

Duo pianists charm and delight lunchtime concertgoers at St.Andrew’s-on-The-Terrace

By , 17/11/2021
A delightful programme! I thought I’d not heard the Mendelssohn Andante and Allegro Brilliante before, but, upon checking the “Middle C” website discovered to my bemusement that I had seen and heard  pianist Sunny Cheng play this and the Schubert Rondo in A Major already, on that occasion with fellow-pianist Kris Zuelicke at Victoria University’s Adam Concert Room over a year ago!  While enjoying the concert as a whole... read more

Circa’s “The Little Mermaid” pantomime awash with enjoyment and conjecture

By , 17/11/2021
My first thought upon hearing about the projected scenario for this year’s Circa Pantomime was surprise that a story with grim and murderous elements (Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Little Mermaid”) had been chosen – not having seen or even registered the Disney film adaptation of the story I wasn’t aware that the inevitable process of sanitisation of this story had already begun, as had previously happened to countless other... read more

What I would take through death’s dark door

By , 15/11/2021
This concert, like its predecessor on Friday 12 November, was delayed by the Covid-19 Level 4/3 restrictions in August and September, and was also displaced from the Hunter Council Chamber to St Peter’s Church. The change of venue was positive. Although the NZSQ has never performed in the church before, it is an excellent venue for chamber music, with its warm and rather dry acoustic contributing to a clear... read more

From the Bush to the Ballroom: the NZSQ Plays Music from Aotearoa and Central Europe

This concert was billed as a “Premium Concert Experience,” the kind of language that sets the teeth of a crusty old pedant like me somewhat on edge. It refers in this instance to a format involving tables instead of serried rows of chairs, with drinks and canapés served at the interval, a concept that also struck me initially as rather naff.  However, I ended up enjoying it... read more

Against the Grain

By , 06/11/2021
The occasion for this concert was the quincentenary of the death of Josquin des Prez and his near contemporary, Robert Fayrfax. The original date for the performance was August 2021, exactly 500 years after Josquin’s death, but the pandemic intervened, and the concert had to be postponed twice. Josquin himself would probably not have been much bothered by the delay. When plague broke out in Ferrara, in the summer... read more

Dramatic and innovative Haydn in the Church from Camerata with soprano Carleen Ebbs

By , 05/11/2021
At the end of a busy and distracted Friday I found myself headed for St.Peter’s-on-Willis-St Church for Camerata’s latest “Haydn in the Church” concert series, which I’d been looking forward to ever since attending and enjoying the last one, though on this occasion I’d not been as assiduous in my preparation for the evening’s music as per usual – I had seen the programme on-line a couple of days... read more

Transcending the Great Schism: Divine Orthodox Music at the Anglican Cathedral – from the Tudor Consort

What? A review of a concert that happened all the way back in July?? Appearing on Middle C in November???

Yes, the bad news is that your faithful reviewer overcommitted herself and failed to review this concert in a timely fashion.  The good news is that this luminous programme by the Tudor Concert is almost as fresh in my memory now as it was in late July, where it... read more

SILVER STONE WOOD BONE a miracle of evocation from Rattle Records

By , 29/10/2021
I have written less of a review and more of an account of a listening journey, here, which seems, now that I have returned to where I began my listening, a pity to disturb or subject to more conventional reviewing strictures. I hope readers might enjoy this slightly different approach, marked by many moments on my part of wide-eared wonderment at such “age-old newness” as is conjured up by... read more

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