Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Third volume of Richard Farrell piano recordings a fascinating collection of till-now unreleased treasures

By , 16/12/2019
The third volume of recordings of piano performances by Richard Farrell (1926 – 1958) has appeared, nine years after the first volume. Apart from a couple of small pieces, none have been commercially released though Peter Mechen (who was the assistant producer and undertook research) reminds me that the Tchaikovsky concerto was played by the then Concert Programme in the 1980s and the Liszt recital was broadcast as part... read more

Large audience for a delightful concert by Camerata chamber orchestra

By , 16/12/2019
Camerata’s vision is to ‘perform high quality joyful chamber music accessible alike to newcomers and classical aficionados’. The small chamber orchestra includes members of Wellington’s professional orchestras as well as students and graduates of the NZ School of Music. It is a very accomplished ensemble. Corelli: Christmas Concerto Anne Loeser and Ursula Evans violins, Robert Ibell, cello This is probably Corelli’s most popular work, often featured in anthologies of Christmas music. It is now... read more

Wellington Chamber Orchestra succeeds with Šinkovec Burstin in Grieg piano concerto, and other Nordic classics

By , 08/12/2019
In my review of Jian Liu’s performance two years ago of Grieg’s Piano Concerto I remarked that I was mystified that it continued to be considered a popular, even hackneyed work when, for many years, it’s been so little performed. That lovely performance with Jian Liu may have prompted the Wellington Chamber Orchestra to take a look at it. If so they served themselves and Edvard Grieg very well Helios  Nielsen’s... read more

Lightning, thunder and Orpheus Choir’s and the NZSO’s “Messiah” – never a dull moment!

By , 07/12/2019
There would probably have been a number of people at this “Messiah” performance, both performers and audience members, who had shared something of my own experience a couple of hours before the concert’s starting-time, of the onslaught of an unexpectedly vicious single lightning strike during a storm over the Mt.Victoria area of the city, one whose particular impact on the house I was inside could have been likened to... read more

Haydn, Brahms and Brigid Bisley in superb recital from Diedre Irons and the Aroha Quartet

By , 01/12/2019
Haydn’s The Bird The last 2019 concert from the Aroha Quartet opened with Haydn’s quartet, The Bird, creating sounds that were quite stunning: not in the normal sense of fortissimo, exciting or cacophonous, but with sounds that were hardly of a string quartet at all. They were of such refinement and purity that they really did evoke the subtlest of bird calls that were pure and secretive, unearthly. The marking... read more

Enthusiastic reception by big audience for Orchestra Wellington’s final 2019 concert of remarkable but unfamiliar music

By , 30/11/2019
This was the last of this year's subscription concerts by Orchestra Wellington. The Michael Fowler Centre was filled almost to capacity, despite the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra playing another concert at the same time in Shed 6. Orchestra Wellington played a difficult programme, made no concession to popular taste, yet it had the largest audience of any orchestra in New Zealand. There is something remarkable about this. I believe... read more

“Cello for Africa” at Porirua City a spectacular and moving multi-cultural collaborative event

By , 24/11/2019
“Cello for Africa” was, in the words of co-organisers Heleen du Plessis and Donald Maurice, an event designed “to bring people from different cultures together using music, and specifically, ‘cellos, to help create a platform for cultural interaction and human connection in support of causes in Africa”. The concert’s specific target was to raise funds for a school established in Nairobi five years ago, the Tamariki Education Centre, by... read more

Gustav Mahler’s heartfelt expression of existentialist optimism given resplendent treatment by the NZSO and departing Music Director Edo de Waart

By , 22/11/2019
“It opens as if on the brink of an abyss, and ends with an exhilarating rebirth”. With these words Edo de Waart, the conductor of this performance of Gustav Mahler’s monumental “Resurrection” Symphony, summed up in a programme foreword his reasoning for making the work his final assignment as the NZSO’s Music Director. According to the archive of that redoubtable critical periodical, “Middle C”, this was his seventh separate... read more

Diverting St Andrew’s lunchtime concert of Baroque wind music

By , 20/11/2019
If your local pub quiz threw a question at you: “Can you name a period when more great composers were born than any other?” The period 1835 – 1845 would be a good guess, or 1855 – 1865. But I’d lay the money on 1678 to 1688. Vivaldi, Rameau, JS Bach, Domenico Scarlatti, Zelenka, Weiss, Telemann, Handel, Porpora, Geminiani, just for starters; and that excludes two of the composers... read more

Wonderland in Wellington at Circa Theatre

By , 19/11/2019
This show was, I thought, an absolute knockout on the performance strength of the songs and their associated choreography alone!  Michael Nicholas Williams’ skilled arrangements of no less than thirteen (mostly?) home-grown classics, along with Leigh Evans’ splendid choreography lent musical magic to a scenario whose script I thought suitably action-packed enough, if not with quite the consistent raciness and fluency of other Circa pantos I’ve seen. Still, a... read more

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