Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Michael Stewart at TGIF, Wellington Cathedral of St Paul, celebrates Tournemire’s L’Orgue mystique

By , 25/09/2020
Charles Tournemire is probably one of the less familiar organ composers and performers in France. Though he certainly rates, in terms of his fame as both composer and performer, with some of them: Franck, Guilmant, Saint-Saëns, Widor, Gabriel Pierné, Vierne, Dupré... But bearing composition in mind, Tournemire must be regarded as more interesting and significant than half of those. There is a singular divergence between this group of French organists... read more

“….And we shall be changed” – the New Zealand String Quartet’s completion of its 2020 Beethoven journey

By , 25/09/2020
The listings in both the printed programme and the advance publicity suggested that we would get to hear BOTH of the “finales” of Beethoven’s String Quartet Op.130  at the culminating concert of the New Zealand String Quartet’s series presenting all of the composer’s String Quartets. TWO finales? Well, after the first performance of Op.130 in 1826, the general critical reaction regarding the original “Grosse Fugue” finale was one of... read more

New Zealand String Quartet triumphantly reaches the heights of Beethoven’s Late Quartets

By , 23/09/2020
Violist Gillian Ansell opened the concert with cheerful and interesting remarks about the significance of Beethoven’s last quartets, written well after the last piano sonatas, the Missa Solemnis, the Choral Symphony, and the Diabelli Variations. Quartet in F, Opus 135 This concert included the last that he wrote, Op 135, and the second, written for his patron Prince Galitzin, Op 132 which contains the remarkable Heiliger Dankgesang. In between was the... read more

Wellington Chamber Orchestra justifies attention to neglected Schumann symphonies, among some less triumphant performances

By , 20/09/2020
This was the first concert by the Wellington Chamber Orchestra that Middle C has attended this year. And I think this was the first time that Luka Venter has been the conductor. He studied at the New Zealand School of Music at Victoria University, in singing, composition and conducting. Since then he has had grants from the opera foundation and other trusts, has studied in Florence, London and Berlin... read more

Nota Bene Choir – an amalgam of mystery and illumination at St. Mary of the Angels

By , 20/09/2020
Surely the Church of St.Mary of the Angels in Wellington’s Boulcott St. is one of the city’s most spectacularly beautiful places in which one can make music, in addition to its acoustics being particularly suited to certain kinds of music for the human voice. In terms of sheer amplitude of sound the venue is surpassed by Wellington’s Cathedral of St.Paul, but in some music it’s at the expense of... read more

Voices of Women – A New Zealand sufferage celebration by Janet Jennings

By , 19/09/2020
Inspired by the 125th anniversary of the 1893 Electoral Act in New Zealand which gave women the right to vote in New Zealand, the first self-governing country in the world to enact such legislation, this CD collection of works by Janet Jennings was first performed as a single concert in Hamilton, at the Dr. John Gallagher Concert Chamber, University of Waikato, presumably by the same performers. The opening work, Magnificat... read more

Beethoven’s creative “quartet-journey” superbly delineated by the NZSQ at St.John’s in the City, Wellington

By , 19/09/2020
Continuing its “tour” of Wellington venues by way of bringing to us all of Beethoven’s String Quartets during his 250th anniversary year, the New Zealand String Quartet gave the latest instalment of its traversal in the austerely beautiful Willis St. Church of St.John’s in the City. Something about the venue suited the music on this occasion even more than usual, to my mind, the refinement and directness of certain... read more

Wellington entrants shape up for the National Junior Piano Competition Finals

By , 17/09/2020
New Zealand School of Music Head of Piano Studies in Wellington Dr. Jian Liu organised this recital for the above three Wellington pianists, all of whom are finalists in next month’s 2020 NZ Junior Piano Competition in Auckland, as a means of giving them a little extra “fine-tuning” concert performance experience. All three replicated a 20-minute recital programme of their own choice, including examples from at least three musical... read more

Seven voice students from Victoria’s school of music present varied and well delivered recital

By , 16/09/2020
Here was one of the frequent recitals by Victoria University’s school of music’s students – this time voice students: two second years, the rest third years. Rather than plod through the two songs each by the seven singers, it might be interesting to regard it as a concert that drew music of various kinds, chronologically, from 300 years of European music. I’ll start with the earliest: From Bach’s Cantata no 68... read more

New Zealand String Quartet’s second Beethoven 250th Anniversary concert

By , 13/09/2020
Though it doesn’t seem to me all that long ago that the NZSQ (well, THREE of the members of the present quartet!) were previously “wowing” us with their brilliant, uniquely engaging interpretations of Beethoven’s most significant and searching set of works, I suddenly felt, amidst the frisson of excitement and intoxication which rippled through the audience at Seatoun’s St.Christopher’s Church during Sunday’s concert, as if we had all actually... read more

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