Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Cook Strait Trio in full sail

By , 30/07/2009

The Cook Strait Trio is just the kind of chamber music group that one hopes and expects Chamber Music New Zealand will promote in its Associated Societies series. That is, the mainly New Zealand groups that it takes under its wing to tour to the score of smaller chamber music societies that flourish – or least survive – in the towns that do not sustain concerts in the... read more

John Chen at Upper Hutt’s Expressions

By , 27/07/2009
Malaysian-born naturalised New Zealander John Chen, now just twenty-three years old, first achieved international prominence by winning the Sydney International Piano Competition in 2004 at the age of eighteen, the youngest-ever winner of this competition. Since then his career has taken him to appearances with all the major Australasian orchestras, and to numerous chamber music and solo recital engagements, all to critical acclaim. He has recorded discs of French... read more

Christopher Herrick and Leipzig singers at Lutheran Church

By , 26/07/2009
Christopher Herrick is one of the world’s most distinguished organists. I spotted his name in an organ journal, listing his concerts on a New Zealand tour. There was one in Wellington and it was at the Lutheran Church of St Paul in Newtown. Where? I didn’t know it and I wondered what could induce a world-class organist to play at what I imagined to be a small suburban church read more

Wellington Orchestra On The Town

By , 25/07/2009
You could tell that it was going to be a night for the orchestra, whatever else happened, from the moment Marc Taddei gave the signal to begin Leonard Bernstein’s “On The Town” with the opening of the first of the work’s Three Dance Episodes, an Allegro pesante whose crackling pace set the pulses racing. The Wellington Orchestra players revelled in the music’s boisterous spirits, managing to inflect the dynamics... read more

Handel’s Semele from NZ School of Music

By , 23/07/2009

Back in 2001 the Victoria University School of Music staged Semele. It was not this opera however, now produced by the New Zealand School of Music, but the version by John Eccles, the composer for whom Congreve actually wrote the libretto. As the programme notes record, Eccles’s setting was never performed and was not heard till April 1972, at... read more

Contemporary Rites – Xenia Pestova and Pascal Meyer

By , 19/07/2009
Is ballet music programme music when performed without the ballet? If it is, then is it "about" the dance action onstage, or is it, instead, more "about" the story and images that inspired the ballet's  scenario in the first place? If so, then Stravinsky (famous for the dictum that music expresses only itself) may, paradoxically, have written one of the greatest tone poems of the twentieth century. These were some... read more

Sing-along Requiem

By , 18/07/2009
The Orpheus Choir has been staging a Singalong or Come’n’sing performance of a major choral masterpiece for as long as I’ve been writing reviews – over two decades. It’s always been popular, a wonderful way of meeting unfulfilled singing ambitions. If the audience was not as big as you’d expect for Verdi’s Requiem (its first performance in Wellington for eight years) , which fills theatres anywhere in the world, it... read more

NZSO: Melnikov with Brahms, Wigglesworth with Britten

By , 17/07/2009
Mark Wigglesworth’s is a name that has been conspicuous on the European scene for a couple of decades: a visit to New Zealand has been long awaited. Alexander Melnikov is younger (though he played with the NZSO in 2001) but his live performances and recordings have already gained him a prominent place among the pianists of our time. Brahms’s First Piano Concerto has the scale and substance of a symphony... read more

Aivale meets Leontyne ‘n Ella

By , 16/07/2009
Winning the Lexus Song Quest propelled Aivale Cole towards a career in England, and the money will help. But it takes a lot more and so this concert was a ‘benefit concert’ in all but name (see  Eight big opera arias in the first half (Leontyne Price), and ten (including an encore) jazz and Broadway items in the second (Ella Fitzgerald).  Aivale made her dramatic entrance with the two arias... read more

New Zealand Youth Choir: 30th anniversary concert

By , 12/07/2009

Only a few weeks after the 50th anniversary of the National Youth Orchestra comes the 30th anniversary of the New Zealand Youth Choir. It involved a large number of the choir’s alumni as well as the choirs two previous conductors, Guy Jansen and Peter Godfrey.

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