Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

A Good Time Not A Long Time – SMP Ensemble

By , 27/06/2010
The SMP Ensemble, a Wellington-based contemporary music performing group, has gradually become a welcome "presence" upon the local music-making scene. Formed by clarinettist Andrzej Nowicki, the group draws upon the skills of various freelance and New Zealand School of Music performers. Like its longer-established  "big brother" equivalent Stroma, it has a wondrous flexibility in terms of performance, both in playing existing music and in commissioning new works, being able... read more

Twentieth-Century fare from the Wellington Chamber Orchestra

A well-filled church enjoyed an adventurous programme from this amateur orchestra.  It would be unusual for an amateur orchestra to play an almost entirely twentieth century programme. The Shostakovich was a difficult and challenging work with which to open the concert.  It is not one of his longest compositions, and makes good use of the orchestra – there is plenty of exciting playing for the winds to do, and the... read more

Grant Tilly at the Southcoast Gallery, Cuba St.

By , 25/06/2010
Cuba Street in Wellington is developing its own special character when it comes to galleries.Amongst my favourites are Cameron Drawbridge's South Coast Gallery the Fibre Art “Minerva” Gallery and the” Thistle” with its enterprising youthful exhibitions. All are worth visiting, all bring something special to the Wellington Art Scene. Is Cuba Street doing what our Wellington Gallery should be doing ? Although very small,  the Southcoast Gallery hosts a delightful... read more

Witchcraft, Romance and Nostalgia from the NZSO

By , 25/06/2010
Each of conductor Alexander Lazarev's two recent concerts with the NZSO has featured repertoire which, although not obscure, doesn't often appear in our orchestral programmes. Both Glazunov's ballet The Seasons and Dvorak's spooky tone-poem The Noon-Day Witch are in what I would call the "somewhat neglected" category of orchestral works - I was therefore interested to read NZSO CEO Peter Walls' description in the programme's welcoming foreword of the... read more

Violin Dances – Kurt Nikkanen and Rosemary Barnes at Expressions

By , 22/06/2010
"Violin Dances" the concert was called, and "violin dances" was certainly the case throughout the evening -  and in the manner of true dancing, the violin was partnered by piano-playing whose music-making trod just as sprightly and gracefully a measure. Violinist Kurt Nikkanen and pianist Rosemary Barnes enlivened everything they played, bringing together melody, colour and rhythm in a winning amalgam of various dance music drawn from several well-known... read more

French Songs definitely allowed – Alliance Française Wellington

A new venture by the Alliance Française Wellington, but intended to be annual, this was a competition for singers in two categories of French song: modern songs in the syles of Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf and others, and classical mélodie by nineteenth or twentieth century composers.  A prize of $1000 and two terms’ tuition at the Alliance Française was offered to the winner of each category.  Certificates were awarded... read more

NZSQ and Richard Mapp – Wellington Chamber Music

By , 20/06/2010
The very opening of the Mozart quartet fooled me into thinking the NZSQ was for some reason playing the music in E-flat. I sadly fear that part of my confusion was due to my ever-declining ability to precisely recognise note-pitch; but in my defence I ought to state that the quartet's playing of the opening paragraph of Mozart's wonderful K.575 in (wait for it!) D Major was so warmly... read more

Josef Špaček – consummate violinist at Waikanae

A packed Memorial Hall greeted the winner of the Michael Hill violin competition 2009, Josef Špaček, for the first recital in his Winner’s Tour with Chamber Music New Zealand.  Though still a very young man and still studying (at Juilliard, with Itzhak Perlman), Josef Špaček already has a number of performance with leading orchestras and conductors in a dozen countries behind him, and appearances at music festivals.  He has... read more

Students’ lunchtime string-along at St. Andrew’s

Five string students, with the emphasis on the viola, performed a varied programme.  First up was Megan Ward, playing the Suite no. 1 in G for solo cello on viola.  Bach was well served by this performance.  Megan Ward, playing the seven movements from memory, produced a lovely rich tone, which seemed so well suited to the acoustics of the church. She had superb control, accurate intonation and brought out... read more

Bon voyage, Brigitte – a farewell recital

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By , 16/06/2010

Brigitte Heuser arrived on the platform looking elegant and beautiful.  She began her programme with Mahler’s Lieder eine fahrenden gesellen.  These lovely and varied songs were sung very well; the fourth, ‘Die zwei blauen Augen’ particularly, was given a heartfelt rendition.  There was not, perhaps, sufficient variety of tone in the other songs.  One certainly misses the variety and subtlety of the orchestra, but Catherine Norton accompanied superbly It... read more

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