Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Trio Boyarski (Ben Baker – violin) entertain with food, drink and strings

About 90-100 people attended the concert; the rather odd hour prompted the organisers to sell drinks, sandwiches, muffins and chocolate bars before the concert and during the interval – an excellent idea. While the printed programme gave plenty of information about the young performers (Ben is just 20),the works played were simply listed, with no programme notes, and not even the tempi markings of the movements.  Ben Baker gave spoken... read more

Close Encounter with Dvorak – Richard Gill and the NZSO break it down….

By , 20/08/2010
(Review also by Julia Wells) Australian conductor Richard Gill runs a series of educational-cum-entertainment programmes with the Sydney Symphony, called "Discovery", making classical music more approachable for people who perhaps haven't had musical backgrounds or previous exposure to what's commonly called  "classical" music. He recently brought this idea to Wellington, working with the NZSO over two evenings and concentrating on two of the most popular symphonies in the whole of... read more

Die Fledermaus – quintessential operetta

By , 19/08/2010
Mention the word "operetta" to most members of the theatre- and concert-going public, and probably one of two works will most readily come to mind, either Johann Strauss Jnr's "Die Fledermaus" (The Bat), or Franz Lehar's "Die Lustige Witwe" (The Merry Widow). None of the Savoy operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan can match their Viennese counterparts for charm, glamour and romance, and of the French equivalents, only Jacques Offenbach's... read more

Bowing and blowing – Orchestral Concert from NZSM Orchestra

By , 17/08/2010
A lovely concert - framed by two adorable works for string orchestra, with centres spliced by plenty of tangy wind-band textures. One of those tangy centres was a work I had not heard for some years, Britten's Soirées Musicales (orchestrations of Rossini's music), and never as a work for winds only, as here (the arrangement made by the composer). Another work, the Tchaikovsky Serenade, I had never actually heard... read more

Two choirs join to expose Salieri the choral composer

By , 15/08/2010
My colleague Rosemary Collier allowed herself to lament that so many choirs had scheduled their concerts in such a short span this month; and the overload continues. On Wednesday 11th there was a concert by the choir of Sacred Heart Cathedral, augmented by singers from Christine Argyle’s Nota Bene, who had joined forces with the Choir of Christchurch Boys’ High School, conducted by Don Whelan. They sang Widor’s Mass... read more

Resplendent Monteverdi at St Mary of the Angels

By , 14/08/2010
No work has inspired more disagreements among both scholars and musicians regarding both its history and performance practice than Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610. The British musicologist Denis Arnold once wrote about the work, "To perform it is to court disaster. To write about it is to alienate some of one's best friends". Happily for Wellington audiences, no such strictures seemed to hang over the head of Musica Sacra concert... read more

Birthday presents from Stroma in Wellington

By , 12/08/2010
Wellington-based contemporary music group Stroma couldn't have chosen a more engaging and demonstrably virtuosic ensemble piece than British composer Thomas Adės' work Living Toys, with which to commence the celebrations marking their tenth anniversary as a performing ensemble. As well as beginning the concert, the piece also gave the evening its truly apposite title, one which seemed to express something of the character of each of the works chosen... read more

NZSM student woodwinds at St Andrew’s


Woodwind in name only; there was no wood in evidence – there were silver flutes and brass saxophones. 

Naturally, there were varying... read more

Violin Sonata spectacular at Lower Hutt: Hall and Muir

By , 10/08/2010


The second to last in the concert series of Lower Hutt’s chamber music organization featured two young musicians, still in the midst of studies, now overseas. Yet their programme made no concessions to youth and imagined inexperience for both players have played together, sporadically, for at least... read more

Houstoun honours Chopin and Schumann magnificently at Paekakariki

By , 08/08/2010
This is exactly the kind of concert I expect to mark important anniversaries of two of the world’s great composers: an intelligent selection of some of the two composers’ most representative and enjoyable music. Naturally, a poll of the audience would throw up many other works that ‘should’ have been included. That would yield a programme lasting several days. Schumann’s Arabesque is popular and pretty well-known, but Kreisleriana is less so... read more

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