Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

A particularly charming lunchtime concert at St Andrew’s

By , 30/11/2011
Not a lot of composers have written music specifically for the combination of flute, oboe and cello; however, any composers present at this concert might have been prompted to do so both on account of the intrinsic attractiveness of the sound blend, and the charming case these three players made for the four pieces they played. They began with a to-me-unknown serenade by Mozart: K 439b, listed as Serenade IV:... read more

‘Make sure your cellophonia are ON’: memorable injunction from the School of Music

What a treat!  Eight cellists from the New Zealand School of Music, NZ Trio, New Zealand String Quartet, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Vector Wellington Orchestra and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (their new principal, Eliah Sakakushev) formed the backbone of ‘Cellophonia’. They performed with 14 others joining later in the concert, from various other ensembles and none. It was a mystery as to why this concert was free.  Surely most people in... read more

The Bach Choir – Where would we be without Messiah?

By , 27/11/2011
Though associated by dint of its "Birth of Christ" references with Christmastime, Messiah has as many affinities with the other "big" Christian event of the Liturgical year, which is, of course, Easter. Conductor Stephen Rowley seemed to emphasize the latter connection at the very beginning of the work in the Bach Choir of Wellington's recent performance. In fact, it could have been that "High Priest of the German classics"... read more

NZSM Piano Trio give superb concert of major works

By , 24/11/2011
I was struck by the use of the word ‘irritability’ in Martin Riseley’s notes about Beethoven’s ‘Ghost’ Trio. I have no idea whether the word has been applied before by others, but it opened a different response for me; one that I found made me listen to it rather afresh. That might be an initial feeling in the opening phase of the first movement, but it’s quickly replaced by a... read more

Georgina Zellan-Smith – new light on the “Moonlight”

By , 22/11/2011
Auckland-based pianist Georgina Zellan-Smith is, sadly, an infrequent visitor to Wellington these days. She performed here last at a commemorative concert in 2008 which marked the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Richard Farrell, on which occasion she played an excerpt from Liszt's Italian Book of his "Years of Pilgrimage". On that evening she shared the piano with Maurice Till, Margaret Nielsen, Diedre Irons and Jun Bouterey-Ishido. So it... read more

Festival Singers’ Papa Haydn – a Man for All Seasons

By , 20/11/2011
Of all the works produced by that exemplar of creative industry and longevity Josef Haydn (1732-1809), his oratorio "The Seasons" is surely one of the happiest on all counts. In the work the composer gives full expression to his delight in nature, his obvious relish for country pastimes (blood-sports and all), and his serene religious faith. What strikes the listener at a first hearing is the work's ceaseless flow of... read more

Listening to ourselves: Voices New Zealand

By , 19/11/2011
The concert was brought into being by the sounds of a trumpet played by Horomona Horo, creating both a ceremonial and a haunting effect, and thus suggesting limitless possibilities. One of these, appropriately resembling a voice from long ago, was a Sequence composed by Hildegard of Bingen, the twelfth-century abbess, poet, composer and mystic. Growing beautifully from out of the expectant silence, the text O viridissimi Virga sung the... read more

Brilliant French programme with Anne Sophie von Otter and Wellington Orchestra at Town Hall

By , 18/11/2011
A full Town Hall auditorium and a stage crowded with a great orchestra of some 85 players, put me in mind of the Town Hall concerts that an NZSO of 30 years ago could sell out. An entirely French programme was the perfect response to the Wellington Orchestra’s encounter with the wonderful Swedish mezzo who has indeed cultivated a special gift in the language and music of France. As Marc Taddei... read more

Winning pieces from inaugural guitar composition competition played by Matthew Marshall

By , 17/11/2011
This recital was the public face of the first New Zealand Classical Guitar Composition Competition which has been organized by Matthew Marshall with collaboration from SOUNZ – The Centre for New Zealand Music – and the School of Creative and Performing Arts of Central Queensland University in Mackay where Matthew is Professor and Dean of the school. In its first year the competition attracted 20 entries from New Zealand composers... read more

Brilliant violin and piano recital from Blythe Press and Richard Mapp

By , 16/11/2011
Though it has become conventional not to perform individual movements of extended works of music, it often works quite well. This admirable recital did that very successfully, with the first movement – the Adagio – from Bach’s solo Violin Sonata No 1 in G minor, and again with the first two movements – Allegro and Adagio – from Brahms’s Third Violin Sonata. Only those quite familiar with the works... read more

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