Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Tudor Consort revives Schütz’s St Matthew Passion

An appropriate pre-Easter work, this St Matthew Passion was presented in a slightly unusual way.   The choir performed from the rear of the sanctuary, while the audience was mainly seated in the choir stalls and on chairs placed in the sanctuary between the choir stalls.   There were a few people seated in the nave.  The performance took place in near darkness, with just enough light for the choir to... read more

Resplendent Mozart Requiem from the Bach Choir

By , 31/03/2012
Wiser, more experienced concert-going heads than mine would have been better-prepared for the likelihood that the Bach Choir's Mozart Requiem performance would use an organ rather than the orchestra the composer specified. Having grasped this state of things upon entering the beautiful Church of St.Peter's on Willis St. in Wellington, I simply had to deal with my own withdrawal symptoms at cardinal points (alas, no trumpets and drums at... read more

NZSO Soloists and a kaleidoscopic “Carmen”

By , 24/03/2012
Strings and percussion put side-by-side make an intriguing ensemble combination - perhaps they're not natural musical bedfellows to the extent that are winds and percussion or brass and percussion. But their coming-together makes, I think, for unique results, such as their capacity for generating enormous contrasts of timbre and colour. This was evident throughout the NZSO Soloists' "Carmen Suite" concert, given that the music presented during the first half... read more

Monumental recital, a gift from the Puertas String Quartet

By , 23/03/2012
Because the concert by this quartet at Waikanae had been reviewed a few weeks earlier by my colleague Rosemary Collier, I had wondered whether I needed to offer a fresh view. On reflection however, the fact that at this concert one piece in the programme had changed made it seem a good idea to write about them again. The Haydn string quartet at Waikanae was replaced here by Mozart’s Adagio... read more

Albeniz’s Iberia – a musical traveller’s delight

By , 23/03/2012
Surely the next best thing to actually GOING to Spain would be to listen and give oneself up entirely to either (or preferably both) of those two masterpiece collections for solo piano, Isaac Albéniz's Iberia and Enrique Granados's Goyescas. Fortunately, there are a number of fine recordings available of each of the cycles, although live performances of them are rare happenings indeed. It was, therefore, an occasion worth celebrating and... read more

Soprano, clarinet and piano in lovely Lieder recital

This was a wonderful opportunity – there are so few lieder recitals these days.  Yes, we hear students from the New Zealand School of Music from time to time, but they don’t sing entire song cycles or extended works such as the Schubert one we heard in this concert. Schumann wrote two song cycles entitled ‘Liederkreis’ (which simply means song cycle); this second one sets poems by Eichendorff. Rhona Fraser does... read more

Michael Endres launches Paekakariki’s 2012 Mulled Wine concerts with brilliant Romantic music

By , 18/03/2012
Last Sunday, at one of the world’s very few concert halls that stand only 50 metres from a sparkling surf beach, the year’s series of high class musical concerts was launched. Paekakariki’s celebrated Mulled Wine Concerts, bravely and skilfully promoted by Mary Gow, started with a piano recital by Michael Endres, currently professor of piano at Canterbury University; sadly, he is returning to Germany soon. A special piano was obtained for... read more

Tafelmusik – festive Baroque splendour from Canada

By , 16/03/2012
It was all a bit too much at first - I confess I found the mega-hype of the Festival booklet's blurb for "The Galileo Project" concert distinctly off-putting, creating an impression in my mind of an experience involving as many extra-musical "distractions" as one could possibly throw at an audience. We were promised "Dazzling images…a fusion of science and culture…beautiful classical music and poetic narration…" (and much more along... read more

Great enthusiasm at Jenny McLeod’s “Hōhepa” premiere

By , 15/03/2012
I'm not sure whether I ought to admit to readers of this review that, earlier in the same day that I attended the opening of Jenny McLeod's "Hōhepa" I took up a friend's invitation to accompany him to a screening of the latest New York Metropolitean Opera production of "Götterdämmerung". Perhaps my abrupt juxapositioning of the two experiences was foolhardy, considering the chalk-and-cheese aspect of the works involved. But I... read more

Classy performances of excellent programme of string quartets at Waikanae

Having heard the Puertas Quartet play before, I was anticipating a good concert, and was not disappointed.  I hope word will quickly get around Waikanae about the quality of this ensemble; there were not as many present as is sometimes the case. The Haydn work began with a fine, bright sound, and great clarity.  The Capriccio second movement of the work is particularly strong; after a sombre opening, it continues... read more

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