Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Strings and winds – New Zealand School of Music Lunchtime Concerts

By , 31/07/2012
It's always a pleasure to attend and write about concerts of music featuring student performers. Somehow, there's a unique dimension of expression involved, a kind of tremulousness which at different ends of the performance spectrum can either set things a-tingle with wholehearted enthusiasm or else undermine efforts with nervousness. There are, of course, plenty of nooks and crannies in-between these extremes, into which inexperienced performers can slot themselves - it's... read more

Jian Liu – pianist in full flight at the Ilott

By , 29/07/2012
At the interval, after pianist Jian Liu's blistering traversal of the Liszt Dante Sonata, I was approached by a piano-fancier friend, whose aspect was one of great excitement and agitation: transfixing me with an intense, fire-flashing gaze, he exclaimed, "I hope you're going to write up this recital as the greatest Wellington has heard for years!". Being in a somewhat euphoric state myself, after the Liszt, I nevertheless managed... read more

Bach Choir recovers its earlier renown with fine concert of Mendelssohn and Brahms

By , 28/07/2012
This concert had been originally scheduled for the evening, but was moved to 5pm when it was realised that it clashed with the Orpheus Choir’s major performance of Bernstein’s Candide in the Town Hall. The clash would probably have been more damaging to the Bach Choir than to its big cousin. As a result (I suppose), quite a large audience came to this concert. A good programme was available giving... read more

Leonard Bernstein’s CANDIDE – the best of all possible whirls?

By , 28/07/2012
Pity the poor music-theatre historian charged with the task of drawing together the different strands of creative impulse that have, at various times, produced successive versions of Leonard Bernstein's amazingly durable stage-work Candide. To read of the different productions and seemingly endless revisions, complete revampings included, is to be made to feel as though one's head has been spun in a kind of Voltairesque whirl. Forget the fraught operatic... read more

A fine piano trio at St Mark’s, Lower Hutt, for lunch

By , 25/07/2012
A common perception of a free lunchtime concert might be of amateurs of moderate skills and talents playing in a cold church. None of the aforesaid is remotely true, and in the present case, such a perception borders on the ridiculous, if not libellous. The church was reasonably warm and enjoys a congenial acoustic that is kind to musicians both amateur and professional. Its only flaw is in the church’s... read more

School of Music string ensemble brings lovely music to Upper Hutt

This was a good-looking ensemble, all players were smartly dressed in black, hair just so, and all standing to play (except for the cellos), and an attractive programme had been chosen.  The ensemble comprised four first violins, four second violins, three violas, three cellos and one double bass; 12 women and three men.  Some of the audience seats were close to the players; people sensibly steered clear of the... read more

Duo Tapas appetizing at Old St.Paul’s

By , 24/07/2012
Every now and then one hear something played at a concert which startles the sensibilities into momentary confusion. As when one turns on the radio and encounters something familiar mid-stream, the thought starts to drum away with the music: - "Now, just what is this?" The Paganini work, Centone di Sonata No.1 which opened this duo recital sounded at first like a transcription of the beginning of the Mahler Fifth Symphony... read more

Views of the NZSO’s epic “Valkyrie”

By , 22/07/2012
Antony Brewer - guest reviewer Wagner wrote works of enormous complexity. They make extraordinary demands on conductor, singers and players especially the music-dramas of Der Ring des Nibelungen. So performing Die Walküre in New Zealand is ambitious to say the least. We certainly have the orchestra and, somewhat to my surprise, the conductor Pietari Inkinen. We also have our own Simon O’Neill, a leading artist at Bayreuth, Covent Garden, La Scala and the... read more

Harp students of Caroline Mills in recital

An attractive concert was detracted from by the lack of a printed programme; the introduction by Carolyn Mills was eminently audible; not all her university student pupils emulated her in this respect, despite the use of a microphone. The opening work was quiet and impressionistic, consisting of melody and accompaniment.  There were some brilliant effects in these two movements, and a range of dynamics; it was skilfully played. The Serenade, by... read more

The Full Monte – music of love’s distraction, from Baroque Voices

By , 16/07/2012
The third instalment of Wellington vocal group Baroque Voices' stupendous traversal of "The Full Monte", or the complete Madrigals of Claudio Monteverdi, drew forth a vein of riches and delights similar in broad-brush stroke terms to the first two concerts. Artistic director Pepe Becker's idea of combining books of madrigals from different ends of the spectrum of the composer's output has made for startling contrasts in performance style and... read more

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