Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Wonderful recital of French Christmas music from organist Dianne Halliday

Dianne Halliday gave her audience a wonderful conspectus of French organ music for Christmas, mainly. but not exclusively, from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  It was a pity that the composers’ dates were not in the printed programme.  However, I was able to find all except one, in a variety of sources, but chiefly Wikipedia. The opening piece was ‘Chant du Roi René’ from Les Livres de Noëls by Alexandre... read more

A great Messiah from the NZSO and Orpheus Choir

By , 15/12/2012
There was a very near full house at the Michael Fowler Centre for this, now rather rare occasion. In earlier years the NZSO and the Orpheus Choir joined for the annual December performances every year or so, but for a while the tradition was broken. For many years it became common for the Orpheus Choir to take turns with other Wellington choirs to sing the oratorio. This resumed relationship might... read more

Penultimate lunchtime concert at St Andrew’s: delightful cello and piano programme

The pieces by Schumann that opened this programme are quite well-known.    A beautiful singing tone from the cello received sensitive accompaniment on the piano, with subtle variation of tone and touch.  The playing was of an appropriately romantic character on both instruments, full of expression and beautifully articulated, every note having a chance to speak.  The renditions followed the titles of the pieces, which in English are ‘Tender with... read more

Start of a diverting Cello(phonia) tradition at the New Zealand School of Music

By , 09/12/2012
Last year’s festival for cellists at the New Zealand School of Music was a very popular occasion, and it encouraged Inbal Megiddo, cello lecturer at the school,  and other leading cellists, to stage a repeat. It involves cello tuition, masterclasses and ensemble performance and a cello scholarship, consisting of $1000 plus the use of a Thomas Kennedy cello (c. 1813) for a year. Professor Shmuel Magan of the Jerusalem Academy... read more

A world in a grain of sand – Pepe Becker and Stephen Pickett at Futuna

By , 09/12/2012
All that was needed for perfection to be had in this concert was a more substantial audience – but for one reason or another, people stayed away. Perhaps it was the weather – when Wellington turns on a beautiful day, it’s a place to be out and about like no other, and the prospect of an indoor concert, however felicitous, becomes proportionally less inviting. Still, it was an event... read more

Turning over a Blue Leaf – Adam Page and Stroma

By , 09/12/2012
This concert put me in mind of a review I once read of a performance given by the great 19th Century pianist/composer Anton Rubinstein, while on tour in the United States, the writer turning to a kind of “vernacular” in order to be able to express the wildness of exhilaration that had seized him when confronted with such music-making – “….the house trembled, the lights danced, the walls shuck, the... read more

Freddy Kempf’s Gershwin with the NZSO – poet-pianist with a brilliant orchestra

By , 07/12/2012
A splendid program, expertly delivered, with the qualification that, to my mind pianist Freddy Kempf's playing was notable more for poetry and introspection than glint and incisiveness, particularly in the "Rhapsody in Blue". There were places where I wanted the piano to assert itself to a greater, somewhat brasher extent, particularly as the orchestra, under the energetic direction of Australian conductor Matthew Coorey, was "playing-out" in the best American... read more

Talented piano duettists combine wit and virtuosity for St Andrew’s audience

By , 05/12/2012
These two pianists, born in Taiwan, gained their master’s degrees at Victoria University, and have studied elsewhere. They have returned to Wellington with a host of awards and prizes in their brief-cases.  They have both become highly polished players who have recently joined forces to play piano duets, and duos, no doubt, which they do with a unanimity of feeling and technical mastery that is not usually acquired in... read more

Rutter’s Magnificat given impressive treatment by Wellington’s Capital Choir

By , 02/12/2012
This concert was in part a fund-raiser by an unauditioned choir, to mark Christmas and the end of the year. It was brave to have tackled a fairly sophisticated contemporary work, though not written in an avant-garde style which an amateur choir would have difficulty making musical sense of. Nevertheless, there were challenges in Rutter's rhythms and harmony, in control of dynamics and other interpretive aspects that would have... read more

Worlds Old and New, from the Wellington Chamber Orchestra

By , 02/12/2012
There’s nothing quite like an encounter (preferably “live”) with an unfamiliar piece of music that rocks one’s socks off! This happened for me right at the beginning of this Wellington Chamber Orchestra concert, with Larry Pruden’s Westland: A Back-Country Overture, a work I’d not heard before. True, the rather cramped St.Andrew’s venue heightened the music’s (and the playing’s!) raw impact, not altogether helpfully; but there was no denying the... read more

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