Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Hutt Valley choirs combine for two Haydn masses and other items

By , 18/08/2013
It’s embarrassing to find you’ve arrived late because you’d recorded the wrong time in this very website’s Coming Events listings. Though I was a little comforted to find that the document I’d taken the information from, emanating from a choral organization, had it wrong. But it was still disappointing to have missed the first item on the programme, Haydn’s Little Organ Mass. The concert was arranged for the two smaller works to... read more

Worlds of experience and sensibility – the Antipodes String Trio

By , 18/08/2013
This was a concert that looked interesting enough on paper, but then really caught fire in performance. Its disparate parts came together simply and directly to produced the kind of combustion whose glow remained long after the last notes had been played. The Antipodes String Trio has changed its personnel over the last couple of years -  the 2011 line up which toured New Zealand included Christabel Lin (violin) and... read more

English sacred and secular song, choral and organ music at Saint Paul’s Cathedral

These are unconventional times; before the music could commence, Michael Stewart, Director of Music at the Cathedral, had to give the audience instruction on what to do in an earthquake, while reassuring us about the strength of the building.  The back page of the programme had printed details about such procedures. Following this, Stewart gave brief but informative and humorous spoken introductions to the items. Entry to the concert was by... read more

Viola partnerships at St.Andrew’s

This was an intriguing programme presented by three faculty members from the NZ School of Music plus Victoria Jaenecke, principal viola of  the Wellington Orchestra. It opened with a viola and guitar transcription of Schubert’s sonata which was originally scored for piano and arpeggione, a bowed, fretted 6-string instrument, rather like a bowed guitar. The version presented here sat very comfortably with the transformed instrumentation, despite the tonal balance... read more

Two masterpieces of the violin repertoire at Old St Paul’s

By , 13/08/2013
Wellington’s music scene is generously endowed with musicians young and old who are prepared to give their time and devote some effort to enriching the lives of those disposed to be enriched by good music, music that had stood the test of time (which I think is the best way of defining the meaning of ‘classical’). Though, as the education system no longer regards the furnishing of young minds and souls... read more

SMP Ensemble plays Contag for “The Crowd”

This film dates from 1928 and is in the timeless tradition of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. It was written and directed by King Vidor, and the score was commissioned by Creative NZ from young Wellington composer Johannes Contag. The 12-piece SMP Ensemble comprised a handful of strings, flute, clarinets (including bass), bassoon, percussion and piano, a selection which gave Contag a varied colour palette to work with, and... read more

Polished and admirable performances of trios for flute, cello and piano

By , 11/08/2013
A relatively unusual ensemble usually calls up music that is similarly off the beaten track, and this was no exception. The best known name was Haydn, though the piece would probably have been known almost only to flutists and those who happened to have a 2003 CD on the Concordance label by three Wellington musicians, Penelope Evison (6-keyed flute), Euan Murdoch (classical cello) and Douglas Mews (fortepiano). They recorded all... read more

Expansion of review of Il Corsaro, published by London’s Opera magazine

By , 10/08/2013
This is a review of the New Zealand School of Music's July production of Verdi's Il Corsaro. Its core is my review for Opera magazine in London; it was printed in the December issue, and was posted on this website in mid December.  I decided to publish here what I had written, since it was a good deal more than the magazine was able to print, and have placed it chronologically about a... read more

Mozart from the NZSO – magical music and music-making

This early evening concert was conducted by Andrew Grams, billed as “one of America’s most promising and talented young conductors [who] has already appeared with many of the great orchestras of the world”.  The band of 40 players was nicely sized for the works, and Grams amply demonstrated his talents as he drew from them a sparkling sound, wide dynamic range, and the clean crisp playing so vital to... read more

Brief but rewarding guitar recital at Wesley Church

Cameron and Jamie are graduate students in the NZSM Guitar Programme. They presented a short half-hour recital of solo guitar works, starting with Jamie playing a Poetic Miniature by the Hungarian  Johann Mertz, one of the leading virtuoso guitarists and composers of the mid-nineteenth century. It was indeed a poetic interpretation, with sensitive phrasing and appropriate rubato, underpinned by a sound technique. He followed with Giulio Regondi’s Introduction and... read more

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