Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Energy and commitment with Bach Choir’s Christmas Oratorio

By , 15/12/2013
Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, in six parts, might be one of a kind, though I have come across a reference to a tradition of five-part oratorios in Lübeck in the same period.  It is classified in the Bach catalogue as one of three ‘oratorios’: the others are one-part works for Ascension and Easter; both the Ascension and Christmas oratorios seem closer to the passions in their use of recitative from... read more

Festivities and farewells at the NZSO’s Messiah

By , 14/12/2013
A woman said to me as we were walking together out of the hall after Saturday evening's  "Messiah" performance by the Orpheus Choir and the NZSO players, "You know, I NEVER get tired of it!" And judging by the work's popularity and its ability to draw full houses year after year, it's a sentiment shared by a lot of concertgoers. Of course, there are a number of reasons for Messiah's... read more

Promising orchestral concert: excellent Ritchie, problematic Mozart

This interesting programme promised a great afternoon of listening, offering the contrast of the young and fresh with the time honoured and revered. For me, some of those hopes were more than fulfilled, others irretrievably dashed………………. The Hanging Bulb is a short descriptive work that explores through music the despair and obsession associated with the image of the hanging light bulb. But far from being a narcissistic descent into anguished... read more

Mozart’s “Goose of Cairo” nicely cooked and served at Days Bay Opera.

By , 08/12/2013
Now here's a diverting sidelight involving Mozart as an opera composer, one that will come as a complete surprise to some people, as it did to me. Thanks to the enterprise, vision, industry and sheer tenacity of conductor (and scholar and musicologist) Michael Vinten, light has been shed on some of the esteemed Wolfgang's lesser-known operatic workings, to whit at least two unfinished operatic projects and certain other fragments... read more

Puer natus est nobis – Christmas music for the ages from the Tudor Consort

By , 07/12/2013
The great liturgical feast-times throughout the year are simply wonderful for music and music-making, as there's plenty of added value in terms of "something in the air", as with the Tudor Consort's recent "Puer natus est nobis" (A Boy is born to us) concert at Wellington's Sacred Heart Basilica. Opening the concert with a beautifully-wrought example of Sarum Chant, the choir readily evoked both a stillness, and the steady, inexorable... read more

‘Great Music 2013’ on lute and organ: wonderful Messiaen

It is almost exactly two years since I reviewed Thomas Gaynor playing the same mighty Messiaen work, which dates from 1935,  in the same Cathedral series (though that was a lunchtime concert). About the same number of people were in the audience on both occasions: around 40. However, there was at least one major difference this time: the audience was seated in the gallery above the main door, at the... read more

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