Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Programme ‘by popular request’ calls for wide-ranging period and stylistic variety from The Tudor Consort

By , 30/05/2014
It seemed a good idea: invite their subscribers/audiences to suggest music to be sung at the next concert, which should ensure a good audience, comprising those who’d submitted ideas and lots of others, who would be curious about the result of the game. But it was a cold night, though fine and clear, and maybe there was something unmissable on television, and since I’d arrived about 7.15pm I waited for... read more

Trio launches Hutt Valley’s Chamber Music season with élan

By , 26/05/2014
That singular personality, Sir Thomas Beecham, renowned for his witticisms and droll observations, once remarked that music's greatest gift to the world was "to free the human mind from the tyranny of conscious thought". I couldn't help thinking how profoundly this process was demonstrated by the first few bars of Beethoven's beautiful E-flat Piano Trio, with which Vesa-Matti Leppänen, Andrew Joyce and Diedre Irons began their Lower Hutt concert... read more

Orchestra Wellington confirms its stature in large scale late Romantic as well as Haydn, and honours Franz Paul Decker

By , 24/05/2014
Orchestra Wellington’s concerts in the second half of last year, banished from the Town Hall, took place in the Opera House. I missed both of those. The move to the Anglican cathedral might have been partly in the nature of an experiment, now that Wellington seems to be faced with the depressing news that strengthening of the Town Hall seems to have become more expensive and the city council... read more

Innovative and balanced programme from Aroha Quartet at Waikanae

What immediately struck me was not that Mozart should have written such a quartet at the age of 14, remarkable as that is, but rather the beauty of the playing by the Aroha Quartet.  Their tone, subtle gradation of dynamics, their blend and balance were utterly disarming.  Unafraid of playing real pianissimos, these musicians brought much light and shade, and delicacy, to this, the first of Mozart’s string quartets The... read more

Brilliant and vibrant exuberance from John Chen

By , 18/05/2014
This was in many respects a masterly recital, a most interesting and, indeed, challenging programme, delivered by John Chen with piano-playing whose seismic performance energies in places would have given the foundations of St Andrew's-on-the-Terrace a particularly singular workout. It was music that seemed to bristle with challenges for the pianist, though a different kind of challenge for both player and audience was due, I thought to the running... read more

Passion, poetry and valediction from the NZSO

By , 17/05/2014
It was one of those concerts in which everything seemed to me to come together and go "whizz-bang!" It provided in spadefuls just what can make classical music events such unique experiences. It's that totality of concentration upon nothing else but the music and music-making generated by musicians whose skill, focus and energy create a kind of frisson of recreative involvement. And into this ferment listeners are drawn, to... read more

Diverting woodwinds a delight from first to last at St Andrew’s

This was a concert I headed to with simply no idea of what to expect. It proved to be a delight from first to last. All the works explored the less frequently heard registers and timbres of the various instruments involved, and all evoked moods of reflection and introspection that are not often associated with music for instruments like the saxophone family. It has always baffled me why “classical”... read more

The Orpheus Choir – music of here, and now……

By , 10/05/2014
I'm normally accustomed to encountering seemly, well-regulated conversational tones and discreet movements of habitually circumspect classical concertgoers at Michael Fowler Centre concerts. However, I was aware straightaway of something different and palpable in the air when entering the doors of the same venue on Saturday evening to attend the Orpheus Choir's concert "Dreams lie Deeper". Here were vibrant swirlings of people thronging the foyer, staircases and mezzanine floor of the... read more

James MacMillan conducts NZSO in his own and Cresswell’s music of the past twenty years

By , 09/05/2014
The second of the pair of concerts from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra devoted to music of the past thirty years was a musical success, even though, again, it drew a smaller audience than the orchestra normally attracts. However, given the absence of any standard, familiar music in the programme, it was very encouraging, probably more than might be expected in most cities of comparable size in other parts... read more

Remembering David – a Farquhar tribute from the NZSM

By , 08/05/2014
This extremely timely concert was organized by Jack Body as a tribute to one of his former teaching and composing colleagues, David Farquhar, on the seventh anniversary of the latter's death. Born in Cambridge in 1928, David Farquhar was one of a group of fledgling composers which included Larry Pruden, Edwin Carr, Dorothea Franchi and Robert Burch who studied composition with Douglas Lilburn at the renowned Cambridge Summer Music School... read more

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