Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Beautiful, visceral, hypnotic, disconcerting – Stroma’s “essential experimental” at Wellington’s Pyramid Club

By , 29/11/2018
The venue really brought it all alive, in a way that I thought a more conventional concert-chamber-like place wouldn’t have done. In the most positive way we in the audience seemed to be “put at ease” by the “late-night club” surroundings at Taranaki Street’s Pyramid Club, and, rather than attending a concert, were instead made to feel we were “eavesdropping” on the ongoing creative processes constituting and shaping each... read more

Baroque music, rare and familiar, in a happy St Andrew’s concert

A larger-than-average audience came to hear this programme of a mixture  of familiar and unfamiliar baroque works. Sometimes musical (and other) works from the past are lost sight of because their worth is slight.  This seemed to me to be true of the Cervetto piece.  Extraordinary as it is to read of a a composer from 17th-18th centuries who lived to be at least 101 (c.1682-1783), his music didn’t live... read more

Rutter’s lovely Magnificat accompanied by carols of bells and the Orpheus Choir in sold out concert

By , 24/11/2018
Though conductor Brent Stewart entertained the audience with his introduction to the unconventional Carol of the Bells, he waited till its end before engaging in his lively promotion of the choir's next year’s programme, using the choir to sing striking excerpts from Mozart’s Requiem and Carmina Burana by Carl Orff. As well, he mentioned three concerts in which the choir will sing with both Orchestra Wellington and the New... read more

NZSO in splendid Beethoven: the first and the last, under Edo de Waart

Such is the popularity of Beethoven’s Choral Symphony (no.9) that the Michael Fowler Centre auditorium was sold out.  There were two empty seats next to me, but I did not see many others. The gentle prologue to  Beethoven’s first symphony (the symphony premiered in 1800) almost sounds like an ending, and reminds one immediately of Haydn, the great master of the symphony, who was still around for the first 40... read more

Baching at the Moon – ‘Cellist Raeul Pierard at St.Peter’s on-Willis, Wellington

By , 23/11/2018
Long and involved stories or series of tales have always attracted me – I’m a sucker for sagas, an enthusiast for epics, a connoisseur of chronicles. In music there’s nothing I like better to involve myself with than something that covers a wide span of time, incident and characterisation. I’m a completist who’s in seventh heaven when about to embark upon things like Bach’s “forty-eight”, Haydn’s “Salomon Symphonies”, Liszt’s... read more

Popular guitarists with delightful though unfamiliar music at St Andrew’s

By , 21/11/2018
Guitarists Jane Curry and Owen Moriarty are familiar figures at the St Andrew’s lunchtime concerts, and the sounds they make are particularly suited to the church’s acoustic. Furthermore, for anyone open to discoveries, more of the guitar repertoire than that of almost any other well-known instrument is unfamiliar. It’s not that only in recent years has it become a popular instrument in the classical music world; in fact, it... read more

“Puss in Boots” Pantomime gives delight for young and old alike at Circa Theatre

By , 18/11/2018
A director's note in the programme from Susan Wilson paid tribute to the late Paul Jenden 1955-2013), actor, dancer, director and author of this and several other pantomines performed by Circa over the years, describing his presence as “sadly missed”. One of his most successful pantomime adaptations was of the well-known story of “Puss-in-Boots”, based on the European fairy-tale known in Italy as Il gatto con gli stivali, and in... read more

Eternity Opera sings triumphantly once again at Wellington’s Hannah Playhouse – Puccini’s Madam Butterfly

By , 16/11/2018
Eternity Opera’s presentation at Wellington‘s Hannah Playhouse of one of the most famous of all grand operas, Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, used a reduced orchestral accompaniment, a “rhyming” English translation of the Italian, and cut one of the more colourful episodes in the work’s Second Act, albeit involving the brief appearance of a “lesser”character. And yet, despite these diminutions of the original, the piece worked its usual theatrical and... read more

First-class performance of a Brahms masterpiece by Vivanti String Sextet

A sizeable audience heard this masterwork from Brahms, played by a sextet made up of members of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (plus friend Martin Jaenecke).  The work is seldom heard, probably because of the difficulty of assembling a sextet.  I don’t think I have heard it live since a concert given by a visiting ensemble in a Festival concert many years go – was it 1988?  1990?  They... read more

World Premiere in Palmerston North of 216 year-old work by English composer Samuel Arnold

By , 10/11/2018
Musical history was made on Saturday evening at Palmerston North’s Regent on Broadway, when local forces (the city’s Renaissance Singers and the Manawatu Sinfonia, plus a clutch of home-grown/nurtured vocal soloists) combined forces with Wellington soprano Pasquale Orchard and neighbouring Whanganui’s Schola Sacra Choir, under the inspired direction of conductor Guy Donaldson, to bring into being a world premiere with a difference. New Zealand being geographically as far away as... read more

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