Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Brass septet produces haunting and enjoyable chamber music at the MFC

By , 30/04/2019
Three trumpets, three trombones, one a bass trombone, and a tuba is not the usual combination for a chamber music concert, but seven principal brass players of London Symphony orchestras got together to demonstrate that brass is capable of producing chamber music. Horns, such an integral part of the brass section of an orchestra, were missing. They might have added a mellower sound to the ensemble, but obviously this... read more

Darth Vader, Storm Troopers, The Millenium Falcon… and the NZSO. Sounds unlikely? Don’t judge it until you’ve heard it.

By , 29/04/2019
  What is The Empire Strikes Back? The Empire Strikes Back is the second film in the original Star Wars trilogy. It continues the story of the conflict between the evil Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance/the good guys. Fun fact: it is the second highest grossing sequel of all time. The score was composed and conducted by John Williams and was played on the film soundtrack by the London Symphony Orchestra. The NZSO... read more

The third in the ten-part series of Widor’s organ symphonies from Stewart and Apperley at St Paul’s Cathedral

By , 26/04/2019
This performance, by Richard Apperley, of Widor’s third organ symphony confirmed me as an organ devotee, a condition facilitated by my being free from the (usually ill-founded) reservations that many classical music lovers cherish concerning French music. This was one of Widor’s first four ‘symphonies’, Op 13, published in 1872, shortly after his appointment to the prestigious position of organist at the church of Saint-Sulpice in the 6th arrondissement (Paris... read more

Tudor Consort revives ancient Tenebrae rituals marking the stories of Holy Week

By , 19/04/2019
The number of people familiar with the word Tenebrae is probably getting fewer by the year as religious belief declines and the deep-rooted traditions, including the use of Latin, are ‘modernised’. It’s not just a Roman Catholic Easter observance but it is also in the Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran, Western Orthodox and other churches. And since the Roman church ditched the use of Latin in normal services, the spirit of... read more

Maria Mo: a fine recital by a promising artist at St Andrew’s

By , 17/04/2019

Mario Mo is a talented young pianist at the threshold of her career. She has won awards and scholarships, studied with Katherine Austin at the University of Waikato and then at the Vienna Conservatory and the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. She has had a thorough grounding. She played an ambitious programme.

Beethoven stretches the limits of the piano in the Waldstein Sonata and apart from a... read more

Wide-ranging and imaginative song recital at Waikanae: Mellaerts and Baillieu

By , 14/04/2019
The Waikanae Music society had taken this recital from Chamber Music New Zealand’s associate society series. It was about the last of a ten-concert tour around the country. It was a courageous step since, for many years – decades? – there has been a belief that audiences avoid song recitals; the same belief has been cultivated about piano recitals. There is not a huge amount of evidence for either display... read more

A dramatic and sharply-focused St.John Passion from Nota Bene and the Chiesa Ensemble at St Mary of the Angels

By , 14/04/2019

Of four Scriptural “Passion” settings associated in some way or another with Johann Sebastian Bach, two have been fully “authenticated”, the larger St.Matthew Passion, and the smaller, more intense and visceral St.John Passion – while two others, settings of the other evangelists’ accounts of Jesus’ death, are either spurious or recyclings of lost material. Bach undertook the St.John Passion during his first year as director of church... read more

Edo de Waart’s NZSO subscription concert full of charm and affection with Brahms, Elgar and Strauss

By , 13/04/2019
Two professional orchestral concerts on successive days looks more like the style of a significant European city, but here it was the chance to display one of the few remaining signs that Wellington is, or rather, used to be, the country’s cultural capital, a title that has really belonged to Auckland for the past 20 years or so. Orchestra Wellington celebrated the sesquicentenary (150 years) of Berlioz’s death by programming... read more

Berlioz, and his “Lelio”, given their dues and more by Orchestra Wellington

By , 12/04/2019
My first reaction to the news that Orchestra Wellington was planning to give the New Zealand premiere of Hector Berlioz’s  Lelio, or “A return to life” in its properly-ordered place as a sequel to the well-known Symphonie Fantastique was a delightful amalgam of excitement, admiration, incredulity and skepticism regarding the idea. I knew the work from recordings, and it had long seemed to me of the order of something... read more

Dazzling pianist, Alessio Bax, gives sole Wellington performance at Upper Hutt

By , 08/04/2019
Last Thursday, 4 April. RNZ Concert broadcast the usual Thursday concert from the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. It included Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony and Grieg’s Piano Concerto. A generation and more ago it was common to be dismissive of the Grieg concerto, but the classical music world has grown up a bit since then and sensible people with cultivated but unpretentious tastes rate it among the loveliest in the repertoire. I hadn’t... read more

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