Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Worlds within worlds brought to us by the Wellington Chamber Orchestra, with The Tasman Trio and Kenneth Young

By , 30/06/2019
On paper, a programme for the prospective listener to savour – and this was an expectation I would guess was largely fulfilled, judging from the reception accorded the musicians’ efforts by the audience, and the feelings of satisfaction gleaned from the performers’ general aspect at the end! There was certainly a variety of colour, texture, mood and emotion to be had, with the pieces offering sufficient challenges to ensure... read more

A joyful, exhilarating Barber of Seville, New Zealand Opera’s first offering of the year

By , 29/06/2019
Colourful, joyful, exhilarating are the words to describe this production of the Barber of Seville. From the very beginning of the Overture, taken at a moderate steady tempo that let every phrase be clearly articulated, we know that we are in for a treat. When the action starts with the chorus, the serenaders, horsing around it is clear that this will be an entertaining show. Almaviva, John Tessier enters... read more

From murderous to beguiling – a concert of life and art from the Tudor Consort and Aurora IV

By , 22/06/2019
Michael Stewart and the Tudor Consort certainly got their presentation “Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know” off to a properly gruesome start with the music of a composer who’s now generally known to have been a murderer, Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa – in fact, we in the audience were firstly “treated” to a fairly “no holds barred” description by Michael Stewart of the circumstances and salient details of the... read more

Offenbach’s anniversary year: Jewish, German, and essentially French; painstaking emergence and eventual triumph

By , 20/06/2019
If you look hard enough, interesting anniversaries generally show up every year. But few recent years have been as interesting as this, especially for one who ranks the two best-known, French birthday celebrants right at the top of their class. It’s the 150th anniversary of Berlioz’s death (on 8 March this year); and the 200th anniversary of the birth of two of the most successful composers of light opera, or... read more

NZSO marks Blake’s retirement with his haunting ‘Angel at Ahipara’, plus splendid Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky

By , 20/06/2019
Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, and a piece by a significant contemporary composer, Christopher Blake, might seem like popular programming, but as was evident by the large number of empty seats, the programme lacked wide appeal. Tchaikovsky's First Symphony is seldom performed, Stravinsky's Violin Concerto is very different from other more popular twentieth century violin concertos and Christopher Blake's music is unknown territory. Yet it is important both for the orchestra and... read more

Accomplished though unusual Donizetti Trio assembles a mixed bag programme: some very successful

By , 19/06/2019
The Donizetti Trio is a fairly rare beast; it rather looks as if three musician friends had the idea of playing as an ensemble, but were faced with the problem that hardly any music existed for their combination, and so they set about forcing other material to fit their needs. That can work well, and to a degree, it did. To start with, Vivaldi looks a good idea as he wrote... read more

Inspirare as singular performers of Brahms choral pieces and part songs

By , 15/06/2019
This was a concert of music by one composer only, Brahms, and does not stray from traditional classical repertoire. Yet, apart from the piano solo, Rhapsody in G minor, Op 79, No 2, and the first movement of the Violin Sonata No 3 in D minor, Op. 108, the vocal works in the programme are seldom heard. The concert opened with Vier Quartette, Op.92, sung by Alex Gandionco, soprano, Eleanor... read more

The NZSO “reclaims the night” for Baroque composers at St.Andrew’s on-The-Terrace, Wellington

By , 08/06/2019
To my great relief the NZSO abandoned the idea of presenting this, the second concert of their Baroque Series, in Wellington Cathedral, the first concert there having been a mixed blessing of an affair, with the building’s cavernous acoustic the main impediment to enjoyment of the music. The strictures of the Capital’s current “earthquake-risk” regulations regarding many of its buildings has made finding a venue for concerts involving either... read more

Martin Riseley in the second splendid recital of Bach solo violin sonatas and partitas, benefit for St Andrew’s organ restoration

By , 07/06/2019
At one of last year’s lunchtime concerts at St Andrew’s Martin Riseley played one each of Bach’s solo partitas and sonatas, and it led to the suggestion that he might play all six of them. And so he did: he played the first three last month and here were the last three. This second recital was a generous benefit concert to assist with the restoration of the pipe organ; and... read more

Orchestra Wellington – gone vinyl to splendid effect with live Beethoven

By , 06/06/2019
I was there at the 2018 concert when conductor Marc Taddei and Orchestra Wellington launched their ground-breaking classical recording release of two Beethoven Symphonies, recorded “live” at separate Michael Fowler Centre concerts the previous year – and what was more, caught on two splendidly appointed vinyl discs which were displayed most tellingly to a visibly gobsmacked and positively enthusiastic audience. Being an originally-pressed vinyl aficionado, I failed to take... read more

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