Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Two sides of a genius – Beethoven’s Eighth and Ninth Symphonies from Edo de Waart and the NZSO

By , 31/08/2019
This, the final concert in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s Beethoven Festival, presented two symphonic works at what seemed like opposite ends of everything – black-versus-white parameters of style from a composer of genius. Beethoven in his Eighth Symphony appears to be “playing” with the form, parodying the classical symphony, satirising fashions and fads, heightening and debunking all kinds of gesturings and yet still producing a forward-moving, radically original... read more

Compelling, relentless performances of Beethoven’s sixth and seventh symphonies continue the NZSO’s festival

By , 30/08/2019
When I looked around at the audience at the third of the Beethoven concerts and saw that every last seat was occupied, right to the far sides of the stalls, I felt I needed to retract my post-script remark about Wednesday’s audience, which was indeed not very large. I needed to consider that there were probably many who couldn’t afford all four and had to make a hard decision... read more

And then we heard……Symphonies Four and Five from the NZSO in its Beethoven-fest……

By , 29/08/2019
My Middle C colleague Lindis Taylor having reviewed the opening night of this momentous occasion (one would expect that performing the complete Beethoven Symphonies would be something of a milestone for any orchestra that takes itself and its “craft” seriously), it was my “turn” with the following two works of the canon. This was in no way tied to any preference for any particular work on the part of... read more

Rewarding start to the NZSO’s Beethoven Festival from Edo de Waart

By , 28/08/2019
While under Edo de Waart’s musical direction the NZSO has performed several Beethoven symphonies (I recall only 1, 3 and 7) the last complete cycle was a valedictory series (well, his penultimate year) by Pietari Inkinen in 2014. And De Waart is following the same, strictly chronological order, with the first concert devoted to Nos 1, 2 and 3. Looking back at what I wrote about the first Inkinen concert... read more

Intense, heartfelt and involving – Verdi’s Rigoletto from Eternity Opera at the Hannah Playhouse

By , 23/08/2019
I can’t think of a better instance of a small opera company bringing forth by dint of its own efforts a production with the commitment and calibre of Eternity Opera’s production of “Rigoletto”, which we saw at Wellington’s Hannah Playhouse on Friday evening. I won’t go as far as proclaiming this “the best so far” of the company’s productions in this venue, as comparisons of that sort are odious... read more

Visiting Russian cellist inspires a fine, short-lived piano trio and an interesting recital

By , 18/08/2019
It might be unusual to give a common name to a group of three musicians who are clearly going to have only a few weeks together because one of its members lives in another country. The owner of the first three letters of the name ‘Levansa’ is the Russian cellist whose residence looks peripatetic at the present time, though his appointment in 2017 as principal cello of the Zurich... read more

Third of NZSO’s Shed series delivers some hits, some misses, and a couple of real successes

By , 09/08/2019
The NZSO’s Shed series is one of the orchestra’s gestures that seeks to attract new audiences. You stay out of conventional venues, you avoid any of the trappings of a forbidding classical music concert which finds the entire audience in white tie and tails and ball gowns; there are no rows of comfortable seats. Instead, just a few dozen seats with backs, a lot of padded benches scattered around... read more

Camerata continues exploring Haydn with an aside to Mozart: charm and surprises

By , 08/08/2019
Looking back on Middle C’s reviews of Camerata, I see they have been a peripatetic ensemble, having been in St Mary of the Angels, the Wesley Church, Taranaki Street and the Adam Concert Room in the university school of music, but most often at St Peter’s. St Peter’s may not be such a prolific provider of concerts as St Andrew’s, but it always shows its virtues when musicians choose to... read more

Jennifer Stumm and Te Koki Trio share honours at Wellington’s MFC

By , 08/08/2019
What an excellent idea it was of Chamber Music New Zealand’s to invite viola virtuoso Jennifer Stumm here to perform with Wellington’s Te Koki Trio! – her presence enabled a richly varied programme to be performed with a unique distinction in Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre, a programme that’s currently on tour throughout the country. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Stumm currently holds Professorships of viola studies in institutions both in Vienna... read more

Illuminating, even sublime perfection in solo recital by cellist Lev Sivkov

By , 07/08/2019
Sadly, it is rare that major soloists with our professional orchestras are taken in hand by enterprising entrepreneurs and offered recitals around the country. Lev Sivkov is clearly in the hands of an enterprising manager in New Zealand who is making excellent use of him. Having heard him last Friday with Orchestra Wellington playing Barber’s cello concerto, I was delighted to be handed a flyer about this recital in St... read more

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