Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Martinborough Music Festival – an overview of a delightful feast of chamber music

By , 29/09/2019
Martinborough is a charming, tastefully preserved and restored little country town 65 km from Wellington. Running a Music Festival there, featuring some of  New Zealand's finest musicians is an incredibly ambitious project. The festival, held this year over three days, 27-29 September, was their third. It featured Michael Houstoun, piano, Jenny Wollerman, soprano, Wilma Smith, violin and viola, Vesa-Matti Leppanen, Yuka Egochi, Amy Bookman and Alan Molina, violins, Christopher... read more

Piano fantasies, dreams and forebodings, from Tony Chen Lin at Wellington’s St.Andrew’s

By , 29/09/2019
Can it really be three years almost to the day that Tony Chen Lin was last playing for us in this same venue? - delighting and enthralling us on that occasion with a programme remarkable as much for its explorations of the music’s connecting threads and echoings as its contrasts and differences? Perhaps it was the unifying factor of having a similarly “only connect” spirit hovering about the music... read more

Martinborough Music Festival; Saturday evening of songs and Schubert String Quintet

(This review from Charlotte Wilson arose as a result of my being unable to attend the third and fourth concerts: Festival chairman Ed Allen told me that he’d mentioned the matter to Charlotte; she offered to help and I welcomed her readiness to fill the gap between my review of the Friday concert and Steven Sedley’s covering the two afternoon concerts: Middle C is delighted to publish her sparkling... read more

Enterprising first concert in Martinborough’s splendid little music festival

By , 27/09/2019
Here was a festival of chamber music made in heaven. I think that if you’d asked most chamber music regulars to create four programmes of the most beautiful music for a festival, they would have looked very much like what was programmed for Martinborough. I regretted missing the two earlier festivals, 2017 and 2018. Scarlatti The opening pieces of the first concert were perhaps unexpected in this context. Though Michael Houstoun... read more

Concerted and ensembled efforts from NZSM string players give pleasure at St.Andrew’s

By , 25/09/2019
What a heartwarming occasion this was, counteracting the bitter chill of the wind outside, making nonsense of what appeared to be a sunny day. Josef Haydn’s music was just the job to lighten the spirits, and we were lucky enough to get a kind of “made-up” concerto for violin and cello, freshly discovered (!)and performed forthwith for our pleasure by various students from the New Zealand School of Music! No... read more

Versions….and versions – Beethoven, Mahler (orch. Michael Vinten) and Bruckner, from the Wellington Chamber Orchestra

By , 22/09/2019
As Michael Vinten told Radio NZ Concert’s “Upbeat” interviewer David Morriss during the week preceding the concert, none of the three works presented by the orchestra were original versions of the pieces. The closest we came to hearing a work representing its composer’s first thoughts was in the Third Symphony of Anton Bruckner – and this was the second of no less than six (or was it eight?) documented... read more

Orchestra Wellington succeeds with an odd programme of important, challenging and beautiful works

By , 21/09/2019
For a subscription concert series labelled 'Epic', that included Berlioz's Symphonie Fantasique, Bruckner's 8th Symphony, Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, a concert by a string orchestra, with no major symphonic work was odd programming. It is not that Verklärte Nacht, or Beethoven's C sharp minor quartet were not worth hearing, but they were arrangements of works not written for orchestra. But let me not quibble, they are all beautiful... read more

Stroma breathes life into its collection of “Sonic Portraits”

By , 19/09/2019
I came across an interesting article on the American composer Virgil Thomson when exploring the idea of “Portraits” in music. Inspired by novelist Gertrude Stein in Paris during the mid-1920s, who had made a series of free-association "literary portraits" written in a single sitting, Thomson thought he would try the same technique in music composition – his subject would “sit”, and Thomson would compose, on the spot... read more

Fairly rare but totally delightful music from the Koru Trio at St Andrew’s

By , 18/09/2019
One of the delights of the lunchtime concerts at St Andrew’s is the quite sharp contrasts from week to week between students, semi-professional and fully professional musicians. Last Wednesday we heard a group of vocal students from Hawkes Bay: a group of young singers, several very promising, who’d studied with the Napier-based Project Prima Volta. This Wednesday, three full-time musicians with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra performed a surprising and... read more

Wondrously unified piano trio gives two of the greatest works for Chamber Music New Zealand

By , 14/09/2019
Musicians of the stature of Viktoria Mullova are much rarer visitors to New Zealand now than they were 30, 50 years ago. Then the entire season of chamber music concerts arranged by the then Federation of Chamber Music Societies consisted of pretty distinguished international players. Something of a commentary on the relative decline of New Zealand’s economic standing, as well, I suspect, as a trend away from classical music... read more

Panorama Theme by Themocracy