Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

A piano recital that disabused one of certain beliefs and expectations

By , 20/03/2020
The audience at this diverting little concert at St Andrew’s was not large, as alarm at the spread of Covid-19 has become more intense. The happy few were interestingly entertained, at what could well be a very rare event for some time. Ursula Gabriele Gschwendtner has lived in New Zealand since 1996 and calls herself “a classical pianist, a composer and a clown”. The first two talents were conspicuous on... read more

Music’s response to Covid-19 – from the United States

By , 18/03/2020
Opera America, the organisation that shares information about and advocates for opera in the United States has posted the following list of companies and artists that can be accessed on line:  "See our COVID-19 Resource Hub for a list of performances that have been canceled or postponed. The following companies and artists are offering performances that can be streamed online:

Musical voyages to distant places – Jenny Wollerman with the New Zealand String Quartet

By , 10/03/2020
On Tuesday evening a very large congregation of music-followers assembled in the church of Saint Mary of the Angels to ascend into the stars and probe the depths of the sea. Saint Mary herself – in her capacity as Stella Maris (star of the sea) – seemed a well-suited hostess and patron for such an endeavour. Many young people were also present (noted here for the benefit of Radio... read more

Wanganui Music Society 75th Jubilee Concert includes Wellington guest musicians

By , 08/03/2020
Every now and then (and without warning) a “Middle C” reviewer will be overcome by a “questing s pirit” which will result in the same reviewer popping up somewhere unexpected and writing about an event whose location, on the face of things, seems somewhat outside the parameters of the usual prescription for “Middle C’”s coverage – vis-à-vis, “concerts in the Greater Wellington region”. In this case mitigating circumstances brought a... read more

Scrupulous and spirited choral concert from Netherlands Chamber Choir

By , 07/03/2020
The Netherlands Chamber Choir has a fine reputation in the more sophisticated realms of international choirs. Brahms motet I have to confess, as a lover of Brahms’s orchestral, piano and chamber music, that neither his Lieder nor his choral works have appealed to me greatly: especially the a cappella pieces.  Warum ist das Licht gegeben dem Mühseligen? (‘Why has light been given to the weary soul?’) is one of a pair... read more

Splendid piano-four-hands recital crowned by the Schubert Fantasie in F minor: Emma Sayers and Rachel Thomson

By , 04/03/2020
Here was a charming and admirable lunchtime recital: the ideal recipe for cleansing your emotions and mind of the wild, eccentric experiences of this year’s Festival: in my case a Kopernikus and a Mad King in close proximity. Piano duets can be edgy affairs as they demand a perfection of ensemble that’s called for from hardly any other musicians who play together. Apart from the Schubert, this was not heavy-weight... read more

Letter from Hon Kris Faafoi: a turn-around on RNZ Concert?

By , 04/03/2020
Though the Prime Minister had announced earlier that an unused FM frequency was in fact available, which meant that Concert could continue to use its existing frequencies, while the proposed youth network would use the till-now unused ones, many other important aspects of the service that have been eroded over the past year or so, still look at risk. What of the plans to fire all 18 existing Concert presenters... read more

NZ Opera’s “Eight Songs for a Mad King” a brilliant, Janus-faced experience

By , 02/03/2020
Firstly, some background for the curious – the “King” of this concert’s title is King George III of England, who suffered from mental illness throughout his adult life, eventually being removed from his throne and kept under lock and key in Windsor Castle. Over his final decade he lost his eyesight and hearing, and fell prey to frequent manic episodes, by all accounts babbling endlessly as he slid into... read more

Festival stages remarkable, eccentric opera by Canadian, Claude Vivier

By , 01/03/2020
It hasn’t been hard to have missed references in the international musical press to a very unusual opera by an unorthodox, fairly obscure composer. Think again if you imagined you would be presented with a kind of operatic biography of the great astronomer, for he is merely one of a number of disparate historical and fictional figures that feature in Canadian composer Claude Vivier’s work. A work that that is... read more

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