Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Two less familiar cello masterpieces from Lavinnia Rae and Gabriela Glapska at St Andrew’s

By , 30/07/2020
Although this recital offered a good opportunity to hear two significant cello sonatas, not often played, the audience at St Andrew’s was a lot smaller than it had been for New Zealand School of Music vocal students the day before. Two lunchtime concerts a week might seem excessive; no doubt it’s an effort to meet the expectations of players whose concerts were scheduled in the months of silence: it’s... read more

NZSM Concerto Competition – an evening of elegance, frisson and feeling

By , 30/07/2020
This year’s final of the NZSM Concerto Competition provided something of a musical feast, even if one of the concertos performed (Saint-Saens’ Second Piano Concerto) was presented with a somewhat truncated finale, for whatever reason. With three promising and extremely accomplished performers playing their respective hearts out (and admirably supported by the efforts of collaborative pianist David Barnard, whose playing of the orchestral part of the Samuel Barber Concerto... read more

Koru Trio – giving the St.Andrews’s audience its koha’s worth and more……

By , 29/07/2020
One of the largest lunchtime concert audiences I’ve seen at St.Andrew’s-on-The-Terrace enthusiastically responded to two splendid performances by the Koru Trio, a group known to me up to now by reputation only – a quick check of the Middle C review archive confirmed that so far I’d not had the good fortune to review a single concert by the ensemble. I must record here that, long before the interval... read more

Orchestra Wellington concert triumphs despite first-half technical glitch

By , 25/07/2020
Saturday evening’s concert by Orchestra Wellington, the first of the ensemble’s somewhat rearranged 2020 season, promised to be something of a blockbuster occasion, with two justly famous (for vastly different reasons) works from the Russian  repertoire together making for an evening’s spectacular music-making. Long regarded as one of the most difficult and demanding of romantic piano concertos, Rachmaninov’s legendary D minor work has proven an irresistible challenge for many... read more

Goldberg Variations from NZSO musicians with Stephen De Pledge – “a journey of life with its full gamut of emotions”

By , 22/07/2020
Bach's Goldberg Variations is one of the greatest, if not the greatest set of variations in the keyboard repertoire. Count Kaiserling, Elector of Saxony, commissioned Bach to write it for his protege, the young keyboard player, Johann Gottlieb Goldberg. The work consists of thirty variations on a theme, an Aria, that Bach might have heard or found in his wife's, Anna Magdalena's, notebook. Playing... read more

A splendid St Andrew’s lunchtime concert from NZSM voice students

By , 22/07/2020
From a purely musical point of view, this was an interesting recital, with a very wide range of songs and arias, a lot familiar, some not, but very worth being exposed to. One song I didn’t know at all was Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s ‘Sons of the Sea’. Once upon a time those three names together (in a different order) would have meant only the great poet linked with Wordsworth. Now... read more

Camus’s La Peste … our Covid-19 … the sterility of opera … and …

By , 21/07/2020
'It may surprise people to learn that Albert Camus once wrote about opera – in his definitive novel about a twentieth century epidemic. La Peste (The Plague) includes a bizarre, disturbing scene in an opera house. Seventy-five years after its publication, the novel can still speak to us about such a plague, and even more about opera. 'Yet Camus describes a very different epidemic from ours. Social distancing, let alone... read more

Ghost Trio haunts sensibilities long after final notes in concert sounded

By , 17/07/2020
I had heard the Ghost Trio perform the same Beethoven work more than a fortnight previously (a concert reviewed below by my colleague, Steven Sedley), though this time round it was coupled to a different programme. Instead of the remarkable Piano Trio Op.1 by Polish composer Andrzej Panufnik (which I would have liked to hear again), the musicians chose to branch out in a different direction,  with each of... read more

Wellington Chamber Music attracts full house for its first post-Covid appearance at Sunday concert

By , 12/07/2020
The first in Wellington Chamber Music’s 2020 concert series attracted a near full house (though without the gallery open), for a programme that looked very attractive. Though, in the event, neither of the two Beethoven works would have been familiar to most. How appropriate that the group’s first post-lock-down concert should be music by two of the world’s very greatest composers. Throughout his earlier years Beethoven wrote several ‘miscellaneous’ chamber works... read more

Well contrived and performed recital of piano music from NZSM students at St Andrew’s

By , 11/07/2020
This was a thoughtfully contrived hour-long recital: and an interesting range of music, even if only one piece was composed after 1850. Haydn Sonata Shangrong Feng’s sonata by Haydn is one of the 50-odd that he composed, which have not till recently been universally considered worthy of performance by professional pianists even though they were generally written for eminent adults. No 48 in the exhaustive Hoboken catalogue (1789/90) was among the... read more

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