Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Admirable Waikanae chamber music from friends of a non-existant Wilma Smith

By , 26/10/2020
This concert was to have been given by ‘Wilma and Friends’ – that is Wilma Smith, the former concertmaster of the New Zealand and Melbourne symphony orchestras; she lives in Victoria and was prevented from travelling; Martin Riseley, head of violin at the New Zealand School of Music at Victoria University stepped in, as did cellist Andrew Joyce and violist Nicholas Hancox from the NZSO. ‘Wilma and Friends’ has not... read more

“Timeless” classics with a twist – latest in the NZSO’s “Podium” Series

By , 24/10/2020
This was the last concert of a tour of five centres. It was a programme of safe music by Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven, nothing to intimidate a conservative audience, though Beethoven laid down major challenges that audiences have grappled with since the work was first performed by the Schuppanzigh Quartet in 1825. The orchestra was reduced to strings two horns, oboes, clarinets bassoons and a flute. There were no... read more

Orchestra Wellington and Sistema Orchestra Hutt Valley in varied and colourful concert

By , 17/10/2020
This concert was one of Orchestra Wellington’s rather special events, not only in parallel with a rather singular election day that tended to absorb the animated attention of most of the audience before the concert and during the interval, but also sharing the platform of the MFC with another orchestra: the Arohanui Strings. That band was founded in 2010 on the model of the Sistema Youth Orchestra in Venezuela... read more

Dazzling Diabelli Variations from pianist Ya-Ting Liou at St.Andrew’s make an indelible impression

By , 14/10/2020
The Diabelli Variations, or to give the pieces their proper collective name, “Thirty-three Variations on a Waltz by Anton Diabelli in C Major, Op.120” represent in their entirety Beethoven’s final and loftiest thoughts concerning the piano and its expressive capabilities.  It’s both characteristic and appropriate that such sublimity of invention on Beethoven’s part should have emanated from such an unprepossessing source. Thanks to Beethoven’s somewhat free-wheeling biographer, Anton Schindler, the... read more

THe NZSO’s “Monumental” concert…..counting the ways

By , 09/10/2020
As much as I’m not a great fan of the use of “catchwords” to describe the content of concerts, such as both the NZSO and the NZSQ have been using to characterise specific events over the past year, I must admit that occasionally the description “hits the spot”, as with the use of the word “Monumental” to describe the orchestra’s most recent concert in Wellington. Though a somewhat “loose”... read more

A programme of brilliantly scored Romantic era music from Wellington Youth Orchestra

By , 04/10/2020
The listing in Middle C’s Coming Events had misread details about this concert; the conductor was identified as Miguel Harth-Bedoya. In fact, he had conducted a rehearsal of the orchestra  a few weeks before. But there would be no need to attribute the splendid performances on Sunday directed by Mark Carter to anyone but Mark Carter. To begin, it was a colourful programme of music that would have excited any... read more

Riveting performances by the Orpheus Choir and Orchestra Wellington of works by Faure and Rachmaninoff

By , 03/10/2020
Under the circumstances of Covid-19 and its world-wide strictures, I’m truly grateful, along with so many others, to be living in a place where activities such as concerts of the quality of that which I attended in the Michael Fowler Centre on Saturday evening could even happen, let alone be enjoyed so freely and readily. Given in the same week as the NZSO’s inspiring “Eroica” concert conducted by Miguel... read more

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