Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Memorable, Houstoun-led recital of gorgeous piano quartets at Waikanae

By , 19/05/2019
Concerts featuring Michael Houstoun, alone, or with others, have usually attracted big audiences at Waikanae. This Sunday afternoon concert, which attracted, I’d guess, around 400, couldn’t have been accommodated in any of the usual chamber music venues in Wellington other than the too-large Michael Fowler Centre or perhaps St Mary of the Angels. The advertised line-up for this concert had included Andrew Thomson on the viola; he was replaced... read more

Adventurous, surprising, unorthodox, informal concert by the NZSO in a waterfront shed

By , 10/05/2019
Good Music in Sheds The “Shed series” of concerts were a new enterprise for the NZSO last year, when there were three concerts of music that was a bit off the beaten track and in an atmosphere unfamiliar to traditional audiences, though essentially classical rather than popular or rock music; perhaps the word 'crossover' might here apply. Last year, it was suggested that they would appeal to audiences aged under... read more

An excellent lunchtime concert from university string students at St Andrew’s

By , 08/05/2019
Though I had thought not to write a review of this lunchtime concert, but simply to have a pleasant hour listening, I found my mind changing however, a couple of minutes in to the first item: the Allemande from Bach’s fourth Cello Suite, in E flat, played on the viola by Zephyr Wills. Sometimes such transpositions don’t work, but this one did, beautifully. Wills, only a second-year student, has... read more

Orchestra Wellington takes Vivaldi and Piazzolla to Upper Hutt with great success

By , 06/05/2019
This programme was presented in the Opera House, Wellington on Saturday 4 May. Even considering venues in the central city, there is probably no auditorium as well appointed as Expressions in Upper Hutt’s Arts and Entertainment Centre where I was very happy to catch them. There were 22 musicians on the stage, perfectly accommodated both visually and acoustically.  In the place of the usual concertmaster, Amalia Hall, was Martin Riseley... read more

The essence of Don Pasquale splendidly delivered by Wanderlust Opera at St Andrew’s lunchtime concert

By , 01/05/2019
For several years Wanderlust Opera has been on the road doing what our professional opera company should be doing (did do for a couple of years in the 2000s): taking cut-down versions of opera to the provincial cities and towns. They’ve performed a variety of shows: Sondheim, a pot-pourri of songs from musicals, Cosi fan tutte and The Marriage of Figaro. Pasquale toured eight centres in January and February this... read more

The third in the ten-part series of Widor’s organ symphonies from Stewart and Apperley at St Paul’s Cathedral

By , 26/04/2019
This performance, by Richard Apperley, of Widor’s third organ symphony confirmed me as an organ devotee, a condition facilitated by my being free from the (usually ill-founded) reservations that many classical music lovers cherish concerning French music. This was one of Widor’s first four ‘symphonies’, Op 13, published in 1872, shortly after his appointment to the prestigious position of organist at the church of Saint-Sulpice in the 6th arrondissement (Paris... read more

Tudor Consort revives ancient Tenebrae rituals marking the stories of Holy Week

By , 19/04/2019
The number of people familiar with the word Tenebrae is probably getting fewer by the year as religious belief declines and the deep-rooted traditions, including the use of Latin, are ‘modernised’. It’s not just a Roman Catholic Easter observance but it is also in the Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran, Western Orthodox and other churches. And since the Roman church ditched the use of Latin in normal services, the spirit of... read more

Wide-ranging and imaginative song recital at Waikanae: Mellaerts and Baillieu

By , 14/04/2019
The Waikanae Music society had taken this recital from Chamber Music New Zealand’s associate society series. It was about the last of a ten-concert tour around the country. It was a courageous step since, for many years – decades? – there has been a belief that audiences avoid song recitals; the same belief has been cultivated about piano recitals. There is not a huge amount of evidence for either display... read more

Edo de Waart’s NZSO subscription concert full of charm and affection with Brahms, Elgar and Strauss

By , 13/04/2019
Two professional orchestral concerts on successive days looks more like the style of a significant European city, but here it was the chance to display one of the few remaining signs that Wellington is, or rather, used to be, the country’s cultural capital, a title that has really belonged to Auckland for the past 20 years or so. Orchestra Wellington celebrated the sesquicentenary (150 years) of Berlioz’s death by programming... read more

Dazzling pianist, Alessio Bax, gives sole Wellington performance at Upper Hutt

By , 08/04/2019
Last Thursday, 4 April. RNZ Concert broadcast the usual Thursday concert from the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. It included Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony and Grieg’s Piano Concerto. A generation and more ago it was common to be dismissive of the Grieg concerto, but the classical music world has grown up a bit since then and sensible people with cultivated but unpretentious tastes rate it among the loveliest in the repertoire. I hadn’t... read more

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