Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Unusual trio ensemble with a highly satisfying, widely international series opens Wellington Chamber Music year

By , 18/04/2021
The first concert in Wellington Chamber Music’s 2021 season attracted a fairly full audience, no doubt partly a response to their deprivation in 2020. It would have appealed to chamber music aficionados on account of the three well-known musicians and the inclusion of at least one well-known work, plus a couple of others by familiar and attractive composers – Albéniz and Piazzolla, and a popular New Zealand composer –... read more

NZSO launches into 2021 determined, with a splendid, dynamic programme to evade Covid 19

By , 26/03/2021
The first of the NZSO’s main concert series, which is entitled the “Podium Series”, proved a conspicuous triumph. Though it might have seemed difficult to account for the name “Carnival” which was given to this particular concert, it was vividly illuminated in Feby Idrus’s colourful and well-informed programme notes, indirectly with La Valse, but quite specifically with Petrushka, where the word relates directly to Stravinsky’s setting of the first... read more

Sleep-walking as Rhona Fraser’s Days Bay Opera returns with a delightful Bellini masterpiece

By , 12/02/2021
In common with most of the world, Bellini is no longer a famous composer in New Zealand; his operas are now rarely performed. Of Bellini’s operas only Norma gets much attention. I’m only aware of Canterbury Opera’s production of it in 2002, since its last professional production by a touring company in 1928. However, in 2016 Rhona Fraser’s Opera in a Days Bay Garden was responsible for a somewhat rarer... read more

The third group, the Glorious Mysteries, from Biber’s Rosary Sonatas from Loeser, Young and Mews

By , 05/02/2021
Middle C missed the first two parts of Biber’s famous Rosary Sonatas late last year. These are instrumental compositions inspired by the sense of each of the fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary.  So it was rewarding to hear the third group of ‘sonatas’, which comprises sonatas 11 to 15, plus the famous, stand-alone Passacaglia; and to be told that it was hoped to perform the entire series again later... read more

RNZAF Wind Quintet plus piano, in diverting programme closes Marjan van Waartenberg’s era at St Andrew’s

By , 09/12/2020
Not only was this the last in the 2020 St Andrew’s lunchtime concert series (not counting the church’s Christmas carol service next Wednesday, 16 December); but the last concert organised by Marjan van Waardenberg at St Andrew’s: a voluntary job she has done since 2005. The concerts have been transformed dramatically during the time she has led them, from short series of concerts through the year to an unbroken... read more

NZSO with three widely varied works: two masterpieces and a charming, approachable New Zealand concerto

By , 20/11/2020
The audience at this concert would have been intrigued, as they took their seats, to see some orchestra members finding their way to a row of music stands in the gallery above and behind the orchestra: two players each of first and second violins, violas, cellos and one double bass.  The rest – strings only of course – were in their normal places Vaughan Williams with Tallis The position of players... read more

Orpheus Choir’s first ‘on their own’ concert in 2020 a Gloria triumph

By , 14/11/2020
The introduction to the programme by the chairperson of the Choir, Frances Manwaring, remarks that this was the choir’s first ‘self-presented’ concert in 2020 – the only other public appearance was with Orchestra Wellington’s 3 October concert in Rachmaninov’s The Bells and Fauré’s Requiem. And I might as well use her background notes to refer to the task of preparing for the concert under review. “Thanks to the tech-savvyness and... read more

Another entertaining Shed Concert from the NZSO touching the Weimar era

By , 13/11/2020
This was one of the few concerts, including several from the NZSO, which was not cancelled or changed (apart here, from the order of the pieces) by the effect of the Coronavirus. Most concerts have come to be ’named’, in a way intended to reflect the character of the music, and this one was Kabarett, German for the obvious English word: the European cabaret scene of the 1920s and 30s... read more

Remarkable NZSO concert of Bach family music inspired by Vesa-Matti Leppänen, Diedre Irons and Andrew Joyce

By , 31/10/2020
This was a very novel and interesting enterprise by the orchestra, partly on account of the venue, the surprisingly spacious hall at Wellington College. In the light of the lack in Wellington of a suitable auditorium that seats between 300 and 2000, apart from St Mary of the Angels and the Anglican cathedral, this space, presumably able to seat around 1500, could be useful for large musical events. W F... read more

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

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