Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

A piano recital at St Andrew’s deserving a full house: Beethoven’s Eroica Variations surrounded by circus variety

By , 17/07/2019
Her name rang a bell, but I couldn’t recall actually seeing or hearing her play. The Middle C archive revealed that my colleague, Peter Mechen had reviewed an earlier lunchtime recital by her in August 2016 when, inter alia she had played Schumann’s Davidsbündlertänz, later Rameau’s Le rappel des oiseaux. Born in Taiwan and educated mainly in the United States, she now lives in Auckland. That sort of programming clearly... read more

Splendid, richly satisfying NZSO concert of four strongly contrasted works played with mastery and conviction

By , 13/07/2019
Anniversary: Cook’s first voyage and Matauranga  The first piece in Saturday’s concert was entitled Matauranga, which means ‘knowledge, wisdom, understanding, skill’, according to the programme note. It was in part to mark the 250th anniversary of Cook’s first voyage one of whose purposes was to observe the transit of Venus in Tahiti in June 1769. His reaching New Zealand was timely to observe the transit of Mercury on the Coromandel... read more

Offenbach’s anniversary year: Jewish, German, and essentially French; painstaking emergence and eventual triumph

By , 20/06/2019
If you look hard enough, interesting anniversaries generally show up every year. But few recent years have been as interesting as this, especially for one who ranks the two best-known, French birthday celebrants right at the top of their class. It’s the 150th anniversary of Berlioz’s death (on 8 March this year); and the 200th anniversary of the birth of two of the most successful composers of light opera, or... read more

Accomplished though unusual Donizetti Trio assembles a mixed bag programme: some very successful

By , 19/06/2019
The Donizetti Trio is a fairly rare beast; it rather looks as if three musician friends had the idea of playing as an ensemble, but were faced with the problem that hardly any music existed for their combination, and so they set about forcing other material to fit their needs. That can work well, and to a degree, it did. To start with, Vivaldi looks a good idea as he wrote... read more

Martin Riseley in the second splendid recital of Bach solo violin sonatas and partitas, benefit for St Andrew’s organ restoration

By , 07/06/2019
At one of last year’s lunchtime concerts at St Andrew’s Martin Riseley played one each of Bach’s solo partitas and sonatas, and it led to the suggestion that he might play all six of them. And so he did: he played the first three last month and here were the last three. This second recital was a generous benefit concert to assist with the restoration of the pipe organ; and... read more

Mozart the wonderful vehicle for supporting an important charity from Karori Classics

By , 31/05/2019
This third concert in the 2019 series, Karori Classics was a benefit concert for Cystic Fibrosis New Zealand, for it’s a wretched condition that afflicts the child of two of the players, Emma Brewerton and Lyndsay Mountfort. We were sorry to have missed the earlier two concerts; the first, on 1 March, by duet pianists Beth Chen and Nicole Chao, known as Duo Enharmonics; and the second on 22 March... read more

Delightful St Andrew’s recital from NZSM piano students: Bach, Haydn, Chopin, Brahms, Debussy, Prokofiev and Henry Cowell

By , 29/05/2019
Though Middle C has been catching the weekly lunchtime concerts at St Andrew’s pretty regularly, we have sometimes been a bit neglectful in writing about them. This one was harder to duck. Student recitals almost always reveal a player or two of considerable distinction, in addition to which we have the experience of watching live performers playing music, a phenomenon that is becoming ever more rare, as disembodied versions of... read more

Orchestra Wellington’s triumphant concert of two last completed works by great composers

By , 25/05/2019
This promised to be a major concert, and as soon as the first arresting sounds of the Jupiter Symphony filled the MFC, I felt assured that it was probably the most important concert of Orchestra Wellington’s year. And so I scanned the spaces above the orchestra to assure myself that it was being recorded; and I was dismayed to see no sign of RNZ Concert’s microphones. In the light of... read more

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

Panorama Theme by Themocracy