Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Third volume of Richard Farrell piano recordings a fascinating collection of till-now unreleased treasures

By , 16/12/2019
The third volume of recordings of piano performances by Richard Farrell (1926 – 1958) has appeared, nine years after the first volume. Apart from a couple of small pieces, none have been commercially released though Peter Mechen (who was the assistant producer and undertook research) reminds me that the Tchaikovsky concerto was played by the then Concert Programme in the 1980s and the Liszt recital was broadcast as part... read more

Wellington Chamber Orchestra succeeds with Šinkovec Burstin in Grieg piano concerto, and other Nordic classics

By , 08/12/2019
In my review of Jian Liu’s performance two years ago of Grieg’s Piano Concerto I remarked that I was mystified that it continued to be considered a popular, even hackneyed work when, for many years, it’s been so little performed. That lovely performance with Jian Liu may have prompted the Wellington Chamber Orchestra to take a look at it. If so they served themselves and Edvard Grieg very well Helios  Nielsen’s... read more

Haydn, Brahms and Brigid Bisley in superb recital from Diedre Irons and the Aroha Quartet

By , 01/12/2019
Haydn’s The Bird The last 2019 concert from the Aroha Quartet opened with Haydn’s quartet, The Bird, creating sounds that were quite stunning: not in the normal sense of fortissimo, exciting or cacophonous, but with sounds that were hardly of a string quartet at all. They were of such refinement and purity that they really did evoke the subtlest of bird calls that were pure and secretive, unearthly. The marking... read more

Diverting St Andrew’s lunchtime concert of Baroque wind music

By , 20/11/2019
If your local pub quiz threw a question at you: “Can you name a period when more great composers were born than any other?” The period 1835 – 1845 would be a good guess, or 1855 – 1865. But I’d lay the money on 1678 to 1688. Vivaldi, Rameau, JS Bach, Domenico Scarlatti, Zelenka, Weiss, Telemann, Handel, Porpora, Geminiani, just for starters; and that excludes two of the composers... read more

The Tudor Consort in remarkable performances of great poly-choral masterpieces from the 16th and 20th centuries

By , 16/11/2019
On successive Saturdays the Cathedral of St Paul has hosted quite major choral concerts, performing some of the greatest choral works. Much as it’s important to be exposed to compositions of our own time, I feel that there’s a tendency for musical bodies in all genres to be unduly burdened by an imagined obligation to perform contemporary music, most of which is listened to from a sense of obligation... read more

Cantoris steps up to two of the great choral masterpieces, successfully in the face of difficulties

By , 09/11/2019
Handel’s Dixit Dominus was written in 1707 for the church of Santa Maria in Montesanto in Rome. He was in Italy between 1706 and 1710 and composed operas for Florence and Venice, but because the Vatican in Rome forbade opera, Handel wrote dramatic works in concert form, the most famous of which is the Dixit Dominus which is drawn from Psalm 110, part of the Catholic Vespers service, and... read more

NZSO: Salonen’s Violin Concerto points in a fruitful, inspiring direction; Schubert’s Greatness persists through 200 years

By , 08/11/2019
Here was another NZSO concert that merited a bigger audience. Again, as at the 24 October concert, the gallery was well inhabited but the stalls rather sparse. A concert that is dominated by a very long work, unless by Mahler or perhaps Bruckner, suffers from a lack of variety and there needs to be a smaller, first-half piece that will overcome it, probably a familiar and well-loved concerto. Finnish conductor... read more

Diverting and varied concert in The Queen’s Closet, devoted to all the pleasures at the Prefab

By , 03/11/2019
The lively atmosphere of the Prefab on Jessie Street provides a happy environment for all kinds of music, not least for classical music of all kinds. It facilitates experimental and early music, instrumental and choral, serious and whatever the opposite might be. The Queen’s Closet consists partly of NZSO and Orchestra Wellington players as well as some whose provenance I don’t know. The English Restoration They devote themselves to the Restoration, the... read more

Diverting recital by senior NZSM tutors Inbal Megiddo and Jian Liu at St Andrew’s lunchtime

By , 30/10/2019
A larger than usual audience came in from the sun to hear these two members of the music faculty of Victoria University (known as the New Zealand School of Music). Boccherini They began with one of Boccherini’s cello sonatas: one on A major. A look at the Boccherini catalogue shows 29 cello ‘sonatas, for cello solo (and basso)’, which is believed to mean probably a second cello; most were written when... read more

Three Beethoven string quartets from brilliant Ébène Quartet: part of their world-wide project

By , 25/10/2019
The concert by the Ébène Quartet was probably the most looked forward to concert of the 2019 Chamber Music New Zealand series, though Middle C this year is not really in a position to make a comprehensive comparison. We missed at least a couple of concerts, including that by the Brodsky Quartet in May. Ébène is a quartet with far more strings to its bows than merely hard-core classical stuff... read more

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