Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

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

Admirable NZSO concert touching several rewarding themes: all German apart from Ken Young’s new piece

By , 24/10/2019
I had guessed perhaps a bit cynically, that this might not be a hugely well attended concert. The balcony was well populated but the stalls were rather thin. The absentees made a serious mistake. Its programme looked unorthodox: a relatively brief concerto for horn, an overture at the beginning of the second half, and two symphonies. And a new composition by Ken Young to mark the 250th anniversary of Cook’s... read more

Ken Young’s final outing with the NZSM Orchestra with a new composition and a concerto with a gifted violinist

By , 04/10/2019
This was a little more than a routine concert by the music school of Victoria University, featuring a couple of its post graduate students: one, composer Luka Venter and the other, violinist Nickolas Majić. At the end  of the concert it emerged, with a large cluster of flowers and speeches, that this was the last concert with the orchestra’s regular conductor, Kenneth Young; it marked his retirement from the position... read more

Impressive piano recital of Brahms, Gershwin and Chopin from talented NZSM post-graduate students

By , 03/10/2019
Here was a particularly rewarding recital from two of the graduate students of the university school of music’s Jian Liu. Tasman Richards First, the three intermezzi of Brahms’s Op 117. Most of the 20 piano pieces of the four opuses from Brahms last years are intermezzi: all three of Op 117 are. They were described by the famous critic, Eduard Hanslick as ‘monologues’... pieces of a ‘thoroughly personal and subjective character’... read more

Enterprising first concert in Martinborough’s splendid little music festival

By , 27/09/2019
Here was a festival of chamber music made in heaven. I think that if you’d asked most chamber music regulars to create four programmes of the most beautiful music for a festival, they would have looked very much like what was programmed for Martinborough. I regretted missing the two earlier festivals, 2017 and 2018. Scarlatti The opening pieces of the first concert were perhaps unexpected in this context. Though Michael Houstoun... read more

Fairly rare but totally delightful music from the Koru Trio at St Andrew’s

By , 18/09/2019
One of the delights of the lunchtime concerts at St Andrew’s is the quite sharp contrasts from week to week between students, semi-professional and fully professional musicians. Last Wednesday we heard a group of vocal students from Hawkes Bay: a group of young singers, several very promising, who’d studied with the Napier-based Project Prima Volta. This Wednesday, three full-time musicians with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra performed a surprising and... read more

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