Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Letter from Hon Kris Faafoi: a turn-around on RNZ Concert?

By , 04/03/2020
Though the Prime Minister had announced earlier that an unused FM frequency was in fact available, which meant that Concert could continue to use its existing frequencies, while the proposed youth network would use the till-now unused ones, many other important aspects of the service that have been eroded over the past year or so, still look at risk. What of the plans to fire all 18 existing Concert presenters... read more

Festival stages remarkable, eccentric opera by Canadian, Claude Vivier

By , 01/03/2020
It hasn’t been hard to have missed references in the international musical press to a very unusual opera by an unorthodox, fairly obscure composer. Think again if you imagined you would be presented with a kind of operatic biography of the great astronomer, for he is merely one of a number of disparate historical and fictional figures that feature in Canadian composer Claude Vivier’s work. A work that that is... read more

Barbara Paterson’s moving operatic portrayal of love in crisis in Poulenc’s monodrama

By , 27/02/2020
My colleague Peter Mechen reviewed what might have been considered the preview performance of Poulenc’s monodrama La voix humaine, on 31 January. But being a huge fan of Poulenc I felt that Paterson's performance in the Festival itself deserved attention. La voix humaine is one of the most remarkable operatic pieces: not merely of the 20th century; not merely on account of the music which is a tremblingly vivid evocation of... read more

NZSO, Gorecki and Ponifasio/MAU share singularly successful juxtaposing of utterly disparate creations, of profound common human vulnerabilities

By , 21/02/2020
It might have been slightly unusual to open a festival with a work (two works?) whose subject was the nature of woman, childbirth, even death, and dealing indirectly with one of the most terrible episodes in history. However, it drew attention to the way in which this festival has been created and conceived. Substantially put together by three leading figures in the performing arts, ‘Guest Curators’, carefully chosen with attention... read more

Is the Government paralysed by timidity? An update on the RNZ Concert crisis and a mass protest concert at Parliament

By , 20/02/2020
A protest concert on Parliament’s steps News website Scoop has published details of a concert involving hundreds of musicians performing in Parliament Grounds to voice their opposition to plans to axe RNZ Concert, the country’s only classical and jazz music station. A massed choir and orchestra, conducted by Wellington’s Brent Stewart, have chosen RNZ Concert’s 87th birthday, Monday 24th February, to voice their support, with a performance of the classical hit Carmina Burana... read more

Michael Houstoun bows out triumphantly at Waikanae in the company of the Amici Ensemble

By , 09/02/2020
The first concert in the Waikanae Music Society’s 2020 season welcomed the audience with a ‘Full House’ notice at the door: meaning that around 500 filled the hall. It was a celebration of Michael Houstoun’s long career: his last concert for the society which has hosted him regularly since 1986. He played in the company of Donald Armstrong’s Amici Ensemble which has also been a major and very popular... read more

Save Radio NZ Concert: sign a petition and write letters

By , 09/02/2020
Here is the one that's recommended: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/community_petitions/paul_thompson_and_willy_macalister_at_radio_new_ze_keep_rnz_concert_on_fm_and_retain_their_presenters/ This of course covers the bare bones of the issue. Of even more importance is the writing of letters that deal trenchantly with other associated issues. It needs to be asked how it comes about that the positions of chief executive and the head of music of RNZ  have been filled by people with no evident experience in public broadcasting, and with no knowledge of one... read more

RNZ Chief plans to destroy RNZ Concert

By , 06/02/2020
We reproduce below a report on Stuff website about the unbelievably barbaric plans of Radio New Zealand to sack all RNZ Concert staff, broadcast music without presenters, either live or recorded, transmit on only AM radio which is virtually defunct in New Zealand and throughout the world. We know no country in the western world that does not have a classical music broadcaster of the kind New Zealand has had... read more

Big audience for the first NZSO Shed series avoiding the mainstream classics

By , 31/01/2020
The idea of using the first of its Shed concerts to open the NZSO’s 2020 series proved a winner, as there was a bigger audience than I’ve seen at these before and the result was an endorsement of the idea of a less than formal affair to attract a different audience. Everyone I spoke to agreed that it had attracted people you wouldn’t see in the Michael Fowler Centre... read more

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

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