Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

“Emperor of Composers” – an eponymous Piano Concerto and a lovely Symphony, “live” from the NZSO

By , 08/07/2020
Following its hugely successful inaugural post-lockdown concert Ngū Kīoro… Harikoa Ake (Celebrating Togetherness), the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra has refocused its concert activities on rather more conventional repertoire with this all-Beethoven presentation, a sure-fire audience drawcard which certainly worked its magic in that respect, the result being a sold-out Michael Fowler Centre for the concert. An additional attraction was the presence of Diedre Irons, one of the country’s finest... read more

A beautiful “Mozart hat-trick” from Orchestra Wellington

By , 20/06/2020
This was the third and final of the three programmes of Mozart presented on consecutive Saturdays in June 2020 by Amalia Hall and members of Orchestra Wellington, of which ensemble she is the concertmaster. Intended to be a kind of celebration of the nation’s lifting of “lockdown” conditions originally imposed by the Government to counter the presence of the Covid-19 virus, the concerts, though still limiting audience numbers to... read more

Wanganui Music Society 75th Jubilee Concert includes Wellington guest musicians

By , 08/03/2020
Every now and then (and without warning) a “Middle C” reviewer will be overcome by a “questing s pirit” which will result in the same reviewer popping up somewhere unexpected and writing about an event whose location, on the face of things, seems somewhat outside the parameters of the usual prescription for “Middle C’”s coverage – vis-à-vis, “concerts in the Greater Wellington region”. In this case mitigating circumstances brought a... read more

NZ Opera’s “Eight Songs for a Mad King” a brilliant, Janus-faced experience

By , 02/03/2020
Firstly, some background for the curious – the “King” of this concert’s title is King George III of England, who suffered from mental illness throughout his adult life, eventually being removed from his throne and kept under lock and key in Windsor Castle. Over his final decade he lost his eyesight and hearing, and fell prey to frequent manic episodes, by all accounts babbling endlessly as he slid into... read more

Jonathan Lemalu and Virtuoso Strings blaze forth in Porirua’s Te Ata Festival

By , 22/02/2020
Though the two events weren’t directly related, this heart-warming, youth-driven classical music event in Porirua involving Jonathan Lemalu and the Virtuoso Strings flew in the most appropriate and timely way right in the face of attitudes and rationales voiced by certain forces who had recently proposed the closure of RNZ Concert, the public network’s classical music station. Though on the face of things driven by demographic concerns (RNZ Concert’s... read more

Poulenc’s “La Vox Humaine” given a stunning performance

By , 31/01/2020
As we took our seats in the confined spaces of Cuba St.’s Suite gallery, pianist Gabriela Glapska was playing the music of Satie, beautifully coalescing the sounds of the composer’s Gymnopedies, the dance figurations wrought by the pianist almost as “held” as if depicted on a Grecian urn and the tones as “imagined” as they were real - “heard melodies are sweet, but…..” – here, time seemed to be... read more

Lightning, thunder and Orpheus Choir’s and the NZSO’s “Messiah” – never a dull moment!

By , 07/12/2019
There would probably have been a number of people at this “Messiah” performance, both performers and audience members, who had shared something of my own experience a couple of hours before the concert’s starting-time, of the onslaught of an unexpectedly vicious single lightning strike during a storm over the Mt.Victoria area of the city, one whose particular impact on the house I was inside could have been likened to... read more

“Cello for Africa” at Porirua City a spectacular and moving multi-cultural collaborative event

By , 24/11/2019
“Cello for Africa” was, in the words of co-organisers Heleen du Plessis and Donald Maurice, an event designed “to bring people from different cultures together using music, and specifically, ‘cellos, to help create a platform for cultural interaction and human connection in support of causes in Africa”. The concert’s specific target was to raise funds for a school established in Nairobi five years ago, the Tamariki Education Centre, by... read more

Gustav Mahler’s heartfelt expression of existentialist optimism given resplendent treatment by the NZSO and departing Music Director Edo de Waart

By , 22/11/2019
“It opens as if on the brink of an abyss, and ends with an exhilarating rebirth”. With these words Edo de Waart, the conductor of this performance of Gustav Mahler’s monumental “Resurrection” Symphony, summed up in a programme foreword his reasoning for making the work his final assignment as the NZSO’s Music Director. According to the archive of that redoubtable critical periodical, “Middle C”, this was his seventh separate... read more

Wonderland in Wellington at Circa Theatre

By , 19/11/2019
This show was, I thought, an absolute knockout on the performance strength of the songs and their associated choreography alone!  Michael Nicholas Williams’ skilled arrangements of no less than thirteen (mostly?) home-grown classics, along with Leigh Evans’ splendid choreography lent musical magic to a scenario whose script I thought suitably action-packed enough, if not with quite the consistent raciness and fluency of other Circa pantos I’ve seen. Still, a... read more

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