Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

A dramatic and sharply-focused St.John Passion from Nota Bene and the Chiesa Ensemble at St Mary of the Angels

By , 14/04/2019

Of four Scriptural “Passion” settings associated in some way or another with Johann Sebastian Bach, two have been fully “authenticated”, the larger St.Matthew Passion, and the smaller, more intense and visceral St.John Passion – while two others, settings of the other evangelists’ accounts of Jesus’ death, are either spurious or recyclings of lost material. Bach undertook the St.John Passion during his first year as director of church... read more

Berlioz, and his “Lelio”, given their dues and more by Orchestra Wellington

By , 12/04/2019
My first reaction to the news that Orchestra Wellington was planning to give the New Zealand premiere of Hector Berlioz’s  Lelio, or “A return to life” in its properly-ordered place as a sequel to the well-known Symphonie Fantastique was a delightful amalgam of excitement, admiration, incredulity and skepticism regarding the idea. I knew the work from recordings, and it had long seemed to me of the order of something... read more

The Children – redefining well-being as responsibility, at Circa Theatre

By , 07/04/2019
Enigmas abound in this award-winning 2016 play by British playwright Lucy Kirkwood, here presented by Wellington’s Circa Theatre, and brought to everyday life by art-that-conceals-art performances from the three actors, Catherine Downes, Carmel McGlone and Peter Hambleton, in tandem with similarly naturalistic, almost self-effacing direction from Susan Wilson – a worthy New Zealand premiere production. Firstly, the play’s title leads one to expect that the subject, theme, story, etc., will... read more

Cantoris, with Thomas Nikora, brings life to Faure, and Rutter to life

By , 06/04/2019
Gabriel Faure’s Requiem, with its relatively intimate, and gentle, largely non-confrontational utterances receives frequent church performance by non-professional choirs in a version with organ accompaniment (there are various other versions extant of the work, two of which are scored with varying orchestral forces, details of which are too impossibly convoluted to even comment on). I’m mentioning this circumstance because I frequently go away from such performances feeling “short-changed” as... read more

Art-to-music realisations, a royal farewelling, and interplanetary evocations – all in an evening’s work for the NZSO

By , 30/03/2019
Tonight’s concert began with a sobering reminder of the tragedy that had shaken the whole of the country just over a fortnight previously, audience and musicians alike standing for a minute’s silence in remembrance of the incident’s victims, conductor Edo de Waart eschewing his “maestro’s entrance” on this occasion, and accompanying his concertmaster, Vesa-Matti Leppänen onto the concert platform, to stand with the other performers. As this was the... read more

Youthful and visionary Schubert from Helene Pohl and Jian Liu

By , 28/03/2019
Within a fortnight of the NZ String Quartet’s inspirational presentation at the NZ School of Music’s Adam Concert Room of two major works from the string quartet repertoire, we were, at another lunchtime concert, able to enjoy for a second time, on this occasion, the artistry of one of the Quartet’s players – the group’s leader, Helene Pohl, performing in tandem with the much-acclaimed Jian Liu, who’s currently the... read more

Janacek and Beethoven String Quartets from the amazing NZSQ at Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music

By , 25/03/2019
It all seemed too good to be true - here we were at a FREE CONCERT at the Adam Concert Room up at the University, about to be enthralled by the country’s most prestigious string quartet in two major works from the genre’s repertoire, one from the nineteenth and the other from the twentieth century, plus an additional piece from someone who’s proving to be a most interesting member... read more

Karori’s “Colours of Futuna” plays host to string quartet classics from the Orion Quartet

By , 24/03/2019
Futuna Chapel was the venue for a sweet hour of marvellous music and music-making on the previous Sunday afternoon – here was the Orion Quartet, one whose work I hadn’t yet encountered “live”, presenting two of the classical repertoire’s “cornerstone” chamber works, in itself something of an irresistible prospect for any music-lover. With players from both the NZSO and Orchestra Wellington, informed by an interest in historical period practice... read more

Brahms’ String Quintets on Naxos – graceful, beautifully-lit readings by the NZSQ with Maria Lambros (viola)

By , 23/03/2019
Playing and getting to know this disc recorded in Canada as long ago as 2016 has been, for me, a salutary experience on a couple of counts – firstly it’s been a recrimination of sorts, one that’s asked me in no uncertain tones of disapproval, why I hadn’t sought out and explored this venture by one of our most renowned and treasured musical ensembles before now! A different kind... read more

Wilma and Friends win all hearts at Wellington Chamber Music’s first 2019 concert

By , 13/03/2019
Beginning the year with the musical equivalent of a hiss and a roar is always a good sign for what might follow – and Wellington Chamber Music organisers can feel well-pleased with their opening offering for 2019, regarding both repertoire and the performances. In fact I sat there throughout this concert imagining, for some reason, how much “better” it all possibly might be were one in London, Berlin or... read more

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