Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

The NZSO “reclaims the night” for Baroque composers at St.Andrew’s on-The-Terrace, Wellington

By , 08/06/2019
To my great relief the NZSO abandoned the idea of presenting this, the second concert of their Baroque Series, in Wellington Cathedral, the first concert there having been a mixed blessing of an affair, with the building’s cavernous acoustic the main impediment to enjoyment of the music. The strictures of the Capital’s current “earthquake-risk” regulations regarding many of its buildings has made finding a venue for concerts involving either... read more

Orchestra Wellington – gone vinyl to splendid effect with live Beethoven

By , 06/06/2019
I was there at the 2018 concert when conductor Marc Taddei and Orchestra Wellington launched their ground-breaking classical recording release of two Beethoven Symphonies, recorded “live” at separate Michael Fowler Centre concerts the previous year – and what was more, caught on two splendidly appointed vinyl discs which were displayed most tellingly to a visibly gobsmacked and positively enthusiastic audience. Being an originally-pressed vinyl aficionado, I failed to take... read more

Restorative music from the Restoration, performed by “The Queen’s Closet”

By , 01/06/2019
A well-ordered programme, a cornucopia of colourful-sounding instruments, a group of skilled, expressive players and a relaxed, spontaneous-sounding presentation whose varied amalgam of fascinating and engaging sounds ensured a most attractive and resounding early evening’s music-making were the sure-fire ingredients of this concert from the early music group “The Queen’s Closet”. The ensemble’s name is derived from an eponymously-titled room found in a National Trust house located in Richmond... read more

Chamber Music Hutt Valley celebrates 40 years – no more appropriately than with the Amici Ensemble

By , 27/05/2019
What a surprise to discover that Rossini’s youthful Sonate a Quattro No.1 in F Major was here masquerading as a wind quartet! – in fact, I was going to add, “in true Rossinian fashion” before I discovered that the arranger was one Frederic Berr, a clarinettist who similarly refurbished for wind quartet no less than five of Rossini’s youthful “String Sonatas” , and provided a sixth from an “Andante... read more

“Under every grief & pine/runs a joy with silken twine” – Martin Riesley plays unaccompanied Bach at St.Andrew’s, Wellington

By , 24/05/2019
This was a benefit concert to help raise funds for refurbishing the Church’s pipe organ. Bach himself wasn’t known as a violinist to the same extent as he was a keyboard player, yet according to his son, Carl Philippe Emanuel, “he played the violin cleanly and powerfully”, and his familiarity with the instrument is evident in the way he wrote his six Violin Sonatas and Partitas (BWV 1001-1006), so they... read more

NZSM Orchestra speaks its concert presentation’s name with skill and conviction at St.Andrew’s

By , 21/05/2019
Though having just tut-tutted elsewhere over the NZSO’s somewhat loose “title” attached to its most recent concert, I’m much less inclined towards adverse comment regarding the NZSM Orchestra’s publicity legend  for ITS latest presentation, “Darkness and Light”.  It’s a reasonably apposite description of the moods of what was being played at the evening’s concert, conveying something of the music’s range and impact as was performed, here brilliantly and most... read more

Rossini’s “Little Solemn Mass” from the Bach Choir at St.Andrew’s triumphantly reaches towards the stars

By , 11/05/2019
I was sure I’d heard this work on at least one occasion previously, and more especially once the music had started – from early on in the opening “Kyrie” there were cadences, phrases and sequences that kept on sidling up to me and nudging me in my inner ear’s ribcage as if to say “Oh, you again! – where have you been?” or more cheekily, “Remember me? – ha!... read more

Still “waiting”, with time ticking away for humanity – “Waiting for Godot” at Circa Theatre, Wellington

By , 04/05/2019
It’s interesting that my first, completely “out of the blue” experience of “Waiting for Godot” was provided some time during the mid-1960s, by a group of actors who called themselves “The Southern Comedy Players”, a foursome if I remember, who frequently toured the country’s secondary schools, and fortunately for me, had our school in Palmerston North “on their list”. The group performed excerpts from various plays, presenting a wide... read more

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

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