Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Ravel and Bartók make companionable and stimulating piano-and-percussion bedfellows in stunning NZSM Adam Concert Room performances

By , 23/07/2021
While waiting in the foyer for the Adam Concert Room to be opened for the NZSM concert, and pricking up my ears to flute snippets from Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and trumpet phrases from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade being practised by students in an adjoining studio, I couldn’t help but reflect on the charm and delight of experiencing such a “music-in-the-air” ambience about where I was and what was about to... read more

The NZSO’s “The Rite of Spring” replete with anniversaries and commemorations

By , 10/07/2021
Quite a day on a number of counts, and especially in Wellington! – it all gathered momentum and excitement as the evening approached, with the prospect of Matariki fireworks over the harbour, and immediately afterwards, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s “The Rite of Spring” concert. For people of my generation, anybody typing or repeating out loud the date may have suddenly been revisited in the memory by a resonating... read more

Schubert’s “Winterreise” a truly unforgettable journey at St.Mark’s, Woburn for HVCM

By , 02/07/2021
I was brought up to believe that Franz Schubert was one of music’s most tragic figures, one whose circumstances were marked by privation, neglect and suffering – his was the archetypal Romantic scenario, fuelled by conjecture and fantasy, and bolstered up with a certain emphasis on the “tragic” aspects of his numerous works. Consequently, his song-cycle “Winterreise” came to be regarded as the ultimate nihilistic will and testament of... read more

Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” a triumph for Witch Music Theatre at Wellington’s Te Auaha

By , 30/06/2021
“Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd” proclaimed the first singer shortly after the opening of Witch Music Theatre’s instantly-riveting Te Auaha production of the eponymous show  – no argument or dissent was brooked, as we had already been ensnared and drawn into an ominous, all-pervading scenario of compelling unease  generated by gothic, phantom-sounding organ figurations, dimly-perceived Nibelungen-like figures materialising from nowhere performing scrubbing-like tasks of enslavement, and a sudden... read more

Octogenarians make a splendid 17th-century pair

By , 20/06/2021
This concert gave cause for joy on a number of counts, not the least in providing a dry and relatively comfortable place in which to spend a couple of hours on a more-than-usually inclement Sunday evening – though not particularly warm temperature-wise, the interior of St.Mary’s Church worked its usual visual and atmospheric magic over the duration, adding to the beauty and variety of the sounds recreated for our... read more

The Capital Band’s “Strange Meetings” a resounding musical success

By , 19/06/2021
In contrast to the evening’s dark, clammy, out-of-doors ambiences generated by the drizzing rain, the warmth and vibrancy of Brooklyn’s Vogelmorn Hall’s son et lumiere  and pre-concert bustle was a positive pick-me-up for this audience member, generating a palpable sense of something special about to happen far removed from the privations of the weather! As with some of its previous concerts, the Band on this occasion offered an enticing mixture... read more

New Zealand String Quartet at Lower Hutt – three views of Beethoven

By , 03/06/2021
I remember reading an interview many years ago with one of the great Beethoven interpreters of recent tines, Alfred Brendel, and warming to him all the more when he responded to a question regarding his “hobbies” by listing one of them as “collecting unintentional humour”. Brendel would doubtless have relished the unexpected “cyber-glitches” experienced by violinist Helene Pohl and ‘cellist Rolf Gjelsten relating to their respective electronic page-turners’ charmingly... read more

Orchestra Wellington and Orpheus Choir adventurous in Bartok, irresistible in Orff

By , 22/05/2021
Encountering a work in concert every now and then that has somehow “slipped through the net” of my musical experience sometimes results in a bit of a “juggle” of contrasting feelings, and especially when one is a reviewer – I get enormous pleasure in the discovery of something new, but also feel a degree of guilt at not having come across the “something” earlier, and especially if it’s a... read more

“Strings for Africa” joyously fill the vistas of St.Andrew’s-on-The-Terrace

By , 18/05/2021
Back In November of 2019 I attended an event called “Cellos for Africa”, at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua City,  one described by its organisers as “a multi-institutional and multi-cultural collaboration”, featuring a variety of performing individuals and groups brought together by Heleen du Plessis and Donald Maurice. The event’s primary purpose was to raise funds for a school in Africa which had been established in Nairobi, Kenya, in... read more

Welington Youth Orchestra and Mark Carter with violinist Lucas Baker – a Transatlantic treat!

By , 15/05/2021
The idea of “music that makes one’s mouth water” is, of course, an entirely personal matter, there being literally hundreds of pieces and combinations of pieces which would produce such a response amongst music-lovers – but for me, the Wellington Youth Orchestra’s presentation at Woburn’s St.James’ Church on Saturday hit the spot from the moment I opened the printed programme just before the concert began. I’d seen the “Transatlantic”... read more

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