Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Wellington Youth Orchestra and Andrew Joyce take on quintessential Beethoven and Dvořák

By , 31/07/2021
Today’s concert given by the Wellington Youth Orchestra in Lower Hutt’s Anglican Church of St James seemed to me a fascinating instance of a certain event’s “atmosphere” influencing one’s reaction to musical performance. I say this in comparing today’s concert with a not-so-long-ago occasion at the same venue and involving the same players, albeit with a different conductor - though I didn’t think the latter a significant factor in... read more

Liam Wooding – Reflections and Connections at Woburn’s St.Mark’s Church, Lower Hutt

By , 27/07/2021
Music today has a lot to thank Franz (Ferenc) Liszt for. Among his achievements throughout a life devoted to performing, composing, teaching, promoting, and collegially supporting and encouraging the art-form is his single-handed invention of the phenomenon we know today as “the piano recital”. On June 9th,1840, in London at Hanover Square, Liszt gave the first of two London concerts that were advertised as “recitals”, the first documented occasion... read more

Monstrous and idiosynchrophiliac goings-on with Stroma at Wellington’s Bats Theatre

By , 25/07/2021
The perils of reviewer-conviviality are never so real as when one attends a concert of contemporary music, and sits next to someone in the audience one knows by sight but has never had a chance to talk with seriously, so most pleasantly spends the entire pre-concert time getting properly acquainted, as a result of which one completely forgets to read the concert’s programme notes before the lights are dimmed... read more

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

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