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Category: Articles

Camus’s La Peste … our Covid-19 … the sterility of opera … and …

By , 21/07/2020
'It may surprise people to learn that Albert Camus once wrote about opera – in his definitive novel about a twentieth century epidemic. La Peste (The Plague) includes a bizarre, disturbing scene in an opera house. Seventy-five years after its publication, the novel can still speak to us about such a plague, and even more about opera. 'Yet Camus describes a very different epidemic from ours. Social distancing, let alone... read more

A comprehensive update on the Concert FM crisis; courtesy New Zealand Opera News

By , 04/04/2020

The Plight and Future of RNZ Concert

A report and comment on what were the proposed changes to this important Public Service Radio Broadcast Medium RNZ Concert to be Gutted On 5 February 2020 this announcement hit the headlines immediately before the Waitangi Day Holiday period on 6 February 2020. This announcement was not signalled in advance and we believe was not sanctioned by the Broadcasting Minister, Kris... read more

The composer of Kopernikus, Claude Vivier: interview with conductor Vladimir Jurowski

By , 04/04/2020
In the absence of real concerts that Middle C can review, why not publish things of musical interest that might in small part make up for the deprivations we all suffer at present?  Here is an article that appeared in 2018 in the Montreal Globe and Mail that might interest those who saw Claude Vivier’s opera, Kopernikus, at the recent festival in Wellington. I came across a reference to Vivier... read more

Is the Government paralysed by timidity? An update on the RNZ Concert crisis and a mass protest concert at Parliament

By , 20/02/2020
A protest concert on Parliament’s steps News website Scoop has published details of a concert involving hundreds of musicians performing in Parliament Grounds to voice their opposition to plans to axe RNZ Concert, the country’s only classical and jazz music station. A massed choir and orchestra, conducted by Wellington’s Brent Stewart, have chosen RNZ Concert’s 87th birthday, Monday 24th February, to voice their support, with a performance of the classical hit Carmina Burana... read more

RNZ Chief plans to destroy RNZ Concert

By , 06/02/2020
We reproduce below a report on Stuff website about the unbelievably barbaric plans of Radio New Zealand to sack all RNZ Concert staff, broadcast music without presenters, either live or recorded, transmit on only AM radio which is virtually defunct in New Zealand and throughout the world. We know no country in the western world that does not have a classical music broadcaster of the kind New Zealand has had... read more

Offenbach’s anniversary year: Jewish, German, and essentially French; painstaking emergence and eventual triumph

By , 20/06/2019
If you look hard enough, interesting anniversaries generally show up every year. But few recent years have been as interesting as this, especially for one who ranks the two best-known, French birthday celebrants right at the top of their class. It’s the 150th anniversary of Berlioz’s death (on 8 March this year); and the 200th anniversary of the birth of two of the most successful composers of light opera, or... read more

Rebranding strikes academia: Victoria University victim of corporate-style image-making

By , 31/07/2018
In a radical break from the knitting pattern that Middle C usually follows, I am driven to raise my voice to protest about the planned rebranding of my alma-mater, Victoria University of Wellington, or simply ‘Vic’ as it has always been universally known. Music in Wellington has its most important educational institution in Victoria University. This 'review' is prompted by the publication of Dave Armstrong’s column in this morning’s Dominion... read more

Musical anniversaries: composers and music

By , 21/06/2018
Composer-related dates interest me This bit of pointless research began as an appendix to my review of Supertonic’s concert on Sunday 20 May in the Pipitea Marae. It was prompted in that review by the death in 1918 of Lili Boulanger, one of whose songs was performed there. In an appendix to that review I mentioned the obvious ones: Debussy’s death 100 years ago, Bernstein’s birth 100 years ago, Gounod’s birth... read more

Lower Hutt Little Theatre gets new Steinway, but several much cheaper improvements still needed

By , 04/05/2014
On Sunday friends of the piano were invited to see and hear the new Steinway that had been bought for the Lower Hutt Little Theatre. Replacing the earlier Steinway which had been used in the Little Theatre since the 1950s, it had arrived and been run-in. Ten years ago at the urging of players, teachers and audiences the Hutt City Council set about building up a fund for the purchase... read more

The Ginger Series tackles classical music with a captivating, oblique apologia

By , 27/11/2013
One has waited quite a while for this brilliant little series of monographs to find a writer able to deal with what the media likes to suggest is about the most intractable (and irrelevant) of artistic fields: classical music. The many subjects covered so far have included such quirky topics as bird watching, watching video games, how to pick a winner, fishing, as well as more serious matters like listening to... read more

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