Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Category: Live performance

NZSO and Orchestra Wellington players, with a Slovenian pianist deliver fine performances of Mendelssohn and Mozart

By , 13/11/2019
Listening to a concert of happy, delightful music is a lovely way of whiling away a lunch hour. This week members of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Wellington presented a programme of charming music by Mendelssohn and Mozart. Mendelssohn: String Symphony No. 2 The prodigious talent of Mendelssohn is hard to comprehend. He grew up in a home that was a gathering place for writers, musicians and artists. He... read more

Cantoris steps up to two of the great choral masterpieces, successfully in the face of difficulties

By , 09/11/2019
Handel’s Dixit Dominus was written in 1707 for the church of Santa Maria in Montesanto in Rome. He was in Italy between 1706 and 1710 and composed operas for Florence and Venice, but because the Vatican in Rome forbade opera, Handel wrote dramatic works in concert form, the most famous of which is the Dixit Dominus which is drawn from Psalm 110, part of the Catholic Vespers service, and... read more

NZSO: Salonen’s Violin Concerto points in a fruitful, inspiring direction; Schubert’s Greatness persists through 200 years

By , 08/11/2019
Here was another NZSO concert that merited a bigger audience. Again, as at the 24 October concert, the gallery was well inhabited but the stalls rather sparse. A concert that is dominated by a very long work, unless by Mahler or perhaps Bruckner, suffers from a lack of variety and there needs to be a smaller, first-half piece that will overcome it, probably a familiar and well-loved concerto. Finnish conductor... read more

Diverting and varied concert in The Queen’s Closet, devoted to all the pleasures at the Prefab

By , 03/11/2019
The lively atmosphere of the Prefab on Jessie Street provides a happy environment for all kinds of music, not least for classical music of all kinds. It facilitates experimental and early music, instrumental and choral, serious and whatever the opposite might be. The Queen’s Closet consists partly of NZSO and Orchestra Wellington players as well as some whose provenance I don’t know. The English Restoration They devote themselves to the Restoration, the... read more

Exceptional recital from Alexander Gavrylyuk gets tumultuous applause at Waikanae

By , 03/11/2019
Alexander Gavrylyuk, the internationally celebrated Ukranian/Australian pianist, has become a regular visitor to Waikanae. He played there in 2017 and 2016, so I knew that we would be in for an exceptional concert. Peter Mechen, my colleague at Middle C, had written about the pianist's ability to enchant his listeners with every note and in doing so, display a Sviatoslav Richter-like capacity to invest each sound with a kind... read more

Diverting recital by senior NZSM tutors Inbal Megiddo and Jian Liu at St Andrew’s lunchtime

By , 30/10/2019
A larger than usual audience came in from the sun to hear these two members of the music faculty of Victoria University (known as the New Zealand School of Music). Boccherini They began with one of Boccherini’s cello sonatas: one on A major. A look at the Boccherini catalogue shows 29 cello ‘sonatas, for cello solo (and basso)’, which is believed to mean probably a second cello; most were written when... read more

Three Beethoven string quartets from brilliant Ébène Quartet: part of their world-wide project

By , 25/10/2019
The concert by the Ébène Quartet was probably the most looked forward to concert of the 2019 Chamber Music New Zealand series, though Middle C this year is not really in a position to make a comprehensive comparison. We missed at least a couple of concerts, including that by the Brodsky Quartet in May. Ébène is a quartet with far more strings to its bows than merely hard-core classical stuff... read more

Admirable NZSO concert touching several rewarding themes: all German apart from Ken Young’s new piece

By , 24/10/2019
I had guessed perhaps a bit cynically, that this might not be a hugely well attended concert. The balcony was well populated but the stalls were rather thin. The absentees made a serious mistake. Its programme looked unorthodox: a relatively brief concerto for horn, an overture at the beginning of the second half, and two symphonies. And a new composition by Ken Young to mark the 250th anniversary of Cook’s... read more

Intelligent programming of piano duets from markedly contrasted pianists at St Andrew’s

By , 23/10/2019
Outside it is a bleak, stormy day, but step inside St. Andrews, get warm and listen to some beautiful music and you feel better. Sunny Cheng and Kris Zuelicke are both experienced, skilled pianists, active performers and piano teachers in Wellington. They make a formidable a piano duet team. Their senses of the piano are different; one hears the piano as more of a percussive, rhythmic instrument, while the... read more

HK Gruber’s critique of classical music with the NZSO a hit with a younger, if smaller, audience

By , 10/10/2019

'Why serious?' the programme notes asks, presumably quoting HK Gruber. The music in this programme was meant to be fun. Gruber wanted to make music simple, approachable, and break down the demarcation between classical and popular music. Simplicity, however does not mean stupidity. Gruber's models were Kurt Weill and Hans Eisler, and their iconoclastic music of Berlin of the 1920s. So this evening's music was a long way... read more

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