Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Category: Live performance

First in the world with a normal public concert : NZSO’s record, celebrating the emergence from Covid 19 lock-down

By , 26/06/2020
The orchestra announced that this was the first post-pandemic concert by a professional symphony orchestra anywhere in the World in front of a full audience: the extraordinary achievement of intelligent and clear-sighted management of our response by government and people. The programme’s content and balance was carefully thought out, with a couple of pieces by established New Zealand composers, opera arias, Māori songs and one extended orchestral work. And there... read more

Moving and delightful recital of German Lieder at St Andrew’s

By , 24/06/2020
Though we missed St Andrew’s lunchtime concert last week celebrating the survival of live music in public places, this was warmly encouraging with a back-to-normal audience, from two graduate students at Victoria University's School of Music. The last time I heard Will King was in Eternity Opera’s production of The Marriage of Figaro in 2017. Though I’d like to hear him again in opera, this recital showed him as a... read more

Orchestra Wellington’s second concert featuring Mozart violin concertos and city-named symphonies

By , 13/06/2020
This second programme in Orchestra Wellington’s ‘recovery’ series of concerts at St Andrew’s continued with the twin themes: the last three of the five violin concertos written in 1775 when Mozart was 19 {if we don’t count the dubious violin concerto “No 7 (K 271a/271i)”}; and the three symphonies that bear place names. Now in the pandemic’s ‘alert level 1’, this was a full house, if we don’t count the... read more

Orchestra Wellington restores live music to the city with Mozart at St Andrews

By , 09/06/2020
This was the first of three concerts entitled "Amalia and Friends" featuring three violin concerti and three symphonies by Mozart:  "Paris", "Prague" and "Linz". After nearly three months of lockdown without live music, this first outing for Orchestra Wellington was an almost festive occasion for its Wellington audience.  Over the past weeks the NZSO has invited us in to individual members' homes for cameo performances in the "engage@home Play... read more

Scrupulous and spirited choral concert from Netherlands Chamber Choir

By , 07/03/2020
The Netherlands Chamber Choir has a fine reputation in the more sophisticated realms of international choirs. Brahms motet I have to confess, as a lover of Brahms’s orchestral, piano and chamber music, that neither his Lieder nor his choral works have appealed to me greatly: especially the a cappella pieces.  Warum ist das Licht gegeben dem Mühseligen? (‘Why has light been given to the weary soul?’) is one of a pair... read more

Splendid piano-four-hands recital crowned by the Schubert Fantasie in F minor: Emma Sayers and Rachel Thomson

By , 04/03/2020
Here was a charming and admirable lunchtime recital: the ideal recipe for cleansing your emotions and mind of the wild, eccentric experiences of this year’s Festival: in my case a Kopernikus and a Mad King in close proximity. Piano duets can be edgy affairs as they demand a perfection of ensemble that’s called for from hardly any other musicians who play together. Apart from the Schubert, this was not heavy-weight... read more

Festival stages remarkable, eccentric opera by Canadian, Claude Vivier

By , 01/03/2020
It hasn’t been hard to have missed references in the international musical press to a very unusual opera by an unorthodox, fairly obscure composer. Think again if you imagined you would be presented with a kind of operatic biography of the great astronomer, for he is merely one of a number of disparate historical and fictional figures that feature in Canadian composer Claude Vivier’s work. A work that that is... read more

Barbara Paterson’s moving operatic portrayal of love in crisis in Poulenc’s monodrama

By , 27/02/2020
My colleague Peter Mechen reviewed what might have been considered the preview performance of Poulenc’s monodrama La voix humaine, on 31 January. But being a huge fan of Poulenc I felt that Paterson's performance in the Festival itself deserved attention. La voix humaine is one of the most remarkable operatic pieces: not merely of the 20th century; not merely on account of the music which is a tremblingly vivid evocation of... read more

NZSO, Gorecki and Ponifasio/MAU share singularly successful juxtaposing of utterly disparate creations, of profound common human vulnerabilities

By , 21/02/2020
It might have been slightly unusual to open a festival with a work (two works?) whose subject was the nature of woman, childbirth, even death, and dealing indirectly with one of the most terrible episodes in history. However, it drew attention to the way in which this festival has been created and conceived. Substantially put together by three leading figures in the performing arts, ‘Guest Curators’, carefully chosen with attention... read more

Michael Houstoun bows out triumphantly at Waikanae in the company of the Amici Ensemble

By , 09/02/2020
The first concert in the Waikanae Music Society’s 2020 season welcomed the audience with a ‘Full House’ notice at the door: meaning that around 500 filled the hall. It was a celebration of Michael Houstoun’s long career: his last concert for the society which has hosted him regularly since 1986. He played in the company of Donald Armstrong’s Amici Ensemble which has also been a major and very popular... read more

Panorama Theme by Themocracy