Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Category: Live performance

Maria Mo: a fine recital by a promising artist at St Andrew’s

By , 17/04/2019

Mario Mo is a talented young pianist at the threshold of her career. She has won awards and scholarships, studied with Katherine Austin at the University of Waikato and then at the Vienna Conservatory and the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. She has had a thorough grounding. She played an ambitious programme.

Beethoven stretches the limits of the piano in the Waldstein Sonata and apart from a... read more

Wide-ranging and imaginative song recital at Waikanae: Mellaerts and Baillieu

By , 14/04/2019
The Waikanae Music society had taken this recital from Chamber Music New Zealand’s associate society series. It was about the last of a ten-concert tour around the country. It was a courageous step since, for many years – decades? – there has been a belief that audiences avoid song recitals; the same belief has been cultivated about piano recitals. There is not a huge amount of evidence for either display... read more

Edo de Waart’s NZSO subscription concert full of charm and affection with Brahms, Elgar and Strauss

By , 13/04/2019
Two professional orchestral concerts on successive days looks more like the style of a significant European city, but here it was the chance to display one of the few remaining signs that Wellington is, or rather, used to be, the country’s cultural capital, a title that has really belonged to Auckland for the past 20 years or so. Orchestra Wellington celebrated the sesquicentenary (150 years) of Berlioz’s death by programming... read more

Dazzling pianist, Alessio Bax, gives sole Wellington performance at Upper Hutt

By , 08/04/2019
Last Thursday, 4 April. RNZ Concert broadcast the usual Thursday concert from the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. It included Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony and Grieg’s Piano Concerto. A generation and more ago it was common to be dismissive of the Grieg concerto, but the classical music world has grown up a bit since then and sensible people with cultivated but unpretentious tastes rate it among the loveliest in the repertoire. I hadn’t... read more

Cantoris, with Thomas Nikora, brings life to Faure, and Rutter to life

By , 06/04/2019
Gabriel Faure’s Requiem, with its relatively intimate, and gentle, largely non-confrontational utterances receives frequent church performance by non-professional choirs in a version with organ accompaniment (there are various other versions extant of the work, two of which are scored with varying orchestral forces, details of which are too impossibly convoluted to even comment on). I’m mentioning this circumstance because I frequently go away from such performances feeling “short-changed” as... read more

Exhilarating piano duet delight at St Andrew’s lunchtime concert

By , 04/04/2019
Some years ago both Nicole Chao and Beth Chen studied with Thomas Hecht at the New Zealand School of Music. They formed a piano duo partnership and have been close friends ever since. They went overseas, studied further, came back, and carried on playing together. Four hands playing on one keyboard is a very difficult form of chamber music. There is no contrast, no different tone colour or timbre to separate... read more

Cathedral organ in major series of important French works: Widor’s second organ symphony

By , 29/03/2019
I missed the first, on 1 March, of this year-long series of recitals by the two organists at the Cathedral of Saint Paul.  These ‘symphonies’ are not well known in New Zealand, and perhaps in most Anglophone countries, apart from the last movement, Toccata, of the fifth symphony. But according to the authoritative Wikipedia the organ symphonies are among his better known works. They represent Widor's early style. Widor’s first four... read more

Poetry and music co-habit most successfully at St Andrew’s lunchtime concert

By , 27/03/2019
The world of music has almost totally overwhelmed the world of poetry. That’s not to say that there has ever been a large, ravenous audience for poetry, particularly over the past couple of centuries. There are probably few people today who have poetry anthologies and even volumes of poetry by the likes of Wordsworth, Keats, Tennyson, Kipling, on their shelves; fewer than those with a piano in the house... read more

Alleluia: varied settings splendidly delivered by Inspirare and Schola Cantorum (St Mark’s School) under Mark Stamper

By , 23/03/2019
Best to start with Mark Stamper’s own description of this concert of settings of ‘Alleluia’: “fourteen unique and innovative settings of this glorious text. The selections will come from different musical periods dating back to the Baroque and on through 2019”. There can be few words or phrases that have inspired such generally positive and hopeful music, though there are other memorable phrases in the Mass. Mark Stamper’s choices were... read more

Michael Endres surrounds Schubert with varied companion pieces at Mulled Wine concert

By , 10/03/2019
The first of this year’s Mulled Wine Concerts, organised by Mary Gow, usually in the Paekakariki Memorial Hall, took place in the South Raumati Hall because the other is undergoing earthquake treatment. It was a fine beginning to the year, musically, but was subject to sound problems (as does the Paekakriki hall to a less degree), broad, hard surfaces that present difficulties for a pianist. It’s easy enough to... read more

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