Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Category: Live performance

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

Big audience for the first NZSO Shed series avoiding the mainstream classics

By , 31/01/2020
The idea of using the first of its Shed concerts to open the NZSO’s 2020 series proved a winner, as there was a bigger audience than I’ve seen at these before and the result was an endorsement of the idea of a less than formal affair to attract a different audience. Everyone I spoke to agreed that it had attracted people you wouldn’t see in the Michael Fowler Centre... read more

Large audience for a delightful concert by Camerata chamber orchestra

By , 16/12/2019
Camerata’s vision is to ‘perform high quality joyful chamber music accessible alike to newcomers and classical aficionados’. The small chamber orchestra includes members of Wellington’s professional orchestras as well as students and graduates of the NZ School of Music. It is a very accomplished ensemble. Corelli: Christmas Concerto Anne Loeser and Ursula Evans violins, Robert Ibell, cello This is probably Corelli’s most popular work, often featured in anthologies of Christmas music. It is now... read more

Wellington Chamber Orchestra succeeds with Šinkovec Burstin in Grieg piano concerto, and other Nordic classics

By , 08/12/2019
In my review of Jian Liu’s performance two years ago of Grieg’s Piano Concerto I remarked that I was mystified that it continued to be considered a popular, even hackneyed work when, for many years, it’s been so little performed. That lovely performance with Jian Liu may have prompted the Wellington Chamber Orchestra to take a look at it. If so they served themselves and Edvard Grieg very well Helios  Nielsen’s... read more

Haydn, Brahms and Brigid Bisley in superb recital from Diedre Irons and the Aroha Quartet

By , 01/12/2019
Haydn’s The Bird The last 2019 concert from the Aroha Quartet opened with Haydn’s quartet, The Bird, creating sounds that were quite stunning: not in the normal sense of fortissimo, exciting or cacophonous, but with sounds that were hardly of a string quartet at all. They were of such refinement and purity that they really did evoke the subtlest of bird calls that were pure and secretive, unearthly. The marking... read more

Enthusiastic reception by big audience for Orchestra Wellington’s final 2019 concert of remarkable but unfamiliar music

By , 30/11/2019
This was the last of this year's subscription concerts by Orchestra Wellington. The Michael Fowler Centre was filled almost to capacity, despite the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra playing another concert at the same time in Shed 6. Orchestra Wellington played a difficult programme, made no concession to popular taste, yet it had the largest audience of any orchestra in New Zealand. There is something remarkable about this. I believe... read more

Diverting St Andrew’s lunchtime concert of Baroque wind music

By , 20/11/2019
If your local pub quiz threw a question at you: “Can you name a period when more great composers were born than any other?” The period 1835 – 1845 would be a good guess, or 1855 – 1865. But I’d lay the money on 1678 to 1688. Vivaldi, Rameau, JS Bach, Domenico Scarlatti, Zelenka, Weiss, Telemann, Handel, Porpora, Geminiani, just for starters; and that excludes two of the composers... read more

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

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