Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Category: Live performance

NZSO’s season-opening concert splendid, popular programme under Hamish McKeich

By , 27/02/2019
After nearly a fortnight touring this programme through seven towns throughout the country, the NZSO reached Wellington, where there was probably some expectation of highly polished performances. It was the first of the orchestra’s 16-concert, Podium Series. The surprise, to a certain extent, was that the orchestra not only seemed to have achieved a wonderful degree of clarity and flawlessness, but that it had lost no sense of spontaneity... read more

Direct from Nelson: Dénes Várjon and Izabella Simon in singular, absorbing solo and duet piano music

By , 17/02/2019
This concert was, reportedly, arranged through a somewhat unorthodox arrangement between the Adam Chamber Music Festival in Nelson and the Waikanae society. I’d spent five days in Nelson and had heard Dénes Várjon playing about four times, including once with his wife Izabella. One of them included the Hammerklavier as well as the last sonata, Op 111; but the first three pieces in this recital were played after I... read more

Tudor Consort opens 2019 season with Renaissance madrigals at summer concert in the sun

By , 16/02/2019
The first concert of the Tudor Consort’s year was in a different place and sang music that was different from their normal pattern. Yes, it was from the Renaissance – almost entirely composed in the 16th century, the Tudor age, and the first couple of decades of the 17th. (Purcell was the only one seriously out of place). And the music was not written for choirs or large ensembles; nor... read more

Adam Chamber Music Festival in Nelson: the first days

By , 03/02/2019
This was the first festival for five years that has been able to move back to the now magnificently enhanced Nelson School of Music (now called the Nelson Centre of Musical Arts). That, as well as the line-up of many top international musicians, saw the early sell-out of all but one of the nine superb evening concerts. That’s attributable also to the festival’s international reputation, attracting many people from... read more

Bach Choir celebrates Saint Cecilia, exploring interesting and important music with flair and taste

By , 16/12/2018
This was a famous concert: not many musical organisations survive for fifty years. In Wellington, only the NZSO and the Orpheus Choir can claim that (and I await outraged contradictions); though it might be possible to add Chamber Music New Zealand, a very important music promoter, which began as a Wellington society in 1945 and spread its reach nationally within a few years. The Bach Choir has had a distinguished... read more

Wellington Chamber Orchestra with rewarding and interesting music from Britain and Armenia

It was tempting to describe this as a concert of unfamiliar twentieth-century music, however the symphony was composed and first performed in the 1880s. An enthusiastic audience filled the church to hear this interesting programme, that began with the rather elusive, indefinite opening of the Finzi work.  This had once been intended to be part of a symphony, but it never eventuated, and after many years, the work was completed... read more

A triumphant culmination of Pinchgut Opera’s work in Sydney: Hasse’s Artaserse

By , 05/12/2018
Though exposure to pre-Mozart opera, even of Gluck, has been infrequent in New Zealand, a great deal of 17th and 18th century opera has become main-stream in the Northern Hemisphere. There is hardly a composer of that period, acclaimed in his (or her) lifetime and then forgotten for 200 years, whose music has not been brushed off in recent years and played in a way that echoes the way... read more

Beautiful, visceral, hypnotic, disconcerting – Stroma’s “essential experimental” at Wellington’s Pyramid Club

By , 29/11/2018
The venue really brought it all alive, in a way that I thought a more conventional concert-chamber-like place wouldn’t have done. In the most positive way we in the audience seemed to be “put at ease” by the “late-night club” surroundings at Taranaki Street’s Pyramid Club, and, rather than attending a concert, were instead made to feel we were “eavesdropping” on the ongoing creative processes constituting and shaping each... read more

Baroque music, rare and familiar, in a happy St Andrew’s concert

A larger-than-average audience came to hear this programme of a mixture  of familiar and unfamiliar baroque works. Sometimes musical (and other) works from the past are lost sight of because their worth is slight.  This seemed to me to be true of the Cervetto piece.  Extraordinary as it is to read of a a composer from 17th-18th centuries who lived to be at least 101 (c.1682-1783), his music didn’t live... read more

Rutter’s lovely Magnificat accompanied by carols of bells and the Orpheus Choir in sold out concert

By , 24/11/2018
Though conductor Brent Stewart entertained the audience with his introduction to the unconventional Carol of the Bells, he waited till its end before engaging in his lively promotion of the choir's next year’s programme, using the choir to sing striking excerpts from Mozart’s Requiem and Carmina Burana by Carl Orff. As well, he mentioned three concerts in which the choir will sing with both Orchestra Wellington and the New... read more

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