Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Category: Live performance

First-class performance of a Brahms masterpiece by Vivanti String Sextet

A sizeable audience heard this masterwork from Brahms, played by a sextet made up of members of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (plus friend Martin Jaenecke).  The work is seldom heard, probably because of the difficulty of assembling a sextet.  I don’t think I have heard it live since a concert given by a visiting ensemble in a Festival concert many years go – was it 1988?  1990?  They... read more

Edo de Waart reaffirms his comprehensive Mahlerian authority and insight with Number Seven

The concert was one of Edo de Waart’s ‘Masterworks’ series.  A mammoth symphony of over 80 minutes in length was obviously not everyone’s cup of tea: the front block of seating downstairs was virtually empty.  But it was a tour de force for conductor and orchestra.  The huge variety of musical and instrumental content and the diversity of sounds, timbres and musical ideas bore out Mahler’s well-known saying that... read more

Eighteenth Century German music from two accomplished Wellington early music specialists

By , 07/11/2018
The musicians had asked that this recital be not reviewed. We are happy to comply with this request but because Middle C sees itself as both a vehicle for reviewing music, and an archival record of public classical music performance in Greater Wellington, this is simply an opportunity to record what was played. As well as to comment on the good sized audience and the great pleasure this particular audience... read more

Recital from pianist and concertmaster at Orchestra Wellington’s Saturday concert

By , 30/10/2018
The audience at Orchestra Wellington’s Saturday concert in which Christopher Park played Bartok’s piano concerto No 1 was invited to this lunchtime concert, and came along in good numbers (though fewer than for Johannes Moser after the NZSO concert where he’d played Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto); he was joined by the orchestra’s concert master Amalia Hall, a friend, who was apparently instrumental in getting him to New Zealand to... read more

Great performances of unfamiliar Bartók and major Dvořák introduced by young geniuses

By , 27/10/2018
Each year, one of Orchestra Wellington’s concerts is embellished by a contribution from Arohnui Strings, the Sistema-inspired children’s orchestra based in the Hutt Valley. They took their places at the beginning of the concert in the place of most of the regular strings of Orchestra Wellington, interspersed by a few of the professionals to lend some body to the sound. The nerves and excitement of the young players infected... read more

“Hammers and Horsehair” (joined with birdsong) enchant an Aro St audience in Wellington

By , 25/10/2018
We sat amid soft lighting on comfortable, homely furniture, talking softly with our fellow audience-members while listening to pianist Douglas Mews “tuning up” his square piano and then “playing us in” with music that I for one didn’t know – it actually sounded, appropriately enough, like a kind of improvisation, perfect for warming up player, instrument and our increasingly attentive ears, until all was ready. ‘Cellist Robert Ibell having... read more

A lunchtime concert for the exploratory and spirited on violin and cello

By , 24/10/2018
Duos between the piano and many other instruments are numerous, but between pairs of other instruments, without a keyboard, rare; though string quartets and less often string trios and quintets seem to be popular and work well. This was an opportunity to put it to the test. Halvorsen’s Passacaglia based on a theme from Handel’s harpsichord suite in G minor is not completely obscure. The tune lends itself to variations and... read more

Polished viola student performances of Bach suites plus some unfamiliar music at St Andrew’s

By , 17/10/2018
One rarely goes to a recital by students from Victoria University’s school of music (also known as the New Zealand School of Music and Te Koki), without being surprised to be exposed to interesting, often unfamiliar music played admirably by gifted players. Zephyr Wills began with the first two movements of Schubert’s sonata for Arpeggione, the odd and short-lived hybrid guitar-cello (D 821). No one today plays the weird instrument... read more

Admirable concert of well-chosen music from Wellington Youth Orchestra under Mark Carter

By , 14/10/2018
The last musical occasion I was in the Riley Centre (alias, the school hall) at Wellington High School was, I think, for the splendid International Viola Congress in 2001, led by the indomitable Professor Donald Maurice (as was the most recent one in Wellington in 2016). My recollection of the acoustic then was confirmed on Sunday. The orchestra has tended to confine itself in recent, post-Town Hall years, to... read more

Monumental NZSO concert of Russian masterpieces with cellist Johannes Moser

By , 13/10/2018
This Russian programme might have been expected to be a winner, but it wasn’t, in terms of audience size. However, in terms of musical quality and sheer excitement, it was a tremendous success. It’s a surprise to me that Shostakovich’s 1st cello concerto didn’t fill every seat; does that suggest that our musical horizons are getting narrower every year? For it’s a truly stupendous work, and we heard one of... read more

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