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Category: Reviews – Concerts

NZSO with three widely varied works: two masterpieces and a charming, approachable New Zealand concerto

By , 20/11/2020
The audience at this concert would have been intrigued, as they took their seats, to see some orchestra members finding their way to a row of music stands in the gallery above and behind the orchestra: two players each of first and second violins, violas, cellos and one double bass.  The rest – strings only of course – were in their normal places Vaughan Williams with Tallis The position of players... read more

Unfamiliar music given a chance to shine in characterful performances at St. Andrew’s

By , 18/11/2020
One of the great joys of the lunch time concerts at St. Andrews on the Terrace is that these provide opportunities to hear some of the talented artists living among us, the other is to hear music that otherwise is seldom performed. Rebecca Steel is one of the most experienced flautists around, having played with orchestras both overseas and here in Wellington and Christchurch. Kris Zuelicke moved from Germany... read more

Belated rapture from Orchestra Wellington’s “Rachmaninov 1”, but well worth the wait…..

By , 15/11/2020
Covid-19 has played havoc with many things over 2020, not the least with schedules of music performances, hence the somewhat belated "Rachmaninov 1" title for this concert. Fortunately, the quality of the music and its making seemed unimpaired by any such privations, leaving us grateful all over again for the experience, similar to the feeling engendered by the Orchestra Wellington's previous concert I'd attended - https://middle-c.org/2020/10/riveting-performances-by-the-orpheus-choir-and-orchestra-wellington-of-works-by-faure-and-rachmaninoff/ Here, I found myself... read more

Another entertaining Shed Concert from the NZSO touching the Weimar era

By , 13/11/2020
(Lateness of this review regretted: an intractable computer problem) This was one of the few concerts, including several from the NZSO, which was not cancelled or changed (apart here, from the order of the pieces) by the effect of the Coronavirus. Most concerts have come to be ’named’, in a way intended to reflect the character of the music, and this one was Kabarett, German for the obvious English word: the... read more

Warm response for an innovative “Seen-and-Heard” Kristallnacht Concert at Wellington’s Public Trust Hall

By , 09/11/2020
I was surprised to find, upon arriving at the Public Trust Hall a good quarter-of-an-hour before the concert’s scheduled starting time, at least three-quarters of the seats already filled, and the queues still bringing people in – by the time I got my ticket sorted I found myself almost at the back of the hall, and was left wondering how I could possibly get from such a position a... read more

Wellington vocal trio delights its Whanganui audience with a “charmer” of a programme…..

By , 08/11/2020
This delightful concert was the second of three concerts I was scheduled to attend and review over three consecutive days – and now, looking back at the three events while writing the notices for this second one , I’m suddenly reminded of Franz Liszt’s description of the Allegretto movement in the middle of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata Op. 27 No. 2, commonly nicknamed the “Moonlight” Sonata. Liszt called the movement... read more

Adventurous programming and bold concert presentation from The Capital Band, at Vogelmorn Hall, Brooklyn

By , 07/11/2020
The success of The Capital Band’s first concert (reviewed by Middle C in September of this year – see https://middle-c.org/2020/09/a-memorable-debut-by-a-new-ensemble-the-capital-band-presents-works-by-mozart-and-schubert/) augured well for this, the ensemble’s second outing at the same venue, particularly in view of the announced programme’s adventurous spirit, incorporating as it did a “spoken word” performance element in some shape or form associated with the music of JS Bach. It all added interest to the... read more

Remarkable NZSO concert of Bach family music inspired by Vesa-Matti Leppänen, Diedre Irons and Andrew Joyce

By , 31/10/2020
This was a very novel and interesting enterprise by the orchestra, partly on account of the venue, the surprisingly spacious hall at Wellington College. In the light of the lack in Wellington of a suitable auditorium that seats between 300 and 2000, apart from St Mary of the Angels and the Anglican cathedral, this space, presumably able to seat around 1500, could be useful for large musical events. W F... read more

Admirable Waikanae chamber music from friends of a non-existant Wilma Smith

By , 26/10/2020
This concert was to have been given by ‘Wilma and Friends’ – that is Wilma Smith, the former concertmaster of the New Zealand and Melbourne symphony orchestras; she lives in Victoria and was prevented from travelling; Martin Riseley, head of violin at the New Zealand School of Music at Victoria University stepped in, as did cellist Andrew Joyce and violist Nicholas Hancox from the NZSO. ‘Wilma and Friends’ has not... read more

“Timeless” classics with a twist – latest in the NZSO’s “Podium” Series

By , 24/10/2020
This was the last concert of a tour of five centres. It was a programme of safe music by Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven, nothing to intimidate a conservative audience, though Beethoven laid down major challenges that audiences have grappled with since the work was first performed by the Schuppanzigh Quartet in 1825. The orchestra was reduced to strings two horns, oboes, clarinets bassoons and a flute. There were no... read more

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