Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Category: Reviews – Concerts

Late afternoon sunlight

By , 01/05/2022
This was the first concert of a new season for Wellington Chamber Music, and the organisers must have been anxious. The pandemic has changed audiences and the business of giving concerts. Would they come? They needn’t have worried. St Andrew’s was pleasantly full for this delightful concert, featuring Rachel Vernon on clarinet. The Aroha Quartet have been regular performers here over the years – they were founded in 2004 – and... read more

Wellington Youth Orchestra – an appealing programme delivered with rich orchestral sound

By , 30/04/2022
This was a delightful program of very appealing music, appropriate for the young musicians of the Wellington Youth Orchestra. The orchestra has grown in size since I last reviewed their concert in 2019, when they were short of strings. This time there were 26 violins, 5 violas, 6 cellos, 2 basses, and a full complement of winds, brass and percussion, and they produced a rich orchestral sound. The program... read more

Music of our time – Duo Enharmonics and Ensemble Gȏ, at St.Andrew’s

By , 20/04/2022
This was a varied concert of mainly short works by contemporary composers, two New Zealanders, Ross Harris and John Psathas, one Turkish, Fazil Say, and two American, Paul Schoenfeld and Glenn Stallcop. They are hardly household names, but this short concert of about 60 minutes gave us a glimpse of what composers of the present time are writing, although each of the five pieces on the programme were quite... read more

Taioro – words and music of Aotearoa New Zealand at St.Andrew’s-on-The-Terrace, Wellington

By , 16/02/2022
This lunchtime concert at St.Andrew’s-on-The-Terrace furthered what’s become a refreshing change of late for ears inundated in the past with “standard” repertoire and presentations – a recital of words and music from a recently-formed group, Taioro, presenting works whose origins and inspirations stemmed from our own place, Aotearoa New Zealand.  Of course, there’s an impressively-growing body of work already emanating from our own composers, with names too numerous to... read more

William Berry – a “young lion of the keyboard” at St.Andrew’s

By , 30/01/2022
I was invited to attend this concert merely as a listener rather than as a reviewer; but the playing of eighteen year-old William Berry, a finalist in last year’s National Competition, calls, I think, for some comment by way of appreciation of what I consider to be the young performer’s tremendous talent. The competition he’s about to take part in stipulates two thirty-minute programmes of music chosen by the... read more

Christmas in 1677

By , 18/12/2021
The Queen’s Closet is an early music ensemble specialising in ‘historically-inspired’ performance of music from the English Restoration (1660-1714, approximately) on period instruments at Baroque pitches.  The focus of this concert was two works by the Habsburg composer Pavel Vejvanovsky (c. 1633-1693), with a piece each by Fux and Volckmar. The performers were members of The Queen’s Closet (Sarah Marten and Emma Brewerton (violins), Lyndsay Mountfort (viola), Jane Young... read more

Dolce e misterioso

By , 18/12/2021
The City Gallery invited Nota Bene to perform a short programme (about 20 minutes of a capella music) to accompany their exhibition of the Swedish mystical painter, Hilma af Klint, in the upper gallery of the exhibition. The original idea was that the concert would provide agreeable background music: a sympathetic soundscape in which to view the works. But conductor Shawn Condon put together a programme of works for women’s voices by Swedish, Estonian, Finnish... read more

Steadfast Wellington Chamber Orchestra brings off an exhilarating concert to finish an eventful year

By , 12/12/2021
Congratulations right at the outset are in order to whomever devised such a scintillating programme for the Wellington Chamber Orchestra to finish this remarkably unpredictable year of years with!  It certainly was one that made up in part for earlier schedules being plagued by the vagaries of Covid-19 and the resulting ripplings of disruption! Here we were freely delivered plenty of satisfyingly full-blooded excitements and festive revelries, side-by-side with... read more

Brahms’ Schicksalslied gives its name to a programme of uplifting music from the NZSO

By , 25/11/2021
Welcome back! We have been starved of orchestral concerts for the last three months. It was a delight to have a full symphony orchestra on the stage, albeit with the players discreetly separated. A very special welcome back was due to James Judd, who was principal conductor of the NZSO for some eight years, and who has been closely associated with the orchestra ever since. And a great thank... read more

Firstly sparks, and then a conflagration – pianist Otis Prescott-Mason in recital

By , 20/11/2021
Having heard, and spoken or written about so many piano recitals and recordings over the years in a critical capacity, I’m finding myself these days increasingly gravitating towards performances that bring to the fore a sense of sheer enjoyment of and involvement in the music’s playing. On the strength of what I heard at St.Andrews’ Church last Saturday afternoon, the young Wellington pianist Otis Prescott-Mason seemed to me to... read more

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