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Category: Reviews – Concerts

Alleluia: many settings from Inspirare and Schola Cantorum (St Mark’s School) under Mark Stamper

By , 23/03/2019
The settings of Alleluia were by: Keith Christopher, Lyn Williams, Ralph Manuel, David Conte, Thomas LaVoy, Srul Irving Glick, Eric Whitacre, Handel, Paul Basler, Randall Thompson, Beethoven, Leonard Cohen (arr. Philip Lawson), Sydney Guillaume, David... read more

Wilma and Friends win all hearts at Wellington Chamber Music’s first 2019 concert

By , 13/03/2019
Beginning the year with the musical equivalent of a hiss and a roar is always a good sign for what might follow – and Wellington Chamber Music organisers can feel well-pleased with their opening offering for 2019, regarding both repertoire and the performances. In fact I sat there throughout this concert imagining, for some reason, how much “better” it all possibly might be were one in London, Berlin or... read more

Michael Endres surrounds Schubert with varied companion pieces at Mulled Wine concert

By , 10/03/2019
The first of this year’s Mulled Wine Concerts, organised by Mary Gow, usually in the Paekakariki Memorial Hall, took place in the South Raumati Hall because the other is undergoing earthquake treatment. It was a fine beginning to the year, musically, but was subject to sound problems (as does the Paekakriki hall to a less degree), broad, hard surfaces that present difficulties for a pianist. It’s easy enough to... read more

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

From The Night Watch – “Love Me Tender” – a Baroque-style celebration of love’s intangibility

This is a new ensemble in town, 'The Night Watch' (after the Rembrandt painting, though both the Martinborough and Wellington concerts were held in daylight hours).  This group is a combo of New Zealand singers and instrumentalists with several Australian baroque instrumentalists from Sydney. Despite the geography, there was no time separation here; the playing was magnificently co-ordinated and presented, under the direction of Catherine Mackintosh, a veteran of English ensembles The Orchestra of the... read more

Adam Chamber Music Festival in Nelson; the second installment, of Monday and Tuesday reviews

By , 05/02/2019
Perhaps the decision to celebrate the restoration of the organ in the Nelson School of Music took a slightly eccentric course, by programming some pieces by Mozart. For while Mozart is known to have enjoyed playing, especially improvising on, organs wherever he encountered them, he wrote scarcely anything specifically for the organ. The Andante in F, K 616, written a short time before he died, is the only music that... 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

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