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Category: Reviews – Concerts

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

A finely-wrought, light-on-its-feet “Messiah” from Nicholas McGegan with The Tudor Consort and the NZSO

By , 08/12/2018
Just for interest’s sakes I hearkened back to my “Middle C” review of an earlier Messiah here in Wellington conducted by Nicholas McGegan with the NZSO three years previously, one which I hailed as a focused and characterful performance throughout. There was plenty to wax enthusiastic about on that occasion – McGegan’s very “visceral “ way with some of the music’s more pictorial evocations, such as the frisson of excitement he... read more

An “Enchanted Evening” from The Virtuoso Strings with Jonathan Lemalu

By , 03/12/2018
It had all the makings of a large and vital extended-family affair, with the usual concert rituals and parameters given a relaxed and informal spontaneity that readily brought musicians and audience together. I liked the buzz of excitement in both the foyer and the auditorium, one growing out of a sense of being in a friendly crowd and anticipating the delights to come! This was “Some Enchanted Evening”, a presentation... read more

Creative, thrilling and heart-warming conclusion to Orchestra Wellington’s 2018 season

By , 01/12/2018
Well, it was quite a night for Orchestra Wellington! – in front of an enthusiastic and appreciative audience at the Michael Fowler Centre on Saturday evening the musicians put everything they had into making the final night of the orchestra’s 2018 concert season one to remember. We were presented with a line-up of pieces which, if perhaps not all sure-fire crowd-pleasers, perfectly expressed the desire of the orchestra’s organisers... 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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