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Category: Reviews – Recordings

Now on CD! – Claire Cowan’s incandescent score for the RNZB’s recent “Hansel and Gretel”, played by the NZSO with Hamish McKeich

By , 22/12/2020
After reading various reviews of the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s production of Auckland composer Claire Cowan’s Hansel and Gretel, toured by the company during 2019, I’m left feeling like one of the “gentlemen of England now abed” from Shakespeare’s Henry V play, those whom the monarch prophesised would “think themselves accurs’d” for not being at Agincourt to share in the splendour of the occasion’s success. And now, having listened... read more

Compelling Beethoven recordings from Eugene Albulescu

By , 08/12/2020
It’s a measure of the remarkable staying power of Beethoven’s music that new performances and recordings of works that many of us know so well through having heard them countless times over the years simply keep coming (and show no signs of abating two hundred and fifty years after the composer’s birth).  Having recently heard a good deal of the New Zealand String Quartet’s acclaimed traversal of the great... read more

Gareth Farr’s “Chemin des Dames” Concerto and Elgar’s ‘Cello Concerto together a powerful “concerted” statement on disc

By , 02/12/2020
I tried, I REALLY DID try to NOT look at my previous review for “Middle C” of the concert featuring the Gareth Farr 'Cello concerto played by the same ‘cellist, Sébastien Hurtaud (also with the NZSO, though with a different conductor, Hamish McKeich) before writing this present review of the piece’s CD recording – of course, it was a different performance which needed to be “responded to” on its... read more

Splendiferous sounds captured on CD from Christchurch Town Hall’s rejuvenated Rieger organ courtesy of Martin Setchell

By , 29/11/2020
This recording, “Resounding Aftershocks”  broke an eight-year silence for the Christchurch Town Hall Rieger organ which followed the catastrophic 2011 earthquakes, and, as befitted the occasion, celebrated the instrument’s return to full prowess in heady fashion! Organist Martin Setchell’s long-established brilliance and elan as a performer is here demonstrated to the utmost thanks to the skills and expertise of the disc’s sound engineer Mike Clayton, capturing the occasion most... read more

“Morgen” – pianist Rae de Lisle makes a welcome return to performing, with ‘cellist Andrew Joyce – and with help from Julia Joyce

By , 04/08/2020
This recording has gone to the top of my “play for friends” list!  The beauty and expressiveness of it all instantly captivates whomever I demonstrate the disc to, and never fails to re-ignite my own initial struck-dumb response  – beginning as a “double distillation” of beauty, with Andrew Joyce’s ‘cello and Rae de Lisle’s piano exquisitely duetting their way through vistas of the utmost enchantment, it transforms into a... read more

Third volume of Richard Farrell piano recordings a fascinating collection of till-now unreleased treasures

By , 16/12/2019
The third volume of recordings of piano performances by Richard Farrell (1926 – 1958) has appeared, nine years after the first volume. Apart from a couple of small pieces, none have been commercially released though Peter Mechen (who was the assistant producer and undertook research) reminds me that the Tchaikovsky concerto was played by the then Concert Programme in the 1980s and the Liszt recital was broadcast as part... read more

Orchestra Wellington – gone vinyl to splendid effect with live Beethoven

By , 06/06/2019
I was there at the 2018 concert when conductor Marc Taddei and Orchestra Wellington launched their ground-breaking classical recording release of two Beethoven Symphonies, recorded “live” at separate Michael Fowler Centre concerts the previous year – and what was more, caught on two splendidly appointed vinyl discs which were displayed most tellingly to a visibly gobsmacked and positively enthusiastic audience. Being an originally-pressed vinyl aficionado, I failed to take... read more

Brahms’ String Quintets on Naxos – graceful, beautifully-lit readings by the NZSQ with Maria Lambros (viola)

By , 23/03/2019
Playing and getting to know this disc recorded in Canada as long ago as 2016 has been, for me, a salutary experience on a couple of counts – firstly it’s been a recrimination of sorts, one that’s asked me in no uncertain tones of disapproval, why I hadn’t sought out and explored this venture by one of our most renowned and treasured musical ensembles before now! A different kind... read more

Rachmaninov from Rustem Hayroudinoff, via Halida Dinova……

By , 02/06/2018
What on earth, you are asking, am I doing reviewing a CD by a pianist whose name would be largely unknown to New Zealand audiences? The answer is that Rustem Hayroudinoff is the brother of the remarkable Tatarstan pianist Halida Dinova who has relatively recently toured New Zealand on two occasions, giving, at the Lower Hutt Little Theatre during her visit here in 2012, one of the most remarkable... read more

Pianist Tony Chen Lin’s debut CD for Rattle a must-hear….

By , 01/05/2018
My first encounter with Tony Chen Lin was in 2008 at Kerikeri’s International Piano Competition, in which he was awarded what I’ve always regarded as a “too close to call” second place to his friend Jun Bouterey-Ishido. Since then I’ve heard each of them some years afterwards give separate recitals in Wellington; and while appreciating the unique excellence of each, I’m still unable to pronounce either of them the... read more

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