Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

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Camerata’s latest “Haydn in the Church” concert – joyous antiphonal splendours, heart-rending beauties and al fresco hi-jinks!

By , 13/12/2018
I couldn't remember when I'd last heard JS Bach’s Double Violin Concerto “live” when first posting this review – thanks to violinist Anne Loeser, who reminded me of a 2012 performance by the NZSO strings, I've had to sheepishly modify my previous "never before live" declaration; but, to my shame, it gets worse! - I actually reviewed the performance in Middle C! Oh, dear! - I'm dumbfounded as to... read more

Eternity Opera sings triumphantly once again at Wellington’s Hannah Playhouse – Puccini’s Madam Butterfly

By , 16/11/2018
Eternity Opera’s presentation at Wellington‘s Hannah Playhouse of one of the most famous of all grand operas, Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, used a reduced orchestral accompaniment, a “rhyming” English translation of the Italian, and cut one of the more colourful episodes in the work’s Second Act, albeit involving the brief appearance of a “lesser”character. And yet, despite these diminutions of the original, the piece worked its usual theatrical and... read more

Great performances of unfamiliar Bartók and major Dvořák introduced by young geniuses

By , 27/10/2018
Each year, one of Orchestra Wellington’s concerts is embellished by a contribution from Arohnui Strings, the Sistema-inspired children’s orchestra based in the Hutt Valley. They took their places at the beginning of the concert in the place of most of the regular strings of Orchestra Wellington, interspersed by a few of the professionals to lend some body to the sound. The nerves and excitement of the young players infected... read more

Choral concert to celebrate new digital organ at Cathedral of Saint Paul

With the organ moved to the side, the rather small audience had full view of the choirs in their red cassocks.  In his introduction, Michael Stewart referred to ‘choral blockbusters’; we had a few of them!  First was Handel’s famous coronation anthem ‘Zadok the Priest’.  It was sung with the usual robust cheerfulness, as was the next anthem, Parry’s ‘I was glad’.  Richard Apperley accompanied this in fine style... read more

Inspirare’s partnership with Youth Choirs a resounding success

By , 15/09/2018
This second concert that I’ve attended which featured the voices of Inspirare, a choir founded by their director, Mark L.Stamper, couldn’t have been more different from the first one (an inspirational performance of Sergei Rachmaninov’s All Night Vigil earlier this year), but was equally impressive in achieving what it had obviously set out to do. In the same venue as where the previous concert had held its audience spellbound... read more

Orchestra Wellington – a “Golden” beginning to its 2018 season

By , 09/06/2018
Orchestra Wellington and Marc Taddei got their 2018 season off to an arresting start with a concert of three resplendent-sounding works, one whose effect simply got more and more celebratory and engaging as the evening went on. Aiding and abetting this state of things was the welcome presence of guest Concertmaster Wilma Smith, and a goodly-numbered audience whose support for the orchestra was richly rewarded. First came what I... read more

Orpheus – a Dance Drama – beautiful, complex and thought-provoking work from Michael Parmenter

By , 16/03/2018
The "Orpheus legend" is obviously one of the seminal "stories" which has contributed towards western civilisation's view of itself and its place in the world down the ages. Orpheus himself is a multi-faceted figure whose qualities and exploits have been variously treated and interpreted at different stages, a process that continues to this day, as witness choreopher Michael Parmenter's ambitious and wide-ranging "take" on the character's far-reaching exploits. Most people... read more

A polished and scrupulously studied recital by male vocal quartet, Aurora IV

By , 22/11/2017
I’m fairly sure that this was my first hearing of Aurora IV, a male vocal quartet whose repertoire stretches from the 16th to the 21st century, though I have long been familiar with Simon Christie’s voice and recall hearing Richard Taylor in other groups, particularly The Tudor Consort. One of the characteristics of the recital was the choice of words and music from widely separate eras. Thus the opening piece... read more

Excellent concert, with the old and the new, from NZTrio in a different City Gallery space

It was encouraging to see a largely young audience, including a number of professional musicians, at NZ Trio’s concert.  However, there were a lot of empty seats. The Ireland work began with a surging start, and immediately it was apparent what a good venue this was for chamber music (I had never been to a concert in this gallery before)..  The gallery was resonant, but there was no echo.  Despite... read more

Maximum Minimalism – simple, state-of-the-art complexities from Stroma

By , 19/10/2017
“Maximum Minimalism” was the wittily oxymoronic title for this concert by Wellington’s (New Zealand’s?) premiere contemporary music ensemble, Stroma. “Minimalism” was the name bestowed on a group of American composers who, in the 1960s, reacted against the forbidding complexity of atonal and serial music and began (largely independently of each other) employing the extended repetition of simple elements. Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Terry Riley were the pioneers (La... read more

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