Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

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New Zealand String Quartet triumphantly reaches the heights of Beethoven’s Late Quartets

By , 23/09/2020
Violist Gillian Ansell opened the concert with cheerful and interesting remarks about the significance of Beethoven’s last quartets, written well after the last piano sonatas, the Missa Solemnis, the Choral Symphony, and the Diabelli Variations. Quartet in F, Opus 135 This concert included the last that he wrote, Op 135, and the second, written for his patron Prince Galitzin, Op 132 which contains the remarkable Heiliger Dankgesang. In between was the... read more

“May the earth not be made desolate …” – Invocations from The Tudor Consort

By , 04/09/2020
It is an eerie reminder of how little the human condition has changed over time when we consider that, in the 21st century, our approach to dealing with a global pandemic is essentially medieval: practices of social distancing and quarantine have their origins in the 14th century when European populations were trying to control outbreaks of the bubonic plague. While we now have an 0800 Healthline number that we... read more

Orchestra Wellington concert triumphs despite first-half technical glitch

By , 25/07/2020
Saturday evening’s concert by Orchestra Wellington, the first of the ensemble’s somewhat rearranged 2020 season, promised to be something of a blockbuster occasion, with two justly famous (for vastly different reasons) works from the Russian  repertoire together making for an evening’s spectacular music-making. Long regarded as one of the most difficult and demanding of romantic piano concertos, Rachmaninov’s legendary D minor work has proven an irresistible challenge for many... read more

A piano recital that disabused one of certain beliefs and expectations

By , 20/03/2020
The audience at this diverting little concert at St Andrew’s was not large, as alarm at the spread of Covid-19 has become more intense. The happy few were interestingly entertained, at what could well be a very rare event for some time. Ursula Gabriele Gschwendtner has lived in New Zealand since 1996 and calls herself “a classical pianist, a composer and a clown”. The first two talents were conspicuous on... read more

Music’s response to Covid-19 – from the United States

By , 18/03/2020
Opera America, the organisation that shares information about and advocates for opera in the United States has posted the following list of companies and artists that can be accessed on line:  "See our COVID-19 Resource Hub for a list of performances that have been canceled or postponed. The following companies and artists are offering performances that can be streamed online:

Musical voyages to distant places – Jenny Wollerman with the New Zealand String Quartet

By , 10/03/2020
On Tuesday evening a very large congregation of music-followers assembled in the church of Saint Mary of the Angels to ascend into the stars and probe the depths of the sea. Saint Mary herself – in her capacity as Stella Maris (star of the sea) – seemed a well-suited hostess and patron for such an endeavour. Many young people were also present (noted here for the benefit of Radio... read more

Helen Moulder and Sir Jon Trimmer warmly invite all of us to “meet Karpovsky” at Wellington’s Circa Theatre

By , 06/11/2019
I thought, both for myself and for the readers of “Middle C”, I’d explore the colourful genesis of Circa’s current production “Meeting Karpovsky”, as it was something I for one knew very little about, having not seen the original 2002 production. It all came about through actress Helen Moulder wanting to bring to fruition a long-held desire to be able to dance with Sir Jon Trimmer, the doyen of... read more

Enthralling and disturbing – NZ Opera’s take on Britten’s “The Turn of the Screw”

By , 03/10/2019
  It’s difficult to think of another opera whose overall theme, story-line and characterisations are more interlaced by ambiguities as Britten’s The Turn of the Screw –  the story on which the opera is based, Henry James’ novella of the same name, carries its own versions of much the same kinds of imponderables, though the opera seems, if anything, to further complicate and intensify the issues. The story tells of... read more

Morton Trio shines in a concert of variety and splendour at Lower Hutt

By , 07/08/2019
I’m sure that gruff old conservative Johannes Brahms would have been delighted had he known that the music for his Horn Trio would leap over both a whole century and continental and oceanic distances to figure, however fleetingly, as a delightful string of vigorous reminiscences in an Antipodean composer’s work for the same forces! Upon hearing the finale of Kenneth Young’s work at this concert I wondered whether he’d... read more

The Children – redefining well-being as responsibility, at Circa Theatre

By , 07/04/2019
Enigmas abound in this award-winning 2016 play by British playwright Lucy Kirkwood, here presented by Wellington’s Circa Theatre, and brought to everyday life by art-that-conceals-art performances from the three actors, Catherine Downes, Carmel McGlone and Peter Hambleton, in tandem with similarly naturalistic, almost self-effacing direction from Susan Wilson – a worthy New Zealand premiere production. Firstly, the play’s title leads one to expect that the subject, theme, story, etc., will... read more

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