Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

“Timeless” classics with a twist – latest in the NZSO’s “Podium” Series

By , 24/10/2020
This was the last concert of a tour of five centres. It was a programme of safe music by Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven, nothing to intimidate a conservative audience, though Beethoven laid down major challenges that audiences have grappled with since the work was first performed by the Schuppanzigh Quartet in 1825. The orchestra was reduced to strings two horns, oboes, clarinets bassoons and a flute. There were no... read more

Orchestra Wellington and Sistema Orchestra Hutt Valley in varied and colourful concert

By , 17/10/2020
This concert was one of Orchestra Wellington’s rather special events, not only in parallel with a rather singular election day that tended to absorb the animated attention of most of the audience before the concert and during the interval, but also sharing the platform of the MFC with another orchestra: the Arohanui Strings. That band was founded in 2010 on the model of the Sistema Youth Orchestra in Venezuela... read more

Dazzling Diabelli Variations from pianist Ya-Ting Liou at St.Andrew’s make an indelible impression

By , 14/10/2020
The Diabelli Variations, or to give the pieces their proper collective name, “Thirty-three Variations on a Waltz by Anton Diabelli in C Major, Op.120” represent in their entirety Beethoven’s final and loftiest thoughts concerning the piano and its expressive capabilities.  It’s both characteristic and appropriate that such sublimity of invention on Beethoven’s part should have emanated from such an unprepossessing source. Thanks to Beethoven’s somewhat free-wheeling biographer, Anton Schindler, the... read more

THe NZSO’s “Monumental” concert…..counting the ways

By , 09/10/2020
As much as I’m not a great fan of the use of “catchwords” to describe the content of concerts, such as both the NZSO and the NZSQ have been using to characterise specific events over the past year, I must admit that occasionally the description “hits the spot”, as with the use of the word “Monumental” to describe the orchestra’s most recent concert in Wellington. Though a somewhat “loose”... read more

A programme of brilliantly scored Romantic era music from Wellington Youth Orchestra

By , 04/10/2020
The listing in Middle C’s Coming Events had misread details about this concert; the conductor was identified as Miguel Harth-Bedoya. In fact, he had conducted a rehearsal of the orchestra  a few weeks before. But there would be no need to attribute the splendid performances on Sunday directed by Mark Carter to anyone but Mark Carter. To begin, it was a colourful programme of music that would have excited any... read more

Riveting performances by the Orpheus Choir and Orchestra Wellington of works by Faure and Rachmaninoff

By , 03/10/2020
Under the circumstances of Covid-19 and its world-wide strictures, I’m truly grateful, along with so many others, to be living in a place where activities such as concerts of the quality of that which I attended in the Michael Fowler Centre on Saturday evening could even happen, let alone be enjoyed so freely and readily. Given in the same week as the NZSO’s inspiring “Eroica” concert conducted by Miguel... read more

An exhilarating piano duet concert from Duo Harmonics at St Andrew’s

By , 30/09/2020
Duo Enharmonics, the Nicole Chao and Beth Chen piano duo team, have become regular performers at the St Andrew's lunch time concerts. This year they offered a journey from a graceful Mozart Sonata of 1765 through Rachmaninov's nostalgic Russian group of six pieces of 1894, to the grand spectacular duo piano arrangement of Ravel's La Valse of 1920. The Mozart Sonata in D Major, KV.381 is a very early work... read more

NZ Trio with accessible and illuminating music for Wellington Chamber Music

By , 27/09/2020
Perhaps because of Auckland’s continued restrictions, and limits on audience size, Wellington, and no doubt other cities, seem to benefit from more concerts. This was the first of three concerts by the NZ Trio, the others at Lower Hutt and Waikanae, with the same programme. Beethoven  It began with Beethoven’s third piano trio in C minor: sombre, restrained with the violin sounding cautious, but a crescendo slowly prevailed, subtly enough: the... read more

NZSO’s “Eroica” programme title lives up to its name at Wellington’s MFC

By , 27/09/2020
CEO of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Peter Biggs, summed it up in his foreword in the printed programme for the orchestra’s most recent presentation initiative – named after one of the three works presented, Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony – when he referred to 2020 as “what continues to be a challenging year for us all.” Biggs and his staff rose to that challenge admirably in enabling  Peruvian-born conductor Miguel... read more

Orchestra Wellington delivers spectacular concert of two great classics and a major New Zealand work

By , 26/09/2020
This was not the first concert by Orchestra Wellington: that was on 27 July and featured Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony and Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto, played by Michael Houstoun. This also featured Houstoun, playing what would be called a concerto in some contexts, but here, it was a three movement work by John Psathas called Three Psalms, with an important piano part, but also drawing on various musical and other artistic... read more

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