Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

“The Long Day Closes” – Mozart, with “Evening Music and Lullabies” from the Bach Choir of Wellington

By , 24/07/2021
This was a concert of two halves, as they say in rugby. The first half consisted of the advertised Mozart Solemn Vespers, and the second half consisted of ‘Evening Music and Lullabies’, on the basis, I suppose, that Vespers is the evening prayer service, one of the Canonical Hours in the Catholic liturgy, although you wouldn’t find any of these items following a Catholic Vespers. But more of this... read more

Henry Purcell’s “Food of Love” at Wellington’s Cathedral of St.Paul

There is a particular pleasure in hearing a duet sung by two voices that are well-matched in timbre, especially when the singers obviously share not only a vocal quality but a musical sensibility and a personal rapport.  Such were the harmonies on offer at this presentation of Purcell songs, performed by old friends Anna Sedcole and Helene Page, and accompanied fluently and unobtrusively on harpsichord by Michael Stewart, the... read more

Ravel and Bartók make companionable and stimulating piano-and-percussion bedfellows in stunning NZSM Adam Concert Room performances

By , 23/07/2021
While waiting in the foyer for the Adam Concert Room to be opened for the NZSM concert, and pricking up my ears to flute snippets from Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and trumpet phrases from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade being practised by students in an adjoining studio, I couldn’t help but reflect on the charm and delight of experiencing such a “music-in-the-air” ambience about where I was and what was about to... read more

Breathtakingly accomplished piano playing from Ya-Ting Liou at St. Andrew’s

By , 21/07/2021
Although Ya-Ting Liou is a regular visitor to Wellington and plays recitals all over New Zealand, she is hardly recognized among New Zealand's best known pianists. This is undoubtedly due to her excessive modesty, because she is, without any doubt, technically the most accomplished pianist you are likely to hear. She opened the programme with Shostakovich's Prelude and Fugue No. 5. This is not Shostakovich of the Leningrad Symphony. This... read more

Fever’s Candlelight Jazz Standards with Retro Pack at Wellington’s Public Trust Hall

By , 21/07/2021
Jazz is a polarizing genre. For aficionados, it’s all about innovation, pushing the boundaries, expanding the genre whilst respecting its traditions. Technical skill is prized, but always in the service of new ideas. For your average classical concert-goer, it’s pretty much a mystery, and sometimes incomprehensible. But everyone loves a jazz standard. Jazz musicians know them inside out and sometimes reference them on their way to something else. Every Wellington... read more

Jade Quartet presents a somewhat “patchworked” concert at St.Andrew’s

By , 18/07/2021
This was an unlucky concert from the first. It was originally scheduled for 27 June, but had to be rescheduled when Wellington went into Level 2 lockdown a few days prior. At some point the second violin (William Hanfling) and cello (Edith Salzmann) became unavailable: the first due to illness and the second being caught in a COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne. When the Jade Quartet finally arrived to present this concert, Hanfling had been... read more

Orchestra Wellington under Taddei with Adam Page triumphant in Psathas’s saxophone ‘concerto’

By , 17/07/2021
It was no surprise, after coming into the city on a thinly populated train, then a wet and windy wait for a bus and into a less than busy auditorium vestibule, to find the Michael Fowler Centre only about 60% full, when this orchestra’s concerts are normally sold out. There was nothing wrong with the programme. In fact, the programme was admirable. Mozart and Beethoven are rather well-known, and both... read more

An unusual and striking St.Andrew’s Lunchtime presentation – Aroha Quartet’s ASQ International Music Academy Tutor’s Concert

By , 14/07/2021
This was a strikingly unusual and interesting programme spanning different musical eras and musical languages. It was a showcase for the ASQ International Music Academy, which was holding its seventh week-long course of chamber music performance with participants from all parts of the country. Richard Strauss – String Sextet from “Capriccio” Donald Armstrong and Manshan Yang (violins), Zhongxian Jin and Michael Cuncannon (violas), Robert Ibell and David Chickering (cellos) Richard Strauss' opera... read more

A girdle about the earth from Antarctica to Leningrad – the NZSO National Youth Orchestra concert

By , 11/07/2021
It was going to be something of a risk, programming a work by the NYO Composer in Residence against one of the greatest symphonies of the twentieth century. A risk – or an act of faith. Ihiara McIndoe’s Ephemeral Bounds was written in response to a visit to Antarctica last year, courtesy of the Antarctic Heritage Trust. It used less than half the players required for the Shostakovich, and scattered... read more

The NZSO’s “The Rite of Spring” replete with anniversaries and commemorations

By , 10/07/2021
Quite a day on a number of counts, and especially in Wellington! – it all gathered momentum and excitement as the evening approached, with the prospect of Matariki fireworks over the harbour, and immediately afterwards, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s “The Rite of Spring” concert. For people of my generation, anybody typing or repeating out loud the date may have suddenly been revisited in the memory by a resonating... read more

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