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Posts tagged: Arts Festival 2012

Tafelmusik – festive Baroque splendour from Canada

By , 16/03/2012
It was all a bit too much at first - I confess I found the mega-hype of the Festival booklet's blurb for "The Galileo Project" concert distinctly off-putting, creating an impression in my mind of an experience involving as many extra-musical "distractions" as one could possibly throw at an audience. We were promised "Dazzling images…a fusion of science and culture…beautiful classical music and poetic narration…" (and much more along... read more

Great enthusiasm at Jenny McLeod’s “Hōhepa” premiere

By , 15/03/2012
I'm not sure whether I ought to admit to readers of this review that, earlier in the same day that I attended the opening of Jenny McLeod's "Hōhepa" I took up a friend's invitation to accompany him to a screening of the latest New York Metropolitean Opera production of "Götterdämmerung". Perhaps my abrupt juxapositioning of the two experiences was foolhardy, considering the chalk-and-cheese aspect of the works involved. But I... read more

Words, music – and film : Jenny McLeod and Serge Prokofiev

By , 09/03/2012
I've never forgotten my delight in reading, a number of years ago, a Charles M. Schulz "Peanuts" comic featuring Marcie and Peppermint Patti at a Symphony Concert, waiting for a performance of "Peter and the Wolf to begin. In the comic strip Marcie, her face suddenly brightening, whispers conspiratorially to her companion, just before the music starts,  "Maybe this time the wolf will get him!".  I didn't feel her... read more

Strength, delicacy and deep feeling – the New Zealand String Quartet with Jonathan Lemalu

By , 04/03/2012
Despite the fact that there really ought to be a moratorium declared on the use of the words "power" and "passion" anywhere and at any time, this Festival Concert featured the New Zealand String Quartet and bass-baritone Jonathan Lemalu in performances that defined the best sense of those very words. In fact this concert was the latest to somewhat bend the righteous pitch of my on-going complaint regarding the Festival's... read more

The Sixteen’s second concert, a cappella, a benchmark performance

By , 03/03/2012
The second concert by The Sixteen was devoted to music by composers born in Britain, not simply one who spent most of his life in the country, as was the first of The Sixteen's concerts. Two groups of Tallis’s ‘Tunes for Archbishop Parker’s Psalter’ were sung, four at the beginning and four at the end of the concert. They were a sort of purifying wash to introduce the audience to... read more

New Zealand String Quartet revelatory with second group of Beethoven’s Opus 18

By , 26/02/2012
In her brief introductory comments at the first of these two concerts Gillian Ansell had observed how interesting it was to play the quartets in chronological order rather than to mix works from different periods: it highlighted the essential features of these works of the 30-year-old Beethoven, their originality, their imaginativeness, the clear mood contrasts between each. And so it was. Many listeners will have heard these quartets in sequence as... read more

Exhilarating first of two concerts of Beethoven’s Quartets Op 18

The New Zealand String Quartet will play all Beethoven’s string quartets this year, in chronological order – a major undertaking in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the founding of the quartet.  As Helene Pohl observes in one of several excellent programme notes, hearing them this way ‘we discover how full of personality these “early” quartets are!’ The Quartet’s fondness for St. Mary of the Angels as a venue was... read more

Stravinsky at the Festival: Distinguished performances of powerful works heard by too few

As a Festival opener, this programme obviously did not have the appeal of the Mahler Symphony no.8 performed at the last Festival, when the hall was packed, and there were people sitting out in Civic Square watching the performance on a huge screen and hearing it relayed on loudspeakers.  Another draw-card on that occasion was the presence of the famous Vladimir Ashkenazy as conductor. This time, by no means all... read more

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