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Posts tagged: choral

A dramatic and sharply-focused St.John Passion from Nota Bene and the Chiesa Ensemble at St Mary of the Angels

By , 14/04/2019

Of four Scriptural “Passion” settings associated in some way or another with Johann Sebastian Bach, two have been fully “authenticated”, the larger St.Matthew Passion, and the smaller, more intense and visceral St.John Passion – while two others, settings of the other evangelists’ accounts of Jesus’ death, are either spurious or recyclings of lost material. Bach undertook the St.John Passion during his first year as director of church... read more

Berlioz, and his “Lelio”, given their dues and more by Orchestra Wellington

By , 12/04/2019
My first reaction to the news that Orchestra Wellington was planning to give the New Zealand premiere of Hector Berlioz’s  Lelio, or “A return to life” in its properly-ordered place as a sequel to the well-known Symphonie Fantastique was a delightful amalgam of excitement, admiration, incredulity and skepticism regarding the idea. I knew the work from recordings, and it had long seemed to me of the order of something... read more

Cantoris, with Thomas Nikora, brings life to Faure, and Rutter to life

By , 06/04/2019
Gabriel Faure’s Requiem, with its relatively intimate, and gentle, largely non-confrontational utterances receives frequent church performance by non-professional choirs in a version with organ accompaniment (there are various other versions extant of the work, two of which are scored with varying orchestral forces, details of which are too impossibly convoluted to even comment on). I’m mentioning this circumstance because I frequently go away from such performances feeling “short-changed” as... read more

Alleluia: varied settings splendidly delivered by Inspirare and Schola Cantorum (St Mark’s School) under Mark Stamper

By , 23/03/2019
Best to start with Mark Stamper’s own description of this concert of settings of ‘Alleluia’: “fourteen unique and innovative settings of this glorious text. The selections will come from different musical periods dating back to the Baroque and on through 2019”. There can be few words or phrases that have inspired such generally positive and hopeful music, though there are other memorable phrases in the Mass. Mark Stamper’s choices were... read more

Tudor Consort opens 2019 season with Renaissance madrigals at summer concert in the sun

By , 16/02/2019
The first concert of the Tudor Consort’s year was in a different place and sang music that was different from their normal pattern. Yes, it was from the Renaissance – almost entirely composed in the 16th century, the Tudor age, and the first couple of decades of the 17th. (Purcell was the only one seriously out of place). And the music was not written for choirs or large ensembles; nor... read more

Bach Choir celebrates Saint Cecilia, exploring interesting and important music with flair and taste

By , 16/12/2018
This was a famous concert: not many musical organisations survive for fifty years. In Wellington, only the NZSO and the Orpheus Choir can claim that (and I await outraged contradictions); though it might be possible to add Chamber Music New Zealand, a very important music promoter, which began as a Wellington society in 1945 and spread its reach nationally within a few years. The Bach Choir has had a distinguished... read more

A finely-wrought, light-on-its-feet “Messiah” from Nicholas McGegan with The Tudor Consort and the NZSO

By , 08/12/2018
Just for interest’s sakes I hearkened back to my “Middle C” review of an earlier Messiah here in Wellington conducted by Nicholas McGegan with the NZSO three years previously, one which I hailed as a focused and characterful performance throughout. There was plenty to wax enthusiastic about on that occasion – McGegan’s very “visceral “ way with some of the music’s more pictorial evocations, such as the frisson of excitement he... read more

Rutter’s lovely Magnificat accompanied by carols of bells and the Orpheus Choir in sold out concert

By , 24/11/2018
Though conductor Brent Stewart entertained the audience with his introduction to the unconventional Carol of the Bells, he waited till its end before engaging in his lively promotion of the choir's next year’s programme, using the choir to sing striking excerpts from Mozart’s Requiem and Carmina Burana by Carl Orff. As well, he mentioned three concerts in which the choir will sing with both Orchestra Wellington and the New... read more

NZSO in splendid Beethoven: the first and the last, under Edo de Waart

Such is the popularity of Beethoven’s Choral Symphony (no.9) that the Michael Fowler Centre auditorium was sold out.  There were two empty seats next to me, but I did not see many others. The gentle prologue to  Beethoven’s first symphony (the symphony premiered in 1800) almost sounds like an ending, and reminds one immediately of Haydn, the great master of the symphony, who was still around for the first 40... read more

World Premiere in Palmerston North of 216 year-old work by English composer Samuel Arnold

By , 10/11/2018
Musical history was made on Saturday evening at Palmerston North’s Regent on Broadway, when local forces (the city’s Renaissance Singers and the Manawatu Sinfonia, plus a clutch of home-grown/nurtured vocal soloists) combined forces with Wellington soprano Pasquale Orchard and neighbouring Whanganui’s Schola Sacra Choir, under the inspired direction of conductor Guy Donaldson, to bring into being a world premiere with a difference. New Zealand being geographically as far away as... read more

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