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Posts tagged: choral

“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

Scrupulous and spirited choral concert from Netherlands Chamber Choir

By , 07/03/2020
The Netherlands Chamber Choir has a fine reputation in the more sophisticated realms of international choirs. Brahms motet I have to confess, as a lover of Brahms’s orchestral, piano and chamber music, that neither his Lieder nor his choral works have appealed to me greatly: especially the a cappella pieces.  Warum ist das Licht gegeben dem Mühseligen? (‘Why has light been given to the weary soul?’) is one of a pair... read more

Lightning, thunder and Orpheus Choir’s and the NZSO’s “Messiah” – never a dull moment!

By , 07/12/2019
There would probably have been a number of people at this “Messiah” performance, both performers and audience members, who had shared something of my own experience a couple of hours before the concert’s starting-time, of the onslaught of an unexpectedly vicious single lightning strike during a storm over the Mt.Victoria area of the city, one whose particular impact on the house I was inside could have been likened to... read more

Gustav Mahler’s heartfelt expression of existentialist optimism given resplendent treatment by the NZSO and departing Music Director Edo de Waart

By , 22/11/2019
“It opens as if on the brink of an abyss, and ends with an exhilarating rebirth”. With these words Edo de Waart, the conductor of this performance of Gustav Mahler’s monumental “Resurrection” Symphony, summed up in a programme foreword his reasoning for making the work his final assignment as the NZSO’s Music Director. According to the archive of that redoubtable critical periodical, “Middle C”, this was his seventh separate... read more

The Tudor Consort in remarkable performances of great poly-choral masterpieces from the 16th and 20th centuries

By , 16/11/2019
On successive Saturdays the Cathedral of St Paul has hosted quite major choral concerts, performing some of the greatest choral works. Much as it’s important to be exposed to compositions of our own time, I feel that there’s a tendency for musical bodies in all genres to be unduly burdened by an imagined obligation to perform contemporary music, most of which is listened to from a sense of obligation... read more

Cantoris steps up to two of the great choral masterpieces, successfully in the face of difficulties

By , 09/11/2019
Handel’s Dixit Dominus was written in 1707 for the church of Santa Maria in Montesanto in Rome. He was in Italy between 1706 and 1710 and composed operas for Florence and Venice, but because the Vatican in Rome forbade opera, Handel wrote dramatic works in concert form, the most famous of which is the Dixit Dominus which is drawn from Psalm 110, part of the Catholic Vespers service, and... read more

Percussion-driven “Carmina Burana” with the Orpheus Choir a triumph

By , 07/09/2019
Oddly enough, nowhere in the programme could I see mentioned that this was a version of Carl Orff’s most renowned work prepared by his “disciple” Wilhelm Killmayer in 1956, and authorized by Orff himself, 20 years after the original composition, one allowing smaller instrumental ensembles the opportunity to perform the piece. While relishing the prospect of hearing the Orpheus Choir’s “different” take on the composer’s evergreen “Carmina Burana”, I... read more

Two sides of a genius – Beethoven’s Eighth and Ninth Symphonies from Edo de Waart and the NZSO

By , 31/08/2019
This, the final concert in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s Beethoven Festival, presented two symphonic works at what seemed like opposite ends of everything – black-versus-white parameters of style from a composer of genius. Beethoven in his Eighth Symphony appears to be “playing” with the form, parodying the classical symphony, satirising fashions and fads, heightening and debunking all kinds of gesturings and yet still producing a forward-moving, radically original... read more

Warming our hearts in mid-winter – Cantoris directed by Thomas Nikora

By , 27/07/2019
This was the kind of programme whose content and presentation couldn’t have done a better job of warming the cockles of both audience hearts and sensibilities, having already drawn our attention via the concert’s title to the evening’s delightful and characteristic seasonal ambiences. Choral items naturally enough made up the lion’s share of the presentations, but by way of contrast and variety we heard two songs for baritone with... read more

From murderous to beguiling – a concert of life and art from the Tudor Consort and Aurora IV

By , 22/06/2019
Michael Stewart and the Tudor Consort certainly got their presentation “Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know” off to a properly gruesome start with the music of a composer who’s now generally known to have been a murderer, Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa – in fact, we in the audience were firstly “treated” to a fairly “no holds barred” description by Michael Stewart of the circumstances and salient details of the... read more

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