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Posts tagged: contemporary music

Holly Mathieson’s “Dream” debut concert with the NZSO….

By , 14/05/2021
If this were Australia, the use of the word “Dreamtime “ would perhaps more readily come to mind as an idea which loosely connects the three pieces played in this evening’s concert – as it is, in the case of the opening work, Toru Takemitsu’s 1981 work Dreamtime (Yume no Toki), the composer proclaimed his interest in the idea as a kind of starting-point, inspired by an invitation to... read more

Unusual trio ensemble with a highly satisfying, widely international series opens Wellington Chamber Music year

By , 18/04/2021
The first concert in Wellington Chamber Music’s 2021 season attracted a fairly full audience, no doubt partly a response to their deprivation in 2020. It would have appealed to chamber music aficionados on account of the three well-known musicians and the inclusion of at least one well-known work, plus a couple of others by familiar and attractive composers – Albéniz and Piazzolla, and a popular New Zealand composer –... read more

Music of magical flight – Palmer, Mozart and Stravinsky from the NZSO

By , 08/04/2021
Throughout the first half of Canadian-based New Zealand-born composer Juliet Palmer’s work Buzzard, I was enraptured,  totally enthralled by Palmer’s self-proclaimed “digestion” of Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird. I was bowled over as much by the former’s mastery of orchestral techniques we all readily ascribe to the latter’s music, the brilliance of the orchestrations, the motoric rhythms, and, by turns, the fluency and the angularity of the changing time-signatures, as by... read more

Vibrant Concerti Grossi old and new light up a refurbished Old St.Paul’s in Thorndon

By , 16/02/2021
I was thrilled beyond words when told that this concert would take place in the breathtakingly beautiful Old St/ Paul’s Church in Thorndon, a building which extensive earthquake-strengthening renovations had closed to the public for so long! So for me it was like greeting an old friend when walking through the church’s entranceway for the New Baroque Generation’s Wellington concert, one which concluded the ensemble’s enterprising “11 concerts in... read more

A new film commemorates the 1941 Babiy Yar Massacre of Ukraine Jews by the Nazis

By , 11/02/2021
A 2008 concert in Wellington given by the then Vector Wellington Orchestra conducted by Marc Taddei featured the very first performance in New Zealand of Russian-born Israeli composer Boris Pigovat’s “Requiem”, with violist Donald Maurice as the soloist.  This work, completed in 1995, commemorated the horrific massacre by the Nazis of thousands of Jewish citizens of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv during 1941. Pigovat’s grandparents and an aunt were among... read more

Now on CD! – Claire Cowan’s incandescent score for the RNZB’s recent “Hansel and Gretel”, played by the NZSO with Hamish McKeich

By , 22/12/2020
After reading various reviews of the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s production of Auckland composer Claire Cowan’s Hansel and Gretel, toured by the company during 2019, I’m left feeling like one of the “gentlemen of England now abed” from Shakespeare’s Henry V play, those whom the monarch prophesised would “think themselves accurs’d” for not being at Agincourt to share in the splendour of the occasion’s success. And now, having listened... read more

Belated rapture from Orchestra Wellington’s “Rachmaninov 1”, but well worth the wait…..

By , 15/11/2020
Covid-19 has played havoc with many things over 2020, not the least with schedules of music performances, hence the somewhat belated "Rachmaninov 1" title for this concert. Fortunately, the quality of the music and its making seemed unimpaired by any such privations, leaving us grateful all over again for the experience, similar to the feeling engendered by the Orchestra Wellington's previous concert I'd attended - https://middle-c.org/2020/10/riveting-performances-by-the-orpheus-choir-and-orchestra-wellington-of-works-by-faure-and-rachmaninoff/ Here, I found myself... read more

NZSM Orchestra with conductor Hamish McKeich showcases achievements by 2020 award-winning composer and instrumentalist at St.Andrew’s-on-The-Terrace, Wellington

By , 26/09/2020
Pandemic restrictions having been relaxed of late (though judiciously more “on hold” than entirely done away with), we were allowed more-or-less regularly-spaced seating at St. Andrew’s to hear the most recent of the NZSM Orchestra’s public concerts, one featuring the recent winner of the School’s Concerto Competition, flutist Isabella Gregory (see the review at https://middle-c.org/2020/07/nzsm-concerto-competition-an-evening-of-elegance-frisson-and-feeling/), playing the Reinecke concerto with which she won the prize, though on this... read more

Voices of Women – A New Zealand sufferage celebration by Janet Jennings

By , 19/09/2020
Inspired by the 125th anniversary of the 1893 Electoral Act in New Zealand which gave women the right to vote in New Zealand, the first self-governing country in the world to enact such legislation, this CD collection of works by Janet Jennings was first performed as a single concert in Hamilton, at the Dr. John Gallagher Concert Chamber, University of Waikato, presumably by the same performers. The opening work, Magnificat... read more

Ghost Trio haunts sensibilities long after final notes in concert sounded

By , 17/07/2020
I had heard the Ghost Trio perform the same Beethoven work more than a fortnight previously (a concert reviewed below by my colleague, Steven Sedley), though this time round it was coupled to a different programme. Instead of the remarkable Piano Trio Op.1 by Polish composer Andrzej Panufnik (which I would have liked to hear again), the musicians chose to branch out in a different direction,  with each of... read more

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