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Posts tagged: contemporary music

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

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

Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” a triumph for Witch Music Theatre at Wellington’s Te Auaha

By , 30/06/2021
“Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd” proclaimed the first singer shortly after the opening of Witch Music Theatre’s instantly-riveting Te Auaha production of the eponymous show  – no argument or dissent was brooked, as we had already been ensnared and drawn into an ominous, all-pervading scenario of compelling unease  generated by gothic, phantom-sounding organ figurations, dimly-perceived Nibelungen-like figures materialising from nowhere performing scrubbing-like tasks of enslavement, and a sudden... read more

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

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