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Posts tagged: historically informed

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

From The Night Watch – “Love Me Tender” – a Baroque-style celebration of love’s intangibility

This is a new ensemble in town, 'The Night Watch' (after the Rembrandt painting, though both the Martinborough and Wellington concerts were held in daylight hours).  This group is a combo of New Zealand singers and instrumentalists with several Australian baroque instrumentalists from Sydney. Despite the geography, there was no time separation here; the playing was magnificently co-ordinated and presented, under the direction of Catherine Mackintosh, a veteran of English ensembles The Orchestra of the... read more

NZSO’s Telemann/Handel presentation at Wellington Cathedral – spectacle before music?

By , 01/02/2019
This was one of those concerts better described by the word “occasion” – yes, there was music, yes there were musicians, and yes, the music was played; but at every step of the way the emphasis of the event’s publicity, presentation and performance seemed to be more on the “occasional” nature of the pieces and their sounds rather than their actual substance. Historically, this wasn’t at all inappropriate considering the... 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

Eighteenth Century German music from two accomplished Wellington early music specialists

By , 07/11/2018
The musicians had asked that this recital be not reviewed. We are happy to comply with this request but because Middle C sees itself as both a vehicle for reviewing music, and an archival record of public classical music performance in Greater Wellington, this is simply an opportunity to record what was played. As well as to comment on the good sized audience and the great pleasure this particular audience... read more

Ensemble Zefiro a breath of fresh, tangy air in Wellington

By , 10/08/2018
I’ve copied out the titles of the pieces as per programme, which accounts for the unusual names for aria (arie), overture (ouverture) and partita (Parthia), the last of which I thought at first was some kind of misprint. But no – there it was - Parthia, an alternative form of “partita”. So as it was something I didn’t know before I thought it was worth committing to review! However... read more

Monteverdi’s Orfeo – a “rarely comest…spirit of delight” from Eternity Opera

By , 04/08/2018
To my consternation, I learned after the performance on Saturday evening was completed, that this was to be the only “outing” for Eternity Opera’s production of Monteverdi’s Orfeo! On a number of counts, this was regrettable, if only for the fact that I knew of a number of people who weren’t able to attend the performance and who had expected (as I certainly did) that there would be at... read more

Harmony of the Spheres in tandem with life on earth – Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) from Baroque Voices and instrumentalists

By , 17/06/2018
More of a spiritual/aesthetic experience than merely a “concert” was Baroque Voices’ evocative and atmospheric presentation “Harmony of the Spheres”, triumphantly bringing together singers, instrumentalists and audience to share and delight in the joys of exploration, wonderment and celebration wrought by the music of the twelfth-century Abbess Hildegard of Bingen. No more ambient and timeless sounds than those of Hildegard’s music intermingled with both contemporaneous dance rhythms and the... read more

Gaudete at St Mary of the Angels with Baroque Voices and Palliser Viols

By , 20/12/2017
This was a beautifully devised and presented programme, appropriately given the name “Gaudete” as a kind of seasonal evocation, an enjoining spirit of joyfulness, as well as a reflection of the sentiments proclaimed by both words and music throughout the evening, such as with an eponymously-named work written especially for these musicians by New Zealand composer Ross Harris. The term “verse anthem” is the English equivalent of the German “cantata”... read more

A flavoursome taste of the “Baroque” at the St.Andrew’s Lunchtime Concert Series

By , 13/12/2017
These four performers, a singer and three instrumentalists, provided for this concert a goodly range of musical expression inhabiting that style we loosely know as “baroque”. The programme was framed by works from two of the “giants” of the era, Georg Phillipp Teleman and Johann Sebastian Bach, and also contained a sonata for oboe and bassoon by someone whose name was unknown to me, Johann David Heinichen (1683-1729) ... read more

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