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Posts tagged: historically informed

The NZSO “reclaims the night” for Baroque composers at St.Andrew’s on-The-Terrace, Wellington

By , 08/06/2019
To my great relief the NZSO abandoned the idea of presenting this, the second concert of their Baroque Series, in Wellington Cathedral, the first concert there having been a mixed blessing of an affair, with the building’s cavernous acoustic the main impediment to enjoyment of the music. The strictures of the Capital’s current “earthquake-risk” regulations regarding many of its buildings has made finding a venue for concerts involving either... read more

Restorative music from the Restoration, performed by “The Queen’s Closet”

By , 01/06/2019
A well-ordered programme, a cornucopia of colourful-sounding instruments, a group of skilled, expressive players and a relaxed, spontaneous-sounding presentation whose varied amalgam of fascinating and engaging sounds ensured a most attractive and resounding early evening’s music-making were the sure-fire ingredients of this concert from the early music group “The Queen’s Closet”. The ensemble’s name is derived from an eponymously-titled room found in a National Trust house located in Richmond... read more

“Under every grief & pine/runs a joy with silken twine” – Martin Riesley plays unaccompanied Bach at St.Andrew’s, Wellington

By , 24/05/2019
This was a benefit concert to help raise funds for refurbishing the Church’s pipe organ. Bach himself wasn’t known as a violinist to the same extent as he was a keyboard player, yet according to his son, Carl Philippe Emanuel, “he played the violin cleanly and powerfully”, and his familiarity with the instrument is evident in the way he wrote his six Violin Sonatas and Partitas (BWV 1001-1006), so they... read more

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

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