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Posts tagged: piano

Enterprising first concert in Martinborough’s splendid little music festival

By , 27/09/2019
Here was a festival of chamber music made in heaven. I think that if you’d asked most chamber music regulars to create four programmes of the most beautiful music for a festival, they would have looked very much like what was programmed for Martinborough. I regretted missing the two earlier festivals, 2017 and 2018. Scarlatti The opening pieces of the first concert were perhaps unexpected in this context. Though Michael Houstoun... read more

Asher Fisch, Louis Lortie and the NZSO in splendid form with classical masterpieces

By , 06/09/2019
Asher Fisch is taking this NZSO programme with pianist Louis Lortie on a four city tour. It’s his first visit to New Zealand, though I encountered him as conductor of the production of Wagner’s Ring cycle in Adelaide in 2004 (it was an Australian production, in some kind of reaction to the cycle borrowed from the Châtelet Theatre in Paris, six years before). Rachmaninov's Number Two ‘Rach 2’, along with the... read more

Visiting Russian cellist inspires a fine, short-lived piano trio and an interesting recital

By , 18/08/2019
It might be unusual to give a common name to a group of three musicians who are clearly going to have only a few weeks together because one of its members lives in another country. The owner of the first three letters of the name ‘Levansa’ is the Russian cellist whose residence looks peripatetic at the present time, though his appointment in 2017 as principal cello of the Zurich... read more

A piano recital at St Andrew’s deserving a full house: Beethoven’s Eroica Variations surrounded by circus variety

By , 17/07/2019
Her name rang a bell, but I couldn’t recall actually seeing or hearing her play. The Middle C archive revealed that my colleague, Peter Mechen had reviewed an earlier lunchtime recital by her in August 2016 when, inter alia she had played Schumann’s Davidsbündlertänz, later Rameau’s Le rappel des oiseaux. Born in Taiwan and educated mainly in the United States, she now lives in Auckland. That sort of programming clearly... read more

Splendid, richly satisfying NZSO concert of four strongly contrasted works played with mastery and conviction

By , 13/07/2019
Anniversary: Cook’s first voyage and Matauranga  The first piece in Saturday’s concert was entitled Matauranga, which means ‘knowledge, wisdom, understanding, skill’, according to the programme note. It was in part to mark the 250th anniversary of Cook’s first voyage one of whose purposes was to observe the transit of Venus in Tahiti in June 1769. His reaching New Zealand was timely to observe the transit of Mercury on the Coromandel... read more

Delightful St Andrew’s recital from NZSM piano students: Bach, Haydn, Chopin, Brahms, Debussy, Prokofiev and Henry Cowell

By , 29/05/2019
Though Middle C has been catching the weekly lunchtime concerts at St Andrew’s pretty regularly, we have sometimes been a bit neglectful in writing about them. This one was harder to duck. Student recitals almost always reveal a player or two of considerable distinction, in addition to which we have the experience of watching live performers playing music, a phenomenon that is becoming ever more rare, as disembodied versions of... read more

A beautiful concert of Romantic symphonic music from the NZSO under Thomas Søndergård

By , 18/05/2019
This concert had no challenging contemporary works, no surprises. It was romantic music, all within the bounds of the traditional, standard symphonic repertoire, but it was all beautiful music. The programme spanned 127 years of musical development from Beethoven's Coriolan Overture of 1807 to Sibelius's Seventh Symphony of 1924. Over that period the world changed and this was reflected in the music. The individual responsibility, accountability, sensibility and the... read more

An excellent lunchtime concert from university string students at St Andrew’s

By , 08/05/2019
Though I had thought not to write a review of this lunchtime concert, but simply to have a pleasant hour listening, I found my mind changing however, a couple of minutes in to the first item: the Allemande from Bach’s fourth Cello Suite, in E flat, played on the viola by Zephyr Wills. Sometimes such transpositions don’t work, but this one did, beautifully. Wills, only a second-year student, has... read more

Maria Mo: a fine recital by a promising artist at St Andrew’s

By , 17/04/2019

Mario Mo is a talented young pianist at the threshold of her career. She has won awards and scholarships, studied with Katherine Austin at the University of Waikato and then at the Vienna Conservatory and the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. She has had a thorough grounding. She played an ambitious programme.

Beethoven stretches the limits of the piano in the Waldstein Sonata and apart from a... read more

Dazzling pianist, Alessio Bax, gives sole Wellington performance at Upper Hutt

By , 08/04/2019
Last Thursday, 4 April. RNZ Concert broadcast the usual Thursday concert from the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. It included Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony and Grieg’s Piano Concerto. A generation and more ago it was common to be dismissive of the Grieg concerto, but the classical music world has grown up a bit since then and sensible people with cultivated but unpretentious tastes rate it among the loveliest in the repertoire. I hadn’t... read more

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