Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Refined, period sensibilities from Kuijken Quartet in Haydn and Mozart

By , 15/07/2017
The Kuijken Quartet is very much a family affair: second violin Sara is Sigiswald’s daughter and violist Marleen Thiers, his wife. They have devoted themselves to playing music in the ‘historically informed’ manner. While that has tended to refer mainly to music of the earlier, Baroque era, it applies also to the Galant and Classical periods, and in theory to all later periods, up to yesterday, if you insist It... read more

Lively and colourful Iolanthe from Wellington G&S Light Opera

By , 14/07/2017
Iolanthe is one of the operettas admired by many who take it upon themselves to judge musical worth, and it doesn’t rank among the most popular, with Pirates, Mikado, Gondoliers and Pinafore. The company last staged Iolanthe in 2008. Here was a chance to see how those opinions stack up with someone who was not seeing it for the first time (I saw the 2008 production and reviewed it in... read more

Brahms for lunch at St.Andrew’s-on-The-Terrace

By , 12/07/2017
  As a counter to the day's wintry woes, the music of Johannes Brahms provided an interlude of gentle autumnal rest and refreshment, with the first of the two late clarinet sonatas (here performed in the version for viola made by the composer), and the two songs which make up Op.91, Zwei Gesänge for voice, viola and piano. Both compositions occasioned interestingly flavoured associations, if of a diametrically opposed nature... read more

Excellent Kiwa String Quartet (NZSO players) in programme of quartet masterpieces and a couple of fun pieces

By , 09/07/2017
We have reached the mid-point in Wellington Chamber Music’s seven-concert 2017 series of Sunday afternoon concerts. A string quartet of players from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, with an intelligently balanced programme that might well have attracted a much bigger audience. It opened with the last of the set of six quartets, Beethoven’s Opus 18 No 6. It begins with a movement marked Allegro con brio, and so the players approached... read more

Kapiti Chamber Choir with the Romantic Triangle: Brahms, Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann

As I observed of the last Kapiti Chamber choir concert I reviewed  (three years ago), none of the choral items in the first half was an easy sing, and most  were unaccompanied.  Good observation of dynamics was a significant feature throughout the concert.  The items were sung in the original German language except the Requiem, which was in Latin.  English translations were printed in the programme. Before the concert began... read more

Destination Beehive 2017 at Circa Theatre – too serious to be taken seriously

By , 09/07/2017
Legend has it that American songwriter and political satirist Tom Lehrer gave up satire when American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It's perhaps just as tempting for any present-day satirist to take a similar stance in the face of the antics of those real-life dodgers, shysters, con-artists and masters of illusion we know as politicians - why bother, she or he might argue... read more

Magnificent NZSO concert, with percussionist Colin Currie, under James MacMillan

By , 08/07/2017
I had rather expected that, even if the pieces by Adès and MacMillan had not exactly created a stampede for tickets, that the remarkable, let’s even say ‘great’ symphony by Vaughan Williams would have done the trick. But no, it didn't. However, if it was something of a statement about the timidity of Wellington audiences, it was not a disgrace. Thomas Adès For another thing, I’d have thought the name Adès might... read more

Jeux, Debussy’s quiet revolutionary, steals Orchestra Wellington’s show

By , 07/07/2017
This was the second of Orchestra Wellington's 2017 series of concerts containing works commissioned by the renowned impresario Serge Diaghilev for the dance company he had formed, the Ballets Russes, regarded by many performance historians as the most influential dance company of the 20th Century. It was the Ballets Russes company which, thanks to Diaghilev's commissions, was to premiere three of Igor Stravinsky's most famous ballets, the Firebird, Petroushka... read more

Steel and McCabe, flute and piano in delightful recital at St Andrew’s

By , 05/07/2017
A fortnight ago at St Andrew’s we heard Rebecca Steel as a member of a quintet of flutes from the RNZAF Band in a splendidly diverting programme of music (mostly) arranged for five flutes. So I had hesitated about coming to hear more flute music in a particularly busy week for me. But squeezing it in proved an excellent decision. Rebecca was back this time with her piano partner, Fiona... read more

Rich and diverting recital of songs by Takiri vocal quartet and piano at Waikanae

The reviewing of this concert was shared by Rosemary Collier and Lindis Taylor. First part: Rosemary Collier  Two years ago the ensemble sang for the Waikanae Music Society; on that occasion the mezzo was Bianca Andrew and the tenor Andrew Glover.  That programme also began with a bracket of well-known Schubert lieder, then progressed to Schumann (I’m embarrassed to say his songs were the Spanische Liebeslieder, which in a very recent review... read more

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