Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Two resounding recordings from Rattle – classics and a feisty newcomer

By , 23/02/2018
Taking the contents of both CDs listed above, one might argue that there are two "classic" compositions to be found among these works, one recognised internationally and the other locally, each defined as such by its popularity and general recognition as a notable piece of work. If this suggests a kind of facile populist judgement, one might reflect that posterity does eventually take over, either continuing to further enhance... read more

Most accomplished performances of piano trios by Psathas and Brahms

An ambitious chamber music programme by an enterprising and highly skilled trio was attended by a larger-than-usual audience, confounding the fears of organiser Marjan van Waardenberg, who thought the weather would put people off.  But no; by 12.15 it was just a normal Wellington windy day, with sunshine. There were no programme notes, but two members of the trio briefly introduced the items, in turn.  However, it would have been... read more

Atoll Records releases CD conspectus of Ken Wilson: Music For Winds

A worthy addition to Atoll's now substantial catalogue of recordings of music by New Zealand composers, this CD should delight many music-lovers.  That it is already doing so is proved by its place at number three on the RNZ Concert Classical Chart, on Saturday, 18 February.  They played an excerpt from Ken Wilson's Wind Quintet of 1965.  This was recorded by Kiwi Records on LP in the mid-1980s, and... read more

Michael Houstoun memorably opens Waikanae’s chamber music recital series

By , 18/02/2018
This is the season of series launches. The Waikanae Music Society, in contrast to certain other comparable chamber music groups, is in good shape, thanks to an immediately attractive programme of eight concerts, with no patronisingly-popular concerts that fail to touch those likely to be interested in real chamber music; plus an enticing ticketing policy that makes it cheap to subscribe and to attend most concerts. And that’s compounded by... read more

Masterly playing of Bach’s first sonata and partita from Martin Risely

By , 14/02/2018
It takes other professional and voluntary organisations a long time to organise a few concerts drawing mainly on New Zealand musicians. But impresario extraordinaire Marjan van Waardenberg probably spends a good deal of the summer, putting together something approaching 50 concerts – one a week – at St Andrew’s; perhaps more than all the other chamber music organisers in Greater Wellington combined. They have become an important institution in... read more

National Youth Orchestra’s summer concert a brilliant showcase for cellist Balzat in Elgar concerto

By , 03/02/2018
To start the year, neither Peter Mechen nor I was prepared to forego hearing the National Youth Orchestra and debated the question of authoring a review. We settled by both giving up something we each hated being deprived of – that is, the entire concert. The compromise: I cover the first half and Peter, the second. Much as one attempts to avoid repetitious expressions of amazement at the remarkable accomplishment and... read more

NZSO opens the musical year with Bach, Rameau and Locatelli

The orchestra made a start to the New Year that was rather different from usual.  A band without conductor, but led from the violin, that was made up of between 12 and twenty-five players, depending on the work being played.  Unusually, the players stood to perform, except of course the harpsichordist (Douglas Mews) and the cellists; the horns and percussion had chairs to sit on in those movements where... 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

Legal choristers and instrumentalists in anniversary class action supporting child cancer campaign

It was heartening to see such a large bunch of lawyers who enjoy making music – and the large, mainly young audience who came to hear their second performance.  The 38-strong orchestra included some 21 players from the NZSO and Orchestra Wellington, but only one lawyer – the indefatigable Merran Cooke, who rehearses the performers and organised the concert.  The choir consisted of 53 singers. The composers selected were a... read more

Organist Bruce Cash momentous performance of Messiaen’s La Nativité du Seigneur

To hear a splendid work of meditation for organ on the fine organ of St Mary of the Angels with its marvellous acoustics and its ambience since its recent restoration, was a treat in itself; to hear Bruce Cash play it so well was the icing on the cake. Bruce Cash had described the work in his interesting pre-concert talk, which was accompanied by slides. They included two of... read more

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