Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Musical anniversaries: composers and music

By , 21/06/2018
Composer-related dates interest me This bit of pointless research began as an appendix to my review of Supertonic’s concert on Sunday 20 May in the Pipitea Marae. It was prompted in that review by the death in 1918 of Lili Boulanger, one of whose songs was performed there. In an appendix to that review I mentioned the obvious ones: Debussy’s death 100 years ago, Bernstein’s birth 100 years ago, Gounod’s birth... read more

Lawrence Renes, NZSO and Simon O’Neill in superb Wagner songs and monumental Bruckner 4th

By , 16/06/2018
This subscription concert was advertised as ‘An Evening with Simon O’Neill’, obviously in the hope that the name of New Zealand’s internationally most distinguished singer would match that of the recently retired Kiri Te Kanawa. But it didn’t work as the auditorium was hardly half full. Nevertheless, O’Neill is indeed one of a small handful of leading tenors in the Wagner class. Sure, he doesn’t compete in the public... read more

Engaging and exploratory viola music from NZSM students at St Andrew’s

By , 13/06/2018
This is the time for music students to use the facilities and be exposed to audiences at St Andrew’s lunchtime concerts in preparation for their first semester assessments. For audiences too, there are a couple of benefits; invariably, there are students who surprise, sometimes astonish, with their level of musicianship and technical skill; and there’s the chance to hear some unfamiliar, sometimes very engaging music. Some is chosen to... read more

Orchestra Wellington – a “Golden” beginning to its 2018 season

By , 09/06/2018
Orchestra Wellington and Marc Taddei got their 2018 season off to an arresting start with a concert of three resplendent-sounding works, one whose effect simply got more and more celebratory and engaging as the evening went on. Aiding and abetting this state of things was the welcome presence of guest Concertmaster Wilma Smith, and a goodly-numbered audience whose support for the orchestra was richly rewarded. First came what I... read more

Faith and Commitment: Tony Vercoe and the Kiwi-Pacific Records Story

By , 08/06/2018
One doesn’t know whom to thank most heartily regarding the appearance of this book, “The Kiwi-Pacific Records Story” – perhaps the triumvirate of storyteller Tony Vercoe, interviewer Tony Martin and publisher Roger Steele deserves equal shared credit. It’s a book whose subject – the formation and development of a truly homegrown recording company determined to support the work of classical and indigenous composers, musicians, poets, artists and designers within... read more

Some impressive performances from NZSM string students at St Andrew’s

On the coldest day of the winter so far, there was still a respectably-sized audience at the lunchtime concert. The students introduced themselves and their music, but unlike the wind students I reviewed two weeks ago, these students did not use the microphone, and so several of them were inaudible, speaking as though to a few people sitting in front of them.  One who spoke in audible tones nevertheless was... read more

Rachmaninov from Rustem Hayroudinoff, via Halida Dinova……

By , 02/06/2018
What on earth, you are asking, am I doing reviewing a CD by a pianist whose name would be largely unknown to New Zealand audiences? The answer is that Rustem Hayroudinoff is the brother of the remarkable Tatarstan pianist Halida Dinova who has relatively recently toured New Zealand on two occasions, giving, at the Lower Hutt Little Theatre during her visit here in 2012, one of the most remarkable... read more

Full house Mulled Wine concert at Paekakariki with NZSM violin and piano stars

By , 27/05/2018
We’ve sadly missed a couple of earlier Mulled Wine concerts from Paekakariki: the Rodger Fox Jazz Ensemble in January and Toru (the Wellington trio of flute, viola and harp) in March, though we caught up with them at Lower Hutt recently. This concert was perhaps more than merely a compensation, from two of the distinguished classical performance lecturers at the school of music of Victoria University. There were three solo pieces:... read more

Liturgical music, dramatic and meditative in splendid Orpheus Choir concert

By , 26/05/2018
The Orpheus Choir made a striking decision to perform two great choral works that are not often heard – one that is well-enough known but not so often heard (the Duruflé) and Dvořák’s Te Deum which I had not heard before. It’s one of those pieces that you are sure you’ve heard at some time, but turns out to be quite unfamiliar. Gabrieli and Dvořák However, the concert began with something... read more

Talents and skills of university woodwind students in St Andrew’s lunchtime recital

It is interesting to hear music students at different levels of their courses, and of ability and achievement.  All these students, though, performed well and provided engaging music.  In most cases they were accompanied on the piano, although two students played unaccompanied pieces.  It was pleasing to see a number of school students in the audience; perhaps they are studying wind instruments. Simon Brew, acting head of winds at... read more

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