Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Marking Holy Week through Biblical Lamentations and music inspired by 20th century atrocities

By , 14/04/2017
The theme of this concert, The Desolate City, was a reason to look at two cities that have suffered terrible, war-driven destruction in living memory (Dresden and Hiroshima), and to associate physical destruction with social and moral destruction as described in Biblical accounts of cities considered to have been desolated by sin or perhaps merely by adoption of a rival religious faith. The Book of Lamentations and Psalm 137 provided... read more

Magisterial performances from Siyu Sun (piano) and the Wellington Chamber Orchestra

By , 09/04/2017
A great programme and an equally great occasion! Particularly in the case of the Rachmaninov Concerto, there was a commonality of sorts between the work itself and the circumstances surrounding this particular performance, in each instance a sense of "coming through" against the odds. It's well-known that the composer wrote the music as a kind of "therapy" by way of recovering from the depression which overwhelmed him after the... read more

Capable and well-considered performances of Arensky, Rachmaninov and Cherubini by Cantoris and their pianist conductor

By , 08/04/2017
In addition to the advertised Requiem by Cherubini, the programme was fleshed out with the most popular movement from Rachmaninov’s Vespers (‘All Night Vigil’), Op 37, and Arensky’s first piano trio. The Rachmaninov piece is the sixth movement in the 15-movement, hour-long Vespers setting, rather inaccurately called the ‘All-night Vigil’. Bogorovitse Devo (pronounced 'djevo') means ‘Rejoice, O Virgin’. It’s a short, gentle piece that introduced the choir in a beautifully quiet... read more

Adams and Mozart (and Martin Fröst) inspire de Waart and the NZSO

By , 07/04/2017
John Adams (b.1947) has for some time been popularly regarded as one of the "big three" of minimalist music composition, along with Philip Glass and Steve Reich. The term "minimalist" was used to describe a specific creative aesthetic involving the reduction to the bare essentials of whatever medium the creative artist worked with - in music this involved using repetition of melodic and rhythmic ideas to express minute gradations... read more

Strauss’s final tone poem a mighty opening for the NZSO’s 2017 season

By , 25/03/2017
Here was a concert designed to attract various classes of music lovers: those attached to the classical heartland, discreetly coloured by a pictorial Romanticism; lovers of the voice in melodious, conventional guise with music composed at the turn of the 20th century; and finally, for those susceptible to musical expressionism on a vast scale, an evocation of vast natural phenomena and secular voluptuousness. Though the orchestra had its first major... read more

Purcell’s “happier graces” prevail in concert of improvisations

By , 18/03/2017
This was a concert whose music-making seemed to connect with practically everybody who sat within coo-ee of me in the Michael Fowler Centre, judging by the warmth and enthusiasm of the reception for the musicians at the end of the evening. While I must confess I wasn't as obviously enamoured of some of the concert's offerings as most people were, I certainly registered the individual and corporate skills of... read more

Memorable Lower Hutt recital of the familiar and the unknown

Chamber music at its best.  Splendid performers, enthusiastic, receptive audience, good acoustics, masterworks of the repertoire.  One can’t ask for much more, whether the players are from overseas or are our locals – the latter the case this time, with strings all from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, with the added talents of pianist Jian Liu, from the New Zealand School of Music.  However, the concert deserved a larger... read more

Ordinary heroism – four women bare their lives in Circa Theatre’s new Caryl Churchill play “Escaped Alone”

By , 14/03/2017
Back in days of yore, I remember taking part in a one-act play written by Irishman Brian Friel, called "Lovers, Winners", a scenario involving two actors and two narrators. The former were the eponymous "Lovers", who enacted a single day's events, their interchanges filled with hopes and plans for their future, while the two narrators (I was one) took turns to counterpoint the stage action with a matter-of-fact commentary... read more

Successful violin and viola duo reveal rare Mozart and well-known Halvorsen

By , 08/03/2017
The names of the two performers at this lunchtime concert should no doubt have been familiar to me, as they have been on the Wellington scene on and off for a long time; both had played in the NZSO. Both have lived and studied overseas and now work in other fields in Wellington, though music clearly remains an important part of their lives. The programme note explained that Mozart wrote... read more

The NZSO at seventy with an inspired programme for a full house

By , 06/03/2017
All three Middle C reviewers collaborated in reviewing this momentous concert. We paid attention in our first name alphabetic order. The first, fourth and seventh are Lindis’s, second, fifth and eighth, Peter’s, and the others, Rosemary’s. Introduction (LT) In keeping with the feisty critical tradition established by Beaglehole and Finlay at that first concert on 6 March 1947, let’s start with a little grizzle. Wonderful for Wellington to be offered a free... read more

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