Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Viola Students from the New Zealand School of Music with diverting sampler of well-played pieces

By , 18/10/2017
Three violists and two pianists put this lunchtime programme together. Such student presentations always reveal music that one has never come across before, and the discoveries here – not the composers' names, which one had a casual knowledge of – were of the pieces of music. A viola concerto by Anton Hoffmeister, a contemporary of Mozart, a character piece by Schumann, viola sonatas by Anthony Ritchie, Hindemith and Rebecca... read more

Wilma Smith and Friends play fine programme for Wellington Chamber Music

By , 15/10/2017
We reviewed Wilma Smith and Friends at their Waikanae concert on 24 September. There they had played Beethoven’s not-much-played Op 16 piano quartet, Dvořák’s greatly loved Op 87 as well as the piano quartet by the group’s pianist, Leathwick.  I suppose I can wait till next August when I see that Wellington Chamber Music’s just announced 2018 Sunday series will hear the Dvořák played by the Leppänen, Thomson, Joyce... read more

Excellent NZSO concert – Berlioz, Elgar and Tchaikovsky – draws disappointing audience

Here was a stirring programme, the items linked by their composers’ inspirations from Italy.  It happens that these three were all superb orchestrators; the works all exploited the orchestra fully. We have had both Berlioz and Elgar already this year in NZSO programmes; no shame in that.  James Judd was noted for his Elgar performances when he was Music Director of the NZSO – one of the eminent composers of... read more

NZ Opera’s Kátya Kabanová packs a punch at the St.James in Wellington

By , 07/10/2017
Janáček wrote to his long-time, would-be amour Kamila Stösslova about his leading character in the new opera he was planning, in 1920 - "The main character there is a woman, so gentle by nature.....a breeze would carry her away, let alone the storm that breaks over her...." This was Kátya Kabanová, or Káťa Kabanová as the Czech spelling has it, the first of three operas whereby the composer sublimated... read more

A fine solo cello recital at St Andrew’s lunchtime concert

A good-sized audience heard a memorable recital of advanced cello music in a varied repertoire. Inbal Megiddo is an extremely accomplished cellist, who teaches the instrument at the New Zealand School of Music, and plays in the Te Koki Trio. It was a pity that the programme notes gave no information about the works performed, because her spoken introductions were far too quiet to be heard in much of the church;... read more

China/New Zealand Ode to the Moon concert with a radiant Aroha Quartet

By , 01/10/2017
This was one of those concerts that, had I been an ordinary audience member I would have looked forward to immensely! However, being a reviewer and facing the prospect of commenting on a genre of music about which I knew very little, I felt a mixture of excitement and trepidation about what I might encounter! As it turned out I need not have worried, as the music written and... read more

Orpheus Choir sets Wellington Cathedral alight with vibrancy, in Mozart and Faure

By , 30/09/2017
Orpheus Choir Music Director Brent Stewart announced at the concert's beginning that the evening's performances were dedicated by the choir to the memory of Professor Peter Godfrey, who had died a couple of days previously on September 28th. Regarded by many as the"father" of New Zealand choral music, Godfrey was closely associated with both Wellington Cathedral as Director of Music during the years 1983-89, and with the Orpheus Choir... read more

History and Geography in Music: Pipa player Wu Man and the NZSQ

If you didn't hear Kim Hill on RNZ Saturday on 23 September, go and listen to the online archive now. A poignant interview with Douglas Wright, New Zealand's most compelling dancer / choreographer, is to be found there ... as humane and considered a conversation about art as practised and life as lived that you could hope to find. Alongside it sits Hill's interview with Wu Man, the world's leading... read more

To err is human, to forgive (the job of the critic): four student pianists with seriously worthwhile music

By , 27/09/2017
The lunchtime concert market has been somewhat crowded over recent weeks and both St Andrew’s and Old Saint Paul’s have provided nice venues and good audiences for end-of-year recitals. While we’ve covered most of the recent lunchtime concerts in Wellington we have been unable this year to get to the series running at St Mark’s Lower Hutt, which have been equally worthwhile. Four pianists played today at St Andrew’s. They... read more

Another end-of-year student recital: woodwinds in calm weather

By , 26/09/2017
End of year public recitals by New Zealand School of Music students continued, today with woodwind players. If I had been uninterested in hearing the NZSO and Freddy Kempf last Saturday playing single movements of major piano concertos (though I gather it was well-patronised), this was different. Because one was not laying out a substantial ticket price for the rather frustrating experience of being left in mid-air in Mozart... read more

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