5. CAN­DLE-LIT AF­FAIR

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS -

Cac­cia Birch House will play host to a sa­lon con­cert with in­stru­ments and per­form­ers from around the coun­try.

Hammers and Horse­hair is the evoca­tive name for to­mor­row night’s pe­riod sa­lon con­cert at Cac­cia Birch.

Palmer­ston North raised NZSO and Aroha String Quar­tet cel­list Robert Ibell and Welling­ton pi­anist and tu­tor Dou­glas Mews have been lug­ging their in­stru­ments around the coun­try, to recre­ate the in­ti­mate at­mos­phere of an old-style can­dle-lit sa­lon con­cert.

The pair play works by Beethoven, Mozart, Romberg and Breval on in­stru­ments that date from roughly the pe­riod when the pieces were writ­ten. ‘‘We’re look­ing to cre­ate a spe­cial at­mos­phere,’’ Dou­glas says. ‘‘The can­dles are part of that, but we’ll also be chat­ting with the au­di­ence as if we were play­ing in their sit­ting room at home.’’

The old in­stru­ments and play­ing style are key as­pects of the tour. Au­di­ences will be able to get a taste of how the mu­sic sounded when it was writ­ten two hun­dred years ago. ‘‘The pi­ano we’re us­ing for our tour is a Broad­wood square pi­ano made in Eng­land in the first half of the nine­teenth cen­tury. Not only does it look un­usual, but it has a won­der­ful his­tory, hav­ing spent well over a cen­tury in the Aro Val­ley where I live.’’

Robert’s cello also has an in­ter­est­ing back­ground. Made in the eigh­teenth cen­tury, prob­a­bly be­fore Beethoven was born, it came to New Zealand in 1940 with Greta Os­tova, a Czech es­cap­ing the Nazi oc­cu­pa­tion.

A found­ing mem­ber of the Na­tional Or­ches­tra (which be­came the NZSO), Greta passed the cello on to her stu­dent Ju­dith Hy­att who then handed it on to Robert. See more at www.hammers and­horse­hair.nz/blog/ 2016/5/1/hammers-horse­hair-on-tour

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PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Pi­anist Dou­glas Mews and cel­list Robert Ibell are bring­ing their Hammers and Horse­hair con­cert to Cac­cia birch to­mor­row night.

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