5. CANDLE-LIT AFFAIR
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
Pianist Douglas Mews and cellist Robert Ibell are bringing their Hammers and Horsehair concert to Caccia birch tomorrow night.