Masterpieces played masterfully
THE NZSO was in town on Thursday evening, bringing with it international cello virtuoso performer Johannes Moser to play Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No.1 Op.107, as well as a new conductor, Peter Oundjian, for this national orchestra’s Dunedin Town Hall concert.
The programme featured Russian composers, and began with Overture to Prince Igor, a popular work incorporating many of the themes from the opera by Borodin.
The opening deep resonant harmonic sound filled the auditorium, before the work progressed with snippets of familiar melodies subtly interwoven, shared among the instrumental sections.
Shostakovich (190675) wrote Cello Concerto No.1 Op.107 in 1959, scoring for a smaller orchestra, allowing the soloist to really dominate.
All eyes and ears were on Moser and his 1694 Guarneri cello as he brilliantly interpreted this mid20th century masterpiece, packed with variety of pace and nuance.
Strongbowed aggression for the ‘‘Allegretto’’ empowered with its unrelenting forward marching; gentle composure and passionate contemplative lyricism in the ‘‘Moderato’’ and a magnificent demanding ‘‘cadenza’’ leading into the ‘‘Allegro con Moto’’, where the pace and disposition revved up big time as the orchestra matched the soloist’s vitality in a final pulsating merger.
Prolonged applause brought an encore — Elegy, a beautiful cello work by John Williams, with opportunity to generate the instrument’s most soft and loving personality at play with flute obligato, harp and strings.
Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet comprises 52 dances and about half of these were chosen to complete the programme.
So many exciting textures and sound cameos as each section brought a new surprise — like ‘‘opening little pressies in a Christmas stocking’’.
A marathon hour for the NZSO, but a brilliant choice of variety and instrumental indulgence for the large audience.