Mas­ter­pieces played mas­ter­fully

Otago Daily Times - - DUNEDIN - NZSO & Jo­hannes Moser Dunedin Town Hall Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 11

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.

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