Or­ches­tra tri­umphs

The Dominion Post - - Culture -

Petrouchka Mu­sic by Squire, Nielsen and Stravin­sky, Or­ches­tra Welling­ton, con­ducted by Marc Tad­dei, with Suyeon Kang (vi­o­lin) and Aro­hanui Strings. Michael Fowler Cen­tre, Novem­ber 4.

This con­cert fea­tured the an­nual visit from the Aro­hanui Strings – Sis­tema Hutt Val­ley, a group of young string play­ers who, un­der Al­i­son El­dredge’s tute­lage, is achiev­ing re­mark­able things, mu­si­cally and so­cially.

Af­ter some brief uni­son play­ing, there was a short piece by Tabea Squire with mem­bers of Or­ches­tra Welling­ton.

Then it was on to the main con­cert: two works from 1911. The Nielsen Vi­o­lin Con­certo was su­perbly played by Suyeon Kang, win­ner of the 2015 Michael Hill In­ter­na­tional Vi­o­lin Com­pe­ti­tion, in which she showed a mas­tery of a very dif­fi­cult solo part – two mas­sive ca­den­zas – and a real un­der­stand­ing of Nielsen’s highly dis­tinc­tive sound world.

So, too, did the or­ches­tra, which made light of some very tricky writ­ing. Maybe there was not quite enough weight of sound at times, but this was a mi­nor mat­ter, and the crisp­ness of the brass and the stylish­ness of the strings made Nielsen come alive.

But Stravin­sky’s Petrouchka was, per­haps, the or­ches­tra’s great­est challenge this year. It re­quires play­ing of great per­son­al­ity and char­ac­ter, and places de­mands on in­di­vid­u­als.

The chal­lenges were tri­umphantly met, with the bril­liant trum­pet play­ing of Josh Ro­gan a high­light, closely fol­lowed by the pi­ano of An­drew Atkins and the bas­soon play­ing of Leni Maeckle.

The horns, led by Shadley van Wyk, were finely as­sured and Karen Bat­ten’s flute was very stylish. IThe whole or­ches­tra showed an ease and pre­ci­sion not al­ways found in this dif­fi­cult piece.

Roll on The Rite of Spring next month. – John But­ton

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