NZTrio masters of the musical mix

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Musicians’ Chinese collaboration explores versatility of strings.

 

NZTrio wrapped up their latest Lardelli commission, Between Strings, within two fragrant specimens of romantic chamber music.

Beyond the windows of Q Theatre’s Loft, the city was obligingly quiescent on this Sunday evening, the flickering blue and red light of a police car just a momentary distraction during the second concert in NZTrio’s Loft series.

Once again these musicians affirmed their status as masters of the musical mix, wrapping their latest commission, Dylan Lardelli’s Between Strings, within two fragrant specimens of romantic chamber music.

Amy Beach’s 1938 Piano Trio would have been old-fashioned in its time. However, its meld of misty impressionism, lushly woven textures and Gaelic hoe-down, all gathered together from older material, is the American composer at her best. It was given a lovely rendering. In the first movement, Sarah Watkins provided the sheen, while Justine Cormack and Ashley Brown engaged in delicately poised dialogue, heightened by the occasional flirtatious portamento.

The new Lardelli work was a collaborative venture, enlisting Xiyao Chen on the guzheng, or Chinese zither. Yao introduced himself by enchanting us with two solos on a traditionally tuned instrument. One was an ethereal folksong, with a soupcon of Oriental blues in its wispy bent notes; the other was the spirited Celebrating the Lantern Festival, by Yao’s grandfather Cao Dongfu, letting loose with some bold dramatic gestures. Moving to a second, specially tuned guzheng, Yao joined NZTrio in Lardelli’s exhaustive and fascinating exploration of the sonic possibilities of four string instruments.

A complex score (with three pages of instructions) made for a beguiling soundscape. Much was whispered, often ingeniously in harmonics, with perhaps some secrets left undivulged. Yet, in scale and sonorities, this was an exquisitely crafted rapprochement of East and West.

These musicians included Arensky’s First Piano Trio in a concert nine years ago, marking the group’s residency with Auckland University’s School of Music. NZTrio has been an independent entity for some years now, and on the night the confidence and sheer thrust in tackling this Russian score compelled, even if a slight edge occasionally crept into the string tone.

 

William Dart – New Zealand Herald, 3 Sept 2013

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NZTrioTuesday, November 21st, 2017 at 9:51am
We’re proud to count NZTrio as part of the Q whanau ... so deserved Q team!! Congratulations
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NZTrioFriday, November 17th, 2017 at 2:34pm
Amazing night at the VMAS NZTrio SWAY winner of Classical Artist thanks to #rattle & all our NZ composers
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NZTrioFriday, November 17th, 2017 at 8:50am
There’s a Tui in my garden!
Big ups to our fellow nominees Te Koki Trio and Jenny McLeod, and to Steve Garden at Rattle.
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NZTrioFriday, November 17th, 2017 at 7:48am
WOOHOO! Best Classical Artist 2017 - what a fabulous night at the #NZMA! Thanks so much Steve and the Rattle crew!
NZTrio
NZTrioTuesday, November 14th, 2017 at 5:20pm
Join us for Last Calls for our 2017 year as we SOAR tonight at 7pm in Auckland at Loft & last rounds of our specially potent cocktail - thanks #QTheatre crew.
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NZTrioMonday, November 13th, 2017 at 11:47am
Pretty proud that our #rattle recorded CD SWAY is up for a Tui this year. Sarah & Ashley chat to Eva on Upbeat today at 1pm about their fave pieces. Thanks #RNZ Concert.

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