NZTrio’s Sunday concert achieved a meld of East and West that fully justified its title, Glow.
Ear-teasing delicacies in Zhou Long’s Spirit of Chimes included the allure of string writing, in which pitches swayed like reeds in the breeze. Yet did Zhou’s more adventurous outbursts really coalesce with conservatively treated folk material?
Gareth Farr’s Forbidden Colours revealed Asian allegiances in the gamelan gleam of Sarah Watkins’ piano, tempered by the spirit of Prokofiev marching in its middle section. Farr is a master of bedazzlement, and does it well here, for ten hypnotic minutes.
Gao Ping’s newly commissioned Feng Zheng, an evocation of a kite’s trajectory, was, perhaps inevitably, the high point of the evening.
NZTrio was joined by the marvellous Xia Jing, whose zither-like guzheng made its voice felt in the composer’s intricate dialogues, all delivered with the fascinating detail and determination of a sonic embroidery circle.
After interval, Rachmaninov’s Second Élégiac Trio took us firmly back to the West.
Compositionally, it may be somewhat loosely strung together, but the sheer passion of the musicians, up close and personal in the Q Loft, was thrilling. The anger in the massive walls of sound in its first movement well caught the composer’s grief at the death of Tchaikovsky.
This wonderful concert is repeated tonight at 6.30. Not to be missed.
William Dart, New Zealand Herald – 27 Sept 2016