NZTrio perform with passion – and fun


Thoroughly enjoyed by a good-size audience, light and lovely music was served up at lunchtime this sunny festival day.

It was to be a fun concert, the dress of the NZ Trio, Watkins wearing her trademark boots and a shirt featuring a huge pair of lips, Cormack a tshirt emblazoned with an enormous eye and Brown in casual black, made that very clear.

Having been together for well over a decade, the understanding between them is clear and they play as one. Their carefully chosen programme took us from the late 19th century to the end of the 20th, starting with the Piano Trio in G major from a teenaged Debussy, on to Gareth Farr’s 1998 piece Ahi, and finally to Paul Schoenfield’s Cafe Music written in 1986.

It was intriguing to hear this very early piece from Debussy, sort of from his chrysalis stage before he became a beautiful butterfly. It is very pretty music with lovely melodies, the first movement, Andantino con moto allegro, introduced by the violin, taken up by the cello then together ornamenting the motif while the piano took over the melody. Again, in the 3rd movement, Andante espressivo, there is a luscious melody and the Finale-Appassionato ends with a flourish.

Gareth Farr’s Ahi (Fire) is written in four movements. Starting with a solo on piano, the strings echoing the melody, the first movement Semplice ma espressivo is instantly appealing; enter the fire in Scherzo with loud and intense plucking of the violin and cello, syncopation from the piano – and an abrupt, somewhat startling end. A tender and beautiful slow movement aptly called Interlude follows then an amazing tangle of sound and the intro theme reappears, strengthened and powerful.

Throughout the trio played with suitable passion, the audience really appreciating the opportunity to listen to such an approachable work from a contemporary New Zealand composer.

It was, however, Cafe Music, that gave this concert its whoopee-wow factor. From the fast, slow, fast light hearted and joyful ragtime start of the Allegro, with a wonderful sense of humour in the music, we were in awe at the adaptability of these classical musicians.

They really put the swing into swing!

An absolute switch of mood came with the Rubato, a paraphrased Jewish folk song, when the violin then the cello, then the two stringed instruments together, backed by the piano, eloquently played this poignant melody. It was heartrending and beautiful.

The final movement, Presto, again featured fast syncopation, humour and fun. It would have been a challenge to play, especially for Watkins, who bounced through triumphantly. This was a fabulous afternoon.


Gail Tresidder – Nelson Mail, 8 Feb 2013

Review by:

Subscribe to E-news

Latest from Facebook

NZTrioFriday, March 16th, 2018 at 4:36pm
NZTrioTuesday, March 13th, 2018 at 4:00pm
A totally unplanned fashion blunder at HQ meeting today. Great minds! #allbirdsrawesome
NZTrioThursday, March 8th, 2018 at 1:18pm
Grab a radio and listen in March 9th (tomorrow) at 7:30pm for RNZ Concert's 2015 recording of Chamber Music New Zealand's #ComposerConnections tour showcasing many of NZ's top composers and the inspiration behind their work.
NZTrioMonday, March 5th, 2018 at 5:18pm
Our good friend and uber-talented composer Chris Gendall is talking to Jesse Mulligan on RNZAfternoons tomorrow 6 March. Those who tune in might be in for a reminder that good things come in threes (plus #orchestrawellington) @Jesse Mulligan 1pm to 4pm@Chris Gendall
NZTrioThursday, March 1st, 2018 at 3:27pm
If you'd like to re-live, or share with a friend who missed the live version of SPIRAL (2017 Loft Series featuring violinist #NatalieLin), be sure and tune into RNZ Concert's #MusicAlive programme on Friday March 2nd, 7:30pm for the recorded version :)
NZTrioSunday, February 25th, 2018 at 3:22pm
Listen in Feb 26th at 7:30pm on RNZ #MusicAlive to hear the 2017 Michael Hill International Violin Competition with collaborative performances by our own Justine Cormack (violin), Sarah Watkins (piano), and Ashley Brown (cello).

Latest from Twitter

© 2015-2018
Made in Tel Aviv, Israel by Virtuti-D