NZTrio’s Old World: New World

FULL REVIEW:

The modern came first in NZTrio’s Old World: New World concert. The Auckland Town Hall seemed stadium-like for those of us accustomed to this group in more intimate surroundings; sometimes one craned forward to catch the hushed sonorities of Bright Sheng’s Four Movements for Piano Trio. The three players responded sensitively to Sheng’s exotic world, especially in the third movement, when Ashley Brown’s cello, perfectly replicating a Chinese flute, was subsumed in a toccata of unabated fury.

Claire Cowan’s new commission, Subtle Dances, is a work of admirable lightness and humour, well caught in performance. After some witty “false starts”, the first movement set up a Latin groove, cleverly caught on strings and providing a rustling backdrop for Sarah Watkins’ piquant piano lines. The jazz-tinged slow movement needed a smaller hall, but was a stepping-stone to another toccata.

I have yet to be convinced by the eclectic voice of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, and NZTrio’s engaged and purposeful account of the American composer’s Piano Trio did not convert me. But the musicians were as persuasive as one could wish in a sinewy score, too ostentatious in its motivic play and revealing a heart only in the dark tones of its slow movement.

After interval, Watkins introduced Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio as one of the ultimate challenges in their repertoire. This score is dominated by the piano, and it was even more so in this setting. Not enough string detail came through against Watkins’ magnificent chords. The highlight came in the variations of the second movement, based on a theme that has always reminded me of the Maori lullaby Hine e Hine. Tchaikovsky’s most imaginative and vivid writing received its full dues, twisting the tune from pizzicato scherzo, fugue and mazurka to a waltz that could have floated into Swan Lake.

 

William Dart – New Zealand Herald, 10 May 2013

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NZTrioSunday, May 28th, 2017 at 9:00am
A big shout out to NZ On Air and SOUNZ Centre for New Zealand Music for funding these Resound films of our 2016 FLARE adventure with Simon O'Neill. Performed live at the Great Hall of the Arts Centre of CHCH, this is Alex Taylor's transcription of Strauss's 'Four Lieder' Op.27. More to come.... https://vimeo.com/209649644
NZTrio
R. STRAUSS: Four Lieder, arr. ALEX TAYLOR
This is "R. STRAUSS: Four Lieder, arr. ALEX TAYLOR" by SOUNZ on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.
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NZTrio
NZTrioSaturday, May 27th, 2017 at 6:06pm
Tuesday night's final performance with Justine was special in so many ways - it really felt like a celebration of the incredible music we have enjoyed and the enormous contribution she has made over the years. We were therefore enormously honoured to have been presented, on stage, with a citation and grant by The Lilburn Trust for outstanding services to New Zealand music - the first time in the history of the award that the citation has been given to an ensemble. We couldn't be more proud of our fellow composers, and we will continue to champion their vital and vibrant voices on stage throughout Aotearoa and the world. It truly is a privilege. Thank you!!
NZTrio
NZTrioThursday, May 25th, 2017 at 1:33pm
A big THANK YOU and fond farewell from Justine.
NZTrio
NZTrioWednesday, May 24th, 2017 at 10:31am
And that's a wrap for our beloved Justine. It was a beautiful #swansong and a room/theatre/bar(!) full of palpable love. Thankyou to all our wonderful guests, friends, family, and supporters for sharing it with us.
NZTrio
NZTrioTuesday, May 23rd, 2017 at 11:38am
A few tickets left for tonight's concert. Here's William Dart's review of Sunday's performance. Book here: http://bit.ly/booknztrio. See you there!
NZTrio
NZTrioMonday, May 22nd, 2017 at 2:42pm
Sarah leads a toast to Justine at last night’s concert 🍾🥂

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