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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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!
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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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