This music spoke more than ever from the heart

FULL REVIEW:

NZTrio appears to have claimed the welcoming space of Q Theatre’s Loft as its Auckland home, enabling Justine Cormack, Ashley Brown and Sarah Watkins to play to a capacity audience while retaining the friendliness of a house concert.

On Sunday, the first of its Loft series set off with a rarity – a 1921 Trio by English composer Rebecca Clarke. If not a New Zealand premiere, then certainly this was probably a first hearing for most in the room. Although Clarke was settled in the United States at the time, there is something ineffably English in this score’s carefully manicured lines, admitting a dash of Celtic lyricism and the occasional Debussian wash. Only in the final movement does one sense strain as Clarke ventures into tougher territory with what comes across as a rumbustious reel. It could not have had a more sympathetic performance than the one we experienced. There was much enjoyment from watching Watkins luxuriating in rhapsodical piano writing and listening in to the many conversational exchanges between the strings, at their most tender in the idyllic second movement.

Psathas’ Corybas is as far from an idyll as one could imagine, inspired by the Greek mythological figure associated with a particular brand of Aegean wildness – an image that might seem ready made for this composer’s house style. Brown warned us of “quite complicated rhythms” – an understatement for the expertly manoeuvred twists and turns in the middle section. If Watkins’ piano groove tended to dominate, there were subtler rewards in the string relationships around it, although the work does not equal the stature of Psathas’ earlier Helix, which the musicians premiered six years ago.

NZTrio has lived with Shostakovich’s E minor Trio for some years now, a relationship accentuated in the intimacy of this setting. From Cormack and Brown’s hushed opening lines to those implacable piano chords that fuel its heartrending Largo, this music spoke more than ever from the heart.

This concert was quite a journey at well over an hour – 75 minutes allowing for a slightly late start. Even a 10-minute break before the Shostakovich would have been welcome.

 

William Dart – New Zealand Herald, 16 July 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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