NZTrio features on this release of music by John Psathas – performing Helix, a work commissioned by NZTrio in 2006.The performance has been described by New Zealand Herald reviewer William Dart as one that ‘guarantees goosebumps’ and he rates the album 5 out of 5.
Helix is a truly 21st century album. Inspired by an eclectic range of musical interests, the album takes the listener on a millennia-leaping journey, from the sounds of the ancient Mediterranean, through the dance music of 18th century Italy, to the latest dubstep and drum’n’bass beats of 21st century South East London. The album features stellar performances by NZTrio, the New Zealand String Quartet and Donald Nicolson.
More Tracklist Excerpts
John Psathas: Helix
Archon : Metron (exc.)
The Biggest Nothing of Them All (exc.)
John Psathas – Helix
John Psathas has been one of the heroes of New Zealand music for some years now. He famously scored the Athens Olympics, has taken Little Bushman into symphony hall and, most recently, has provided what sounds like some pretty hip music for Mike Wallis’ western Good for Nothing.
Helix is an attractive collection of chamber music that offers the chance to get up close and personal with Psathas. The insinuating Songs for Simon, with Psathas himself looping and sequencing behind Donald Nicolson’s undulating piano lines, woos one in; NZTrio’s shattering title piece, with a Tarantismo movement that almost rivals the recent Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra version for firing power, guarantees goosebumps.
We have waited too long to hear Psathas’ transcription of Kartsigar which the New Zealand String Quartet has been taking around the world. It turns out to be a fascinating exploration of that elusive world between song and dance, the perfect complement to his earlier Abhisheka.
The best comes last. Waiting: Still is a lulling mood piece that features Nicolson’s piano laced with the composer’s own gamelan sonorities – a timely and deserved tribute to Jack Body, teacher, friend and inspirational force on the music scene.
Album rating: 5/5
William Dart – New Zealand Herald