Reviews, News and Commentary

Mt Eden’s boutique chamber music festival on in April

John Daly-Peoples

NZ Trio

Mt Eden Chamber Music Festival

Mt Eden Village Centre

Friday 29 April to Sunday 1 May

John Daly-Peoples

Next month will see the return of the boutique Mt Eden Chamber Music Festival which has been delayed twice because of Covid.
The festival offers three one-hour concerts over the course of the weekend, featuring an impressive line-up of New Zealand’s top classical musicians including two important chamber ensembles along with APO Section Principals.

Friday 7pm


Amalia Hall (violin), Ashley Brown (cello) and Somi Kim (piano)

Christos Hatzis, Old Photographs

Salina Fisher, Kintsugi

Brahms, Piano Trio No

Brahms’s Piano Trio No. 1 began as a  youthful work which was completing in January 1854, when he was 21. This trio version was substantially revised in 1889, 35 years later, so it is a work separated by three-and-a-half decades of experience.

Hatzis’ work is part of his larger “Constantinople”  which  draws on his Greek heritage. It is filled with music which touches on remembering and romancing with sounds from gospel, Sufi and mediaeval chants, along with Greek folksong. The work opened with Somi Kim playing an achingly lovely passage, filled with longing which gradually morphs, along with the other instruments into a Piazzolla style with many tango rhythms such that the work could more aptly be titled “Buenos Aires”.

Parts of the work became quite frenzied which then turned into slow languid passages before returning to more passionate tangos where Hall and Brown engaged in a ferocious bowing competition. Throughout there was a sense of photographic images being examined some blurred, some ripped, some black and white, some filled with colour as well as ancient sepia toned ones

Salina Fisher’s innovative work Kintsugi, relates to the ancient Japanese art of repairing broken pottery and dusting the new work with gold. The music focused on the gaps and fragments highlighting the fragility of the process as the piece was slowly assembled. While the violin and cello seemed to describe the colours, textures and contours of the bowl or vase the piano picked out the seams of the material bonding the broken shards and the shimmering gold.

While describing the physical changes in the pottery the work with its delicate, brittle sounds acted as a metaphor for the ability of humans to mend broken bodies and minds.

Stephen de Pledge, Bede Hanley, Melanie Lancon

Saturday 7pm

Melanie Lancon (flute), Bede Hanley (oboe) and Stephen de Pledge (piano)

Works by Gaubert, Richard and Clara  Schumann, Faure and Dring

NZ Chamber Soloists

Sunday 3pm

NZ Chamber Soloists 

Lara Hall (violin), James Tennant (cello), Katherine Austin (piano)

With Simeon Broom (violin)

Janacek, Sonata for Violin and Piano

Schubert, String Trio D471

Janacek’s  Sonata for Violin and Piano was written in response to the Russian invasion of Hungary at the beginning of  World War I. The Sonata is typical of the mature Janacek in its general style, in the way melodic fragments are tersely repeated and juxtaposed. The first movement, with its dramatic opening on solo violin and agitated piano accompaniment, seems nearest to his depiction of the war. The Ballada, with its long, lyrical main theme is among Janacek’s most romantic inspirations while the ensuing Allegretto has echoes of folk music in its gypsy-like violin slides.

Among the first Romantic era composers of Germany, Franz Schubert served as an important figure in the transition from the Classical era into the Romantic era. This String Trio  was only partly written by Schubert, and has been finished by the Schubert expert Brian Newbould, creating acharming  full length trio in the style of Schubert and using quotations from other Schubert works, as Schubert himself did on occasion.

Simeon Broom

For bookings email

Vaccine passes are required for all visitors to the Mt Eden Village Centre.

By johndpart

Arts reviewer for thirty years with the National Business Review

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