Impressive and richly rewarding concert from trio

JOHN BUTTON
Last updated 06:43 23/06/2014
Nikki Chooi Stephen De Pledge
Fairfax NZ

WINNER'S TOUR: Violinist Nikki Chooi was beautifully supported by pianist Stephen De Pledge.

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Performance

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CLASSICAL: Nikki Chooi (violin) with Stephen De Pledge (piano), Ashley Brown (cello)

Music by Mozart, Smetana, Beethoven, Body and Ravel

Michael Fowler Centre June 20

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This concert was one from the Winner's Tour - part of the prize package for the winner of the 2013 Michael Hill International Violin Competition. That was a lovely recital by an immensely talented violinist supported by two superb New Zealand musicians.

The concert opened with Mozart's Violin Sonata in E flat composed in 1778; a two-movement work of disarming simplicity that is hard to bring off. But Chooi handled the work with a calm style, beautifully supported by pianist Stephen De Pledge. In some ways the gorgeous Piano Trio by Smetana was the highlight of the concert. With a deeply impressive relationship between all three players, this intensely rich creation came alive in glowing terms, revealing that Chooi is not just a dazzling technician, but a chamber musician of some class. The playing of both Ashley Brown and de Pledge was also of the highest quality, completing a richly rewarding experience.

The second half opened with a very fine reading of Beethoven's Violin Sonata in E flat, composed in 1798. The final two works allowed Chooi to display the more obviously virtuoso aspects of his violin mastery. Jack Body's Caravan was the test piece for the competition, and it requires the violin to master some very tricky moments.

The concert finished with some dazzling violin thrills with Ravel's Tzigane. Chooi tossed these pieces off with some aplomb, but I left this impressive concert thinking that this gifted player was happier with musical substance, rather than brilliant display.

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- The Dominion Post

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