Richly rewarding, assured, dynamic performance

JOHN BUTTON
Last updated 06:56 24/06/2014
bianca Andrew
GIFTED SINGER: Mezzo-soprano Bianca Andrew was the heart of Orchestra Wellington's concert.

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MUSIC: Orchestra Wellington conducted by Marc Taddei with Bianca Andrew (mezzo soprano)

Music by Haydn, Mahler/deLeeuw, Mozart

Opera House, Wellington, June 22

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I suppose it should have been no surprise that, after playing the programme on two previous days, this should have offered such assured music making. In the dry, but immediate and theatrical acoustics of the Opera House, the orchestra sounded wonderfully dynamic all concert, and with Marc Taddei offering a suitably alert and intensely musical approach to the whole programme - this was richly rewarding.

In both the opening Symphony No 82 (The Bear) by Haydn and the concluding Symphony No 40 by Mozart the orchestra displayed great vibrancy.

Haydn's humour came through in vivid fashion and the Mozart symphony showed Mozart's operatic inclinations as it so rarely does in more reverent performances. A chamber-sized string section played with wonderful unanimity, backed by some of this orchestra's best wind playing, superb trumpets and horns and, in the Haydn, very pointed tympani from Jeremy Fitzsimons.

But the heart of this concert was a deeply affecting singing of Mahler's Kindertotenlieder by Bianca Andrew.

What a gifted young singer she is. This is, both technically and emotionally, a most difficult work to bring off, so to hear such a young singer so completely inside Friederich Ruckert's harrowing poems on the death of children was revelatory. Interestingly the orchestra delivered Reinbert de Leeuw's 1991 arrangement of the orchestral part which, unlike some of the quirky Mahler arrangements by Schonberg's Society for Private Musical Performances, is a model of style, and again, aided by some absolutely superb horn playing by Ed Allen, the orchestra was stylish and pointed.

Andrew's singing deserved no less.

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- The Dominion Post

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