Standing ovation an honour well earned
REVIEW: Vector Wellington Orchestra, conducted by Marc Taddei with Michael Houstoun (piano). Music by Haydn, Rachmaninov and Schmidt
Wellington Town Hall, Saturday
Reviewed by John Button
In this, the last concert of the year for the embattled Wellington Orchestra, a large audience was in attendance to appreciate both the quality on offer, and the imagination and commitment that Marc Taddei has brought to music- making in the capital.
The audience was drawn by the ever popular Rachmaninov Second Piano Concerto and Michael Houstoun, and they were not disappointed. His was a performance with the assurance of having played the work seemingly forever, and his technical assurance and poetic instinct drew a justified standing ovation.
But the real reason for drawing such a large audience was to introduce them to the powerful, deeply affecting, Fourth Symphony of Franz Schmidt. It is amazing that this was the first New Zealand performance of this taut, rich work and Marc Taddei, conducting from memory, gave a performance of extraordinary tension.
The heart of the work is the adagio A requiem for my daughter, which opens and closes with a deeply affecting cello solo - here played with marvellous assurance by Jane Young - and includes a funeral march as intense as Titurel's funeral from Wagner's Parsifal. The symphony opens and closes with a trumpet solo of wide intervals and great individuality, played nervelessly by Barrett Hocking.
The expanded orchestra played the whole work wonderfully well - not the richness of the Vienna Philharmonic, which has been closely associated with the work, but still with a confidence and projection that was riveting.
The concert opened with yet another Haydn symphony. The Symphony No 44 'Trauer' showed that the orchestra has grasped the Haydn style to the point that, for many, it might have been the concert's secret highlight.
The Dominion Post