Maori quartet, orchestra collaboration inspired and entertaining
The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Summer Pops with the Modern Maori Quartet. Regent on Broadway, Palmerston North, Thursday, March 9.
REVIEW: Traditionally, summer is the time that orchestras explore the lighter sides of their repertoire and this year our symphony orchestra has embarked on a national tour featuring the Modern Maori Quartet.
Together they bring to the concert platform the culture of the garage party, so central to New Zealand tradition.
In realisation, the evening saw the orchestra playing a largely supporting role as the quartet, consisting of James Tito, Maaka Pohatu, Matariki Whatarau and Francis Kora, took centre stage.
They played due homage to their musical and cultural backgrounds, exploring life and loves both won and lost, while all the while presenting waiata that were largely written by the members of the quartet themselves.
There can be no doubt that this quartet deserves the reputation that they are gaining internationally as, with their obvious musicianship always to the fore, they represent the best of the mighty showband tradition.
Their work was greatly enhanced by the magnificent work of the orchestra who only amplified the intricacies of the music with some superb arrangements – although it has to be acknowledged the orchestra itself seemed a little lost in the mix.
The idea of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra touring with the Modern Maori Quartet was indeed inspired, even though the structure and formalities of the evening seemed to prevent the party reaching the giddy heights possible from this distinctive combination of such momentous talent.
However, there was much to savour and admire throughout the evening ensuring this is an idea definitely worth further exploration.