Magnificent performance of great work

Last updated 12:22 08/11/2011

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REVIEW: Ensemble Liaison with Wilma Smith.
Chamber Music New Zealand Kaleidoscopes Concert Season 2011.
Regent on Broadway, Saturday, November 5.
Reviewed by STEPHEN FISHER.

There can be no doubt that this year's Chamber Music New Zealand Kaleidoscopes Season has given us some of the concert highlights of the year, and Saturday's concert only further enhanced the programme.

The combined talents of Ensemble Liaison and Wilma Smith presented a splendid concert, culminating in a magnificent performance of one of the most influential chamber music works of the past century.

Throughout the evening, the performance gave testament to the fact that these were players highly in tune with each other. With perfect balance, a strong group dynamic and a magnificently expressive ensemble quality that bought to life not only the major work of the evening – Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time – but also Beethoven's Clarinet Trio in Bb and Bartok's Contrasts.

This was a well-chosen programme which revealed the obvious outstanding talent of all players, Timothy Young (piano), Svetlana Bogosavljevic (cello), David Griffiths (clarinet) and Wilma Smith (violin) as each was given the chance to reveal their virtuosity.

However, while the entire programme was beautifully executed, it was the major work of the evening that garnered the most admiration from the audience.

The work itself was written in a German prisoner-of-war camp, the composer himself the pianist at its premiere in 1941.

Grand in scale, the eight movements all stand on their own individually, while together they provide a continually changing wash of sound that is a constant interest and delight upon the ear.

This was, indeed, a stunning way to end what has been a wonderful year.

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