REVIEW: Nelson Symphony Orchestra: Solo Spotlight. Conducted by Mick Dowrick, Nelson School of Music, Nelson Winter Music Festival, last night.
I'm not often lost for words but this came close. What can you say in plain prose about six gifted, young musicians who, with the Nelson Symphony Orchestra, transported a full auditorium to higher planes?
The offerings of all six conveyed their individual eloquence, sensitively accompanied and supported by the orchestra.
Wellington violinist Claudia Tarrant-Matthews was just 12 when she performed in the 2010 Solo Spotlight. This time she played the haunting second movement of Polish composer Wieniawski's Violin Concerto, Romance, with such maturity and feeling its beauty brought tears to the eyes.
Pianist Aziel Verner then enchanted with a delicate, light touch in the lyrical Romanze from Mozart's Piano Concerto No 20. It was as if the audience held its breath for what would not be the only time in this programme.
Motueka High School student Louis Lucas-Perry seemed less assured in the opening notes of the first movement of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No 3. That was until the tall, shy pianist launched into a dazzling performance of a piece known for its intricate technical demands, which his flying fingers met with ease through all tempo and volume changes.
Next came the rare treat of classical saxophonist Reuben Chin, playing Glazounov's Saxophone Concerto. Chin made his instrument speak through all the moods of the piece, with complex triple-tonguing with jazz echoes then mesmerising high notes returning to the melodic theme.
Andrew Atkins, a student of NZ School of Music head piano tutor Jian Liu, who recently gave a stunning recital in Motueka, looked every inch the maestro with tailored tails and flowing hair as he immersed himself in the second movement of Beethoven's 2nd Piano Concerto, delivering the piece with elegance and precision.
It ended with Chopin's Andante Spinato et Grande Polonaise. It was performed with passionate, enthralling skill by Thomas Nikora, leaving the man on the door to enjoy seeing "a lot of smiling faces" file out.
- © Fairfax NZ News