REVIEW: A Burst of Brilliance Old St John's Inaugural Concert: Thursday, February 14.
French pianist Claire Rouault blew open the church doors with a burst of brilliance in Ali & Eelco Boswijk's latest musical contribution to our lovely city. What a find Rouault is! I am sure I speak for the full house of young and old alike, who gave you a standing ovation - welcome to New Zealand and we hope you find a home for yourself, very close to Nelson.
A well-balanced programme began with three elegant light pieces from the Spanish Scarlatti and finishing the first half with Bach. Both composers were alive in the late 1600s, but the difference between the southern and western European composers was evident.
We had a brief interlude to admire the church interior and appreciate the trompe-l'oeil of light playing on the paintwork, which appeared to range from darling duck egg blue to hardly-there-at-all pale blue.
The repertoire moved on into the 19th century with Chopin's mazurkas and my favourite for the night Fantaisie Impromptu op.6. Rouault is an absolute marvel, effortlessly laying out the endless series of rapid cadenzas in semi-quavers (translation: Piles of tiny little notes played at breakneck speed).
Truly gorgeous on the ear and jaw-droppingly difficult to play, especially without any music sheets for the entire performance.
The five final pieces of the Russian Scriabin provided a deeper foil to the lighter pieces. Strong, earnest, demanding grand passion finished the evening with a flourish that brought the audience to its feet.
Thank you to the Boswijks for buying our lovely church and the musical concerts you plan to have here, both past and future. Ali stated, "We wanted an accessible family event and were going for a sedate start." Stupendous may be more apt.
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