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MAGICAL FLUTE PLAYING

Review of June 2022 Concert

Here was a concert well worth the wait having been rescheduled from March to June.  It produced two new names for the orchestra’s list of noteworthy conductors and soloists.

Joshua Kirk is an emerging New Zealand conductor, with advanced training in Australia and experience with several of the major orchestras in New Zealand and Australia.  His conducting style was clear and precise, and the orchestra responded with enthusiasm.

Anthony Ritchie’s Underwater Music, commissioned by the Auckland Sinfonietta and first performed in 1994 opened the programme.  The three movements represented sea horses, stingrays and dolphins, and the glittering wind playing evoked the creatures’ cavorting and sinuous movements, while the strings represented the sea in broad sweeping themes.  It is hoped we can hear it again.

The second new face appearing with the orchestra was Melanie Lançon, Principal flute with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, who played both before and after interval.  The Mozart Flute Concerto No 1 in G gives plenty of opportunity for artistry, and Lançon revelled in it.  She had lovely breath control, impressive technique and both sparkling brilliance and lyrical, sensitive playing.  Arthur Foote’s A Night Piece for Flute and Strings is an atmospheric and dreamlike fantasy, full of melody interwoven with orchestral colour.  Arthur Foote was one of the Boston Six – a group of composers working in Massachusetts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Amy Beach and Edward McDowell were two others in the group.  The work was written in 1918 in a late-romantic style.

Haydn’s Drumroll Symphony No 103 was first performed in London in 1794, and was named after the long drumroll with which it begins.  Following a rather sombre start the first movement breaks into a sparkling Allegro con spirito.  Haydn used a larger orchestra than he often did, and all sections had plenty of opportunities to shine.  The timpani excelled throughout, the strings were polished and meticulous, and the woodwind and brass made merry with an exultant Haydn.

Two unfamiliar works and two old favourites made for a glowing concert.  The audience certainly appreciated it.

Review by Rogan Falla