Review: Fine performance from NZSO

NZSO
Regent Theatre
Wednesday, November 21


The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra was in great form for its concert in Dunedin's Regent Theatre yesterday.

The programme, conducted by young Finnish conductor Pietari Inkinen, comprised three very contrasting works and was a real treat for the large early evening audience.

The programme began with Mozart's Symphony No 29, K 201. Light floating string timbre with a buoyancy which never sagged, highlighted the opening movement, and the whole was accorded refreshing individual moods and character within stylistic boundaries.

Concerto for Two Violins BWV 1043 was an exciting Baroque work with soloists Pietari Inkinen and Vesa-Matti Leppanen. A familiar work for followers of classical music, the Bach Double as it is sometimes nicknamed, is a three-movement work crammed with fugal imitation and counterpoint.

The assembly of 20 strings appeared visually a tad sparse on the Regent stage, backed by empty chairs and abandoned timps, but volume of sound was forthcoming, with impressive nuance and disciplined homophonic weight.

Mandatory balance between soloists was brilliant and evenly poised, as pathways were negotiated through Bach's ingenious fugal themes and devices.

The second movement Adagio was breathtakingly beautiful.

After the interval, it was Beethoven - big, bold and boisterous. Completed in 1812, Symphony No 7 Op 92 opens with a rousing movement in a bright key, before giving way to focus on the more lyrical and compelling rhythmic themes of the popular Allegretto.

Inkinen then jollied the Presto along with youthful giocoso ambience and passion, before the energy of the opening movement returned, relentlessly driving an exhilarating finale allegro con brio with its exciting and energised rhythmic focus.

It is easy to see why the composer referred to his seventh symphony as "one of my best works".

 - Elizabeth Bouman