Immaculately balletic performance from masterly trio

NZTrio members (from left) Ashley Brown (cello), Somi Kim (piano) and Amalia Hall (violin). PHOTO...
NZTrio members (from left) Ashley Brown (cello), Somi Kim (piano) and Amalia Hall (violin). PHOTO: SUPPLIED
NZTrio, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Friday, September 1.

A capacity audience heard a beautifully constructed and performed programme, "Tunes from My Home", from NZTrio under the pitched glass ceiling of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery’s atrium. NZTrio are a highly professional and accomplished ensemble. All three, Amalia Hall (violin), Ashley Brown (cello) and Somi Kim (piano), are soloists in their own right. Their ensemble playing is immaculately balletic.

NZTrio made excellent use of the venue’s highly reverberant acoustics, particularly in Victoria Kelly’s Lyre — an evocation of her ancestral home, the Faroe Islands. The islands have provided strategic ports, enabling cultural amalgams over many human migrations. Kelly’s technically challenging work is highly successful. She wraps her landscape in mystery through the use of harmonics and fast-moving repeated figures. Appropriately impressionistic, it never settles on one particular cultural influence. Oceans exhale and inhale; mountains rise a fifth and fall a tone. The whole is lovingly plagal.

Chen Yi’s Tunes from My Home evokes nostalgia and the anger of the politically abused. Reminiscent of Tan Dun’s amalgams, Chen celebrates highly energetic traditional Cantonese folk melodies against a backdrop of western articulation, including a fugue, denoting flight. Her fluid yet rhythmic complexities and technical demands result in an extremely beautiful work.

Enescu’s rediscovered work, Piano Trio in A minor, aptly crosses the boundaries between the two recent works. It bases itself on Hungarian folk tunes but the whole has a gentle elegance derived perhaps from his years with Faure.

The stability of cultural pride in Dvorak’s wonderful Piano Trio No 3 seemed oddly out of place. Its bombast is finely nuanced; the melodies twine delightfully between the players creating an air of equanimity. The Allegro grazioso delightful opening passage was excellently realised.

NZTrio deserve accolades for commissioning works, particularly from New Zealand composers who so richly deserve elevation.