Moods of the ’20s expertly evoked

Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra concertmaster Andrew Beer. Photo: supplied
Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra concertmaster Andrew Beer. Photo: supplied

Tales of the Twenties
Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra
Glenroy Auditorium
Wednesday, October 14


Marian Poole
Marian Poole
A capacity audience gave the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra players thunderous applause for a well-executed, well-conceived programme of works from the 1920s.

Their programme focused on the melodious outcomes of the 1920s.

Lyrical and essentially tonal expressions included Vaughan Williams’ Six Studies in English Folk Song for piano, Sarah Watkins,and clarinet, Jonathan Cohen. It was quintessentially English pastoral - lyrical, gentle and imbued with nostalgia.

Florence Price’s ‘‘O Holy Lord’’, from Three Negro Spirituals, for piano and violin parallels Vaughan Williams’ sense of a beleaguered culture. Price’s demographic and gender, sadly, allowed denigration of her gentle spiritual sound.

The APO ensemble, including bassoonist Ingrid Hagan and trumpeter Josh Rogan, gave the Dunedin premiere of Ben Hoadley’s witty Cave Dances.

The long work reflects New Zealanders’ experience of the Roaring Twenties through sounds of the beach overlapping those of popular dance genres of the era.

Shostakovich’s Piano Trio, featuring Watkins, cellist Chen Cao and violinist Andrew Beer, reveals the Dada movement’s influences alongside that of chromatically fractured tonal idyll.

The work is both brusque and serene but always captivating.

Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat, rewritten for piano, clarinet and violin, also revels in Dadaism.

Martinu’s La Revue de Cuisine, for the full ensemble, is pure Dada, wittily ridiculing social absurdities. His writing for bassoon and trumpet is excellent. The work is worth revisiting.

The APO players are an excellently accomplished group, proving that perceptions of home-grown creativity will improve with exposure.

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