Review: Lunchtime concerts open in style

Lunchtime concert
Marama Hall
Wednesday, March 14

Wednesday lunchtime concerts at Marama Hall are under way again, and yesterday's recital set a high standard of performance for the very large audience of students and classical music devotees.

Prof Terence Dennis and Helene du Plessis (Williams Evans executant lecturer), of the University of Otago, performed two sonatas for their respective instruments, piano and cello.

Beethoven was the first great composer of cello sonatas, and Sonata in G minor for Cello & Piano, op.5, no.2 was written in the earlier years of his life of composing.

Adagio sostenuto ed espressivo opened with leisurely passages which immediately drew the listener to the beauty of resonance of the one instrument and the variety of accompanying textures and melodic agility of the other.

The catchy opening theme of Rondo (Allegro) was accorded a freshness and clarity which was retained to the end.

Balance between these two instruments could be a difficult medium, with low cello notes susceptible to swamping from piano bass, but not so with these two performers, who appear to have developed an exceptional understanding of each other's interpretation and desired levels of nuance.

Sonata for Cello & Piano in C major op.65 was composed by Benjamin Britten in 1961. A different style from a completely different age, with delivery suitably agitated for the opening Dialogo and a delightful "catch me if you can" mood for the Scherzo-pizzicato, where the cello part was totally pizzicato from both hands.

Two more movements followed, both stunningly interpreted, and the final busily rhythmic and quite snappy movement Moto Perpetuo raced to a final triumphant chord.

A Habanera, by Ravel, completed this very professional performance recital.

- Elizabeth Bouman 



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