'Essential Dunedin Sound' hits the right note

Singers (from left) Molly Devine, Metitilani Alo and Anthonie Tonnon perform Water Underground...
Singers (from left) Molly Devine, Metitilani Alo and Anthonie Tonnon perform Water Underground with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra in the ``Tally Ho! 3'' concert at the Dunedin Town Hall on Saturday night. PHOTOS: GERARD O'BRIEN
Martin Phillipps performs Pink Frost.
Martin Phillipps performs Pink Frost.
Graeme Downes sings with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra.
Graeme Downes sings with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra.
Anna Leese performs Man With No Desire as Peter Adams conducts.
Anna Leese performs Man With No Desire as Peter Adams conducts.
Shayne Carter performs She Speeds.
Shayne Carter performs She Speeds.

Tally Ho! 3 Dunedin Symphony Orchestra
Dunedin Town Hall
Saturday, April 13

REVIEWED BY ELIZABETH BOUMAN

The Dunedin Symphony Orchestra supported the University of Otago in its 150th anniversary celebrations, performing to a packed Dunedin Town Hall on Saturday evening, in a programme of "Essential Dunedin Sound", setting the pace with an exhilarating opener Tally Ho!

Some university personnel and alumni were on stage, headed in performance by Associate Prof Peter Adams, who conducted the concert of 23 songs with great enthusiasm. This is the third "Tally Ho!" concert presenting Dunedin's "trad pop sound" classically scored with orchestral colour by Verlaines singer-songwriter Graeme Downes.

I am not familiar with this original repertoire, so for me many of the arrangements seemed similar, with pulsating percussion carrying the beat, and I was thankful for excellent programme notes providing full text, historical information and arranger's comments, but a great many in the audience were tripping down memory lane, and extremely complimentary about the reincarnation of their favourite Dunedin Sound hits.

The orchestra worked hard and successfully to reproduce songs such as Death and the Maiden, Pink Frost, Cactus Cat and many more. My favourite of the night was Submarine Bells (The Chills), which was melodic with innovative orchestration and an absence of repetitive percussion and featured four of the evening's soloists - Martin Phillipps (who performed in the original) Molly Devine, Metitilani Alo and Anna Leese.

Downes and Devine shared vocals in many numbers but a highlight was Randolph, which revealed Devine's full vocal potential. Call the Days and Right on Time featured the original soloist Nadia Reid, in a pleasant unaffected delivery with clarity of diction. Leese adjusted her renowned classical style to suit solos Dark Carnival and Man With No Desire. Anthonie Tonnon inspired the audience to participate in Water Underground and Dunedin musician Shayne Carter soloed in Cast Stone, when violinist Tessa Peterson interpreted a rapid guitar "cadenza".

This cavalcade of unique orchestral sound with vocals from "back in the day" was popular and enjoyable entertainment.

 

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