Orchestra visit a rare treat

The Star reporter Brenda Harwood
NZSO String Quartet
Glenroy Auditorium
Wednesday, June 12
NZSO Dunedin Town Hall
Thursday, June 13


A rare visit from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra is cause for celebration for Dunedin music lovers, who look forward to a tantalising selection of music played by the very best.

So anticipation was high as moderate audiences took their seats for two contrasting concerts last week — the "Reflections" showcase of string quartets by the masters, Schubert and Beethoven; and the orchestra "Jubilation" programme highlighting Richard Strauss and Shostakovich.


In Reflections, a top-notch quartet comprising Jessica Oddie (violin), Yuka Eguchi (violin), Alexander McFarlane (viola), and Ken Ichinose (cello), performed a nicely-balanced programme of beautiful, intriguing works.

The concert began with Schubert’s wonderful one-movement Quartettsatz, in which the players highlighted moments of glorious melody, and made the most of the work’s shifts of light and dark.

The concert’s second half featured Beethoven’s magnificent Quartet No.9 in C major, with the four players showing strong understanding as they tackled its many demands with aplomb. The final movement’s brilliant scherzo was taken at breakneck speed, drawing the concert to a thrilling conclusion and earning a well-deserved shout of delight from the audience.


The NZSO’s "Jubilation" concert, in front of a moderate audience at Dunedin Town Hall, showcased very contrasting works by Richard Strauss and Dmitri Shostakovich, along with two short, fun pieces by New Zealand composers Henry Meng and Sai Natarajan.

Conducted with verve by James Judd, the concert’s first half opened with a small orchestra for Meng’s quick and light Fanfare, before numbers of players reduced further for Strauss’ work Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme.

Featuring Strauss’ own interpretations of Baroque dance forms, the piece gave individual instruments the chance to shine in beautiful passages.

The NZSO players and Judd obviously enjoyed themselves in this energetic work, bringing energy, brilliance and showcasing the orchestra at its impressive best.