Rodrigo’s Guitar Concierto

Matinée Series One – Saturday 5 July 2014, 5:00 pm and Sunday 6 July, 3:00 pm
King’s and Queen’s Performing Arts Centre

Kenneth Young, Conductor; Karin Schaupp, Guitar

Mendelssohn: The Hebrides Overture
Butterworth: The Banks of Green Willow
Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez
Kenneth Young: Douce Tristesse
Mozart: Symphony No. 39


Southern Sinfonia performed twice in King’s and Queen’s Performing Arts Auditorium at the weekend, conducted by Kenneth Young, one of New Zealand’s leading conductors. I attended the Sunday afternoon repeat performance which was a sell-out.

The Hebrides Overture began the programme, rather plainly for the first few minutes, before finding strength and a more enthusiastic interpretation, as the well-known Mendelssohn work played through its climaxes.

George Butterworth (1885-1916) was an English composer with a passion for English folk songs. His The Banks of Green Willow is a tribute to the ultimate sacrifice he and fellow soldiers made in W.W.1. Tuneful with interesting orchestration, the piece showcased in particular, some fine passages by members of the Sinfonia’s woodwind section.

Guest performer Australian guitarist Karin Schaupp joined the orchestra for Rodrigo’s Concierto de Arabjuez, a three movement work. Schaupp, whose mother taught guitar, began playing her own instrument at aged three. Aided by a subtle microphone, she totally conquered the challenging Rodrigo work, with the utmost clarity and precision, visually revealing a loving partnership with her instrument. A short encore came with an emotive and absolutely exquisite delivery of the well-known Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Francisco Tarrega.

Douce Tristesse (2012) by conductor Kenneth Young was a dreamy, hazy, summer-day piece inspired by the view from a batch near Tauranga. Woodwind passages again gilded the performance, as the work traversed its various moods and vistas.

Mozart’s Symphony No 39 completed the concert. The four movement work was taken at a fine pace, mostly with strength and conviction, and the Finale Allegro remained particularly bright and sparkling right to its final almost unexpected cadence. Patrons were then relieved to exit to a cold and misty dusk, as along with many others I found this venue with a capacity audience and closed doors far too warm for comfort.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Bouman for the Otago Daily Times, Monday 7 July 2014.

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