Flute Magic

Matinée Series One – Saturday 9 May 2105, 5:00 pm and Sunday 10 May, 3:00 pm
King’s and Queen’s Performing Arts Centre

Tecwyn Evans, Conductor; Bridget Douglas, Flute

Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 3
Mozart: Flute Concerto No. 1
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3, Scottish


Dunedin is renowned for giving young musicians great foundational education, before sending them on their way to build a career, and when in later years they return to perform and demonstrate their achievements, they are received with a sense of pride. And so it was, when Tecwyn Evans, now a successful European based conductor, and Bridget Douglas (NZSO Principal Flute) returned with her golden flute to perform with Southern Sinfonia in Kings’ and Queens’ Performing Arts Centre at the weekend.

Douglas took every opportunity to demonstrate her talent in Mozart’s Flute Concerto No.1 K313. A relaxed smiling countenance added “love” to the purest of tone and great agility which dominated her delivery. Cadenzas displayed clarity, articulation and fine resonance across the register. Evans guided the Sinfonia to match stylistically throughout, especially with expressive unrelenting forward momentum in the final Rondo.

I found J.S. Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 BWV 1068 disappointing. The Overture was dominated by a trio of trumpets, and although there were some fine string passages from the Baroque-sized orchestra, a deficiency in strength and dynamic balance detracted, and the final phrase of the entire work lacked attitude and definition. The well-known Air on the G String movement was however quite beautiful, fittingly calm and un-hurried.

After the interval it was a different sound as the full orchestra, energised and passionate, presented Symphony No. 3 (Scottish) by Mendelssohn. This popular work with captivating themes premiered in Leipzig (1842) after remaining on the composer’s “back burner” since his visit to Edinburgh’s Holyrood Castle twelve years earlier had inspired the original themes. Not surprising are the passages of Scottish folk themes, particularly in the second movement Vivace non troppo where impressive woodwind performances highlighted with excellent colour and rhythmic delineation. The final movement Allegro maestoso assai was full of excitement and exuberance as Evans brought the concert to a majestic close.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Bouman for the Otago Daily Times, Monday, 11 May 2015.

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