Guitar Extravaganza

Saturday 9 June, 5:00 pm and Sunday 10 June 2018, 3:00 pm
King’s and Queen’s Performing Arts Centre

Kenneth Young Conductor
Vladimir Gorbach, Owen Moriarty,
Jane Curry, John Couch Guitars

BeethovenEgmont Overture
Jack SpeirsNight Music
RodrigoConcierto Andaluz
FauréPelléas et Mélisande Suite
MozartSymphony No. 35, Haffner


A full house warmed to the lovely performance of the New Zealand Guitar Quartet with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Ken Young at the King’s and Queen’s Performing Arts Centre on Saturday evening, writes Marian Poole.

Rodrigo’s Concierto Andaluz is a subdued work and remains relatively unknown.

It opens in a pastoral mood of lighthearted languor and only really finds direction in  Adagio,  its beautiful heartfelt second movement.

Three guitars luxuriate in solo moments accompanied with exquisitely pitched echoes from the woodwind, while the fourth guitar provides a repeated scalar sequence which provides a firm footing for some outstandingly sonorous extrapolations.

The work exhibits only brief flourishes of flamenco spirit for which Rodrigo became famous.

Justly rewarded for their wonderful playing, the New Zealand Guitar Quartet gave an encore of the Chilean group Inti Illimani’s fast and rhythmically pleasing  Tarantella.

Jack Speirs’  Night Music  is a delicately disquiet and diffident work performed with great empathy by the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra. Speirs’ sensibilities deserve to be set amidst his contemporaries and in the context of a turbulent 20th century.

In this programme  Night Music  was overshadowed by the preceding work, Beethoven’s  Egmont Overture.  Superbly played, it abounds in confidence, drama and ultimately triumph.

The highlight of the evening was Faure’s Pelleas et Melisande.

Within Faure’s almost conventional tonal structures can be heard some of the inspiration for Debussy’s delicate weaving and, for that matter, of Speirs’ impressionistic Night Music.

The Dunedin Symphony Orchestra’s wood winds highlighted Faure’s fragile lyrics and eloquent phrasing superbly.

Mozart’s  Haffner Symphony was performed with vigour and commitment and showed the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra with guest concertmaster Laura Barton in fine form.

Their work with Ken Young produced a tight precision and uniform concentration.

Reviewed by Marian Poole for the Otago Daily Times, Monday, 11 June 2018

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