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Posts tagged: viola

Viola central to an interesting programme of student performances from three centuries

My apologies if I have not got the first performers’ names correctly; they were not in the printed programme, but were announced at the beginning of the concert. However, a person behind me was talking on a cellphone at the time, and I could not hear them properly. I made enquiries at the end of the concert, but this has meant my interpreting another person’s handwriting – possibly not... read more

Violist Gillian Ansell and student Aidan Verity with viola concertos at NZSM Showcase

Having been told the previous day, and by the listed outline of concerts to come in this week of NZSM student recitals that this was to be one of ‘viola students’, I was disappointed to discover that in fact only one such student was playing, plus her teacher, Gillian Ansell.  I hastily add that it is no disappointment to hear Gillian Ansell play, but over the years NZSM has... read more

Four feasts forward – Catherine McKay and Peter Barber at St.Andrew’s

By , 04/03/2015
At the beginning of the concert Peter Barber announced a change to the printed programme, one involving both a rearrangement of the existing order, and an additional item. So, Brahms' FAE Sonata Scherzo Movement, which was to have opened the programme now became its concluding item; and an arrangement of Rachmaninov's Vocalise for viola and piano was introduced, here put just before the Brahms. It all seemed to work marvellously... read more

Alexa Thomson – possibility and accomplishment on the viola

 This concert was an Honours music degree recital for Alexa Thomson, and St.Andrew’s church was a most suitable venue for this scale of performance. The Brahms Sonata is, of course, one of the lynchpins of the violist’s repertoire, and it was a good vehicle for Alexa’s artistic phrasing and warmth of tone which was entirely free of the edgy, nasal quality that can often detract from the upper register... read more

Scholarly and musical – Sergey Malov plays Bach

One might think that a recital composed entirely of unaccompanied Bach would not reveal the versatility of the performer.  In fact, it did.  The other thought is that it would pall for the audience.  Although I heard remarks afterwards from some audience members that they missed piano accompaniment, I don’t think this was a general reaction. However, I don’t believe I have been to a completely solo violin recital before... read more

Their own sounds: Viola students from the NZSM

The presence of Gillian Ansell, violist in the New Zealand String Quartet, as a teacher of viola at the School of Music appears to be producing excellent results, in the numbers of skilled violists who are her students, emerging there. Even so, there is definitely a difference between the performers and in the sounds they make; no carbon copies here.  The variety thus produced provided some of the interest in... read more

Students explore viola repertoire at St Andrew’s

These major twentieth-century viola works (excluding the Schumann) made an impressive muster.  The latest composition was Bloch’s, dating from 1958 (and the most modern-sounding it was); 1928-29 was the period of Walton’s concerto, though it was revised in 1961, and Hindemith’s was the earliest, composed in 1919. The Hindemith was the first work played, by Vincent Hardaker.  The composer was himself a violist.   The work opened with low-pitched notes for... read more

Viva Viola at Lower Hutt campaigns for full recognition with both hits and misses

By , 26/09/2012
I find that I heard other embodiments of this ensemble last year, and a solo performance by Megan Ward in June. Previous experiences entertained me more than this one did, though there were things, such as the arrangement of Handel’s Fireworks Music, that I thought came off splendidly. Almost all music for a group like this must be arrangements, and so there is the risk of running foul of the... read more

Adventurous and rewarding recital by Richard Mapp and Donald Maurice

By , 04/07/2012
Students at New Zealand schools of music, and those at the school in Wellington in particular are fortunate in working in an environment that both encourages original composition and its performance, and encourages the exploration of not so new music. Obviously, that is not at the expense of furnishing students’ memories with the great music of the past, though many will have come from secondary schools where exposure to very... read more

Sergey Malov and Michael Houstoun – capturing the ebb and flow

By , 22/06/2012
Rarely does a concert begin more poetically than when Schubert's music is involved - or so it always seems at the time. The opening exchanges between piano and, in this case, viola, of the intriguingly-named "Arpeggione" Sonata brought their own resonance and warmth to the somewhat ungrateful acoustic of the Lower Hutt Little Theatre, thanks to both pianist Michael Houstoun's and violist Sergey Malov's lyrical, deeply-felt playing. Schubert's "Arpeggione" Sonata... read more

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