Bassoon Concerto in F (Weber), Clarinet Sonata, Op 120 No 2 – first movement (Brahms), Sonata in A for flute and piano (Gaubert)
Alex Chan (bassoon), Andrzej Nowicki (clarinet), Hannah Darroch (flute) with pianists Douglas Mews and Emma Sayers
St Andrew’s on The Terrace; Wednesday 21 October
The series of recitals by senior students at the New Zealand School of Music continued at the lunchtime concerts at St Andrew’s with three musicians playing bassoon, clarinet and flute.
Young bassoon player Alex Chan won a scholarship to study as an orchestral bassoon player at the Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C. where she was co-winner of the SMI Concerto Competition. She has played with the Wellington Orchestra, the Southern Sinfonia, and the National Youth Orchestra.
Her first sounds, the sprightly dotted rhythms of Weber’s Bassoon Concerto marked her as an already polished professional; with pianist Douglas Mews standing in for an orchestra, she explored with a palpable delight all the nuances of its melodic character. The second movement, Adagio, was particularly engaging and spirited; she was not at all shy about flaunting the Weber’s drolleries, perhaps inspired by Haydn’s proclivities for sly humour.
Andrzej Nowicki, the clarinetist who won the music school’s concerto competition a few months ago, has started his studies at Melbourne University; he played the second of the two wonderful clarinet sonatas by Brahms – just the first movement: how I longed to hear the rest from this fine musician.
Emma Sayers accompanied both Nowicki and flutist Hannah Darroch, who played one of those charming pieces that the 19th century Paris Conservatoire drew from many of Paris’s elegant and beguiling composers: this one, Philippe Gaubert. Hannah is a contract player in the Wellington Orchestra and co-prncipal flute in the National Youth Orchestra.
This is the sort of concert that none of the regular providers of chamber music ever risks, because of the perceived (probably correctly) conservatism in the taste of the normal chamber music audience, convinced that little other than the string quartet is worthy of their attention.