Choral and orchestral extension of case law advocated by Wellington lawyers and jurists

Counsel in Concert: At the Movies

Music, mainly classical, from the films

Choir and orchestra of lawyers (with some NZSO and Vector Wellington Orchestra players in the orchestra), Deborah Wai Kapohe (soprano), Amanda Barclay, Jared Holt (baritone), John Beaglehole (tenor), Douglas Mews (keyboards), Kenneth Young (conductor)

St. Andrew’s on The Terrace

Tuesday, 23 October 2012, 12.15pm & 5.30pm

These lawyers worked to a brief of abbreviated (or should that be a-breve-iated?) musical works.  Some were very short excerpts, for example, the opening bars only of Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra, which opened the 45-minutes-long concert and gave Douglas Mews a little burst on the organ in the gallery, and the final item ‘Ode to Joy’ from Beethoven’s 9th symphony, of which we heard only the final part of the chorus.  Most people will be familiar with these two movies (2001: A Space Odyssey, and A Clockwork Orange).  Despite its brevity, the Strauss was much more exciting in its impact, being live, than the recording of the full work heard on radio that very morning.

In between, there were several speeches, notably by concert organiser Merran Cooke, who besides being a lawyer is an oboist in the Vector Wellington Orchestra.  Other items from the choir were part of the ‘Dies Irae’ from Verdi’s Requiem, Nella Fantasia by Ennio Morricone (arr. Snyder), from the film The Mission, with Deborah Wai Kapohe (choir and harp very attractive here), Conquest of Paradise by Vangelis (of Chariots of Fire fame), and, most notably, a work especially written for this occasion by orchestra member Aaron Lloydd: Fundamental Obligations of Lawyers.  This set words from section 4 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006; an unusual text, indeed.  The choir made a good, strong sound in all its items, but sometimes was swamped by the brass in the resonant acoustic of the church.  The choral writing was somewhat plain, but effective – more like a chant – it was probably a necessary characteristic if the words were to be heard, which they were.  The orchestral writing was more interesting, with some lovely percussion effects – befitting for bandsman Lloydd.  There were, too, some delicious woodwind effects, with sounds which were evocative – but not of the law!

Then there was a fanfare – that used by 20th Century Fox for the introductory screen to its movies – this case was very quickly resolved, with plenty of clamour.  Its composer was Newman (Randy, I assume).  The theme from Mission: Impossible was another brief display.  This music was by Schifrin, arranged Custer.  One trusts that this and the Morricone arrangement were done  with due regard to copyright law.

The items for the soloists received less condensed renditions.  Deborah Wai Kapohe’s ‘O mio babbino caro’ from Gianni Schicchi, by Puccini to which the singer gave an excellent introduction, was utterly ravishing.  Orchestra and singer were both in fine form.

Jared Holt followed with ‘Largo al factotum’, the famous aria by Rossini, from The Barber of Seville.  Like Wai Kapohe, Holt has returned to a legal career in New Zealand after some years singing in opera overseas.  His Figaro was full of character and wit;

The third solo was ‘La Donna e Mobile’ from Rigoletto by Verdi, the third in a trio of very popular operatic arias.  John Beaglehole’s singing was very fine, if his voice was a little light for Verdi.  The orchestra played with spirit and accuracy.  His introduction and singing had the necessary sarcastic humour.

‘Pie Jesu’ from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Requiem was sung most affectingly by Amanda Barclay and Deborah Wai Kapohe, though the style was somewhat too operatic for this simple piece.  Douglas Mews accompanied sympathetically on the baroque organ.  For the next item, the Vangelis, he played the piano.

Kenneth Young directed his counsel very well, particularly in view of the fact (of which we were informed) that he had taken on the case fairly recently, due to the previous conductor, Owen Clarke, moving to Auckland.

The concert was quite informal in the way the choir wandered on, chattering, and in its late start – perhaps a contrast with the court scene many of the participants are more accustomed to?

Tumultuous applause greeted every item, and the large audiences responded to a very good effort all round from the performers.  An irritant was the clicking of a camera upstairs during a number of the items, a phenomenon increasingly apparent in a variety of concerts recently.

Far from sticking to the letter of the law, the whole enterprise, and the performances, showed flair and originality.  Should we look for the chiropractors’ chorale, or the diplomatic dancers?


One thought on “Choral and orchestral extension of case law advocated by Wellington lawyers and jurists

  1. D Thurlow says:

    No comment that this was a fund faiser for Child cancer in this artical. Shame to be so blunt in writing this artical. Well done to the Laywers and everyone for giving up their time.

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