Graupner & Vivaldi: concerti for viola d’amore, guitar and viola
Donald Maurice (viola d’amore), Jane Curry (guitar), Sophia Acheson (viola) and string ensemble of five players
St. Andrew’s on The Terrace
Wednesday, 8 February 2017, 12.15 pm
The concert was in part the Wellington launch of a new CD of the music of these two composers performed by Maurice, Curry, and Polish and Hungarian musicians. An opening speech was delivered by the Polish Ambassador to New Zealand, H.E. Zbigniew Gniatkowski. After the concert enjoyable refreshments were available. The concert, the first in the 2017 St. Andrew’s series, was very well attended.
The programme began with Christoph Graupner’s concerto in D for viola d’amore and viola. The printed programme supplied no notes on this composer, but Wikipedia informs me that he was German, and lived from 1683 to 1760, thus spanning the life of J.S. Bach. Grove remarks that he represents the Vivaldian rather than the Corellian tradition in his 44 concertos. Of these, the two played today are the only two noted by Grove as being for viola and viola d’amore.
The ensemble, who stood to play (except the cello, of course) were under the direction of Donald Maurice, but gestures were only required at the beginning of each work; the ensemble’s rapport and experience, plus their frequent eye contact, kept everything together splendidly.
Immediately the viola d’amore enters, one is struck by its mellow tone – as I was when reviewing a concert by much the same ensemble at St. Andrew’s last May. On that occasion, three Vivaldi concertos were played, including the guitar one in D that we heard today.
The Graupner had a grave e marcato first movement – and exceedingly grave it was, followed by vivace, then grave again, but this time not as solemn as the first one; in fact it was enchanting. The final movement was marked allegro; the rich, dark tones of the viola d’amore were so resonant compared with the other instruments.
The Vivaldi guitar concerto is a well-known one, in three movements. Its largo middle movement is languid and winsome. The piece was played with subtlety and plenty of variation of tone and dynamics.
Another concerto for violas d’amore and viola by Graupner ended the programme, this one in A. Like the earlier one, it was graceful and attractive, if not as characterful as the Vivaldi. The opening andante was suave and gentle, while the allegro fourth movement was interestingly intricate.
All made up to a very enjoyable concert.
Next week’s scheduled euphonium concert has had to be cancelled. Note; NO St. Andrew’s lunchtime concert on Wednesday 15 February.