<<< << -- 2 -- Howard Smith HEARTFELT STUFF
Following an opening sextet, the evocative 'Overture' to Capriccio (Richard Strauss' final opera, 1942), the Amici performed two big, exacting highlights of the string ensemble repertory; Tchaikovsky's sextet, Souvenir de Florence and following intermission the Mendelssohn Octet, Opus 20.
Both performances were notable throughout for their sheer artistry and an interpretative depth that stems from such conspicuous involvement. Heartfelt stuff, and no mistake!
Two ladies of the group are expecting and each sat out one item. Violinist Haihong Liu first appeared after the Strauss (led by Cristina Vaszilcsin), and violinist Kristina Zelinska skipped the Tchaikovsky.
But the whole complement, under Donald Armstrong's consummate leadership, were needed for Mendelssohn's 'miracle' Octet (1825); written, amazingly when Felix was sixteen. This proved a tour de force for the audience as it requires unrelenting concentration and committed teamwork by each musician.
Another group may have produced a more delicate pianissimo here and there or greater emphasis on the occasional sforzando. But what of it? Here was music-making of a very high order indeed and those in attendance must surely count themselves hugely privileged.
Copyright © 27 May 2008
Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand
Amici Ensemble (members Donald Armstrong, Cristina Vaszilcsin, Haihong Liu and Kristina Zelinska, violins; Vyvyan Yendoll and Lyndsay Mountfort, violas; Rowan Prior and Euan Murdoch, cellos) appeared at Greytown Little Theatre, New Zealand, on Sunday 18 May 2008 at 7.30pm.