July 30, 2008

Concert is Both Technical, Sensitive

By FISHER, Stephen

REVIEW Christiana and Nick Hunter, Piano and Flute. Te Manawa Concert Series, yesterday. Reviewed by Stephen Fisher. ------------- ------- The horrors of the weekend's sport and weather somehow took a back seat at yesterday's concert at Te Manawa as Nick and Christiana Hunter put together a pleasing variety of items showcasing these performers both as soloists and as members of the duo Sospiro.

Ms Hunter had chosen Poulencs Sonata for flute and piano and two shorter pieces, Faures Morceau de Concours and Honeggers Dance of the Goat. Each piece eminently pleasing to the ear and performed with obvious technical expertise and great sensitivity towards style and the composers intention.

Mr Hunter's accompaniments on the piano also showed a similar empathy with both the music and the soloist. As a soloist he himself chose the first movement of Beethoven's Waldstein Sonata and Chopin's Ballade No 1, works with obvious appeal and both given a satisfying performance while, at the same time, providing enough variety to maintain the flow of the concert.

However, it was the final item of the concert which drew my attention, a Sonata for flute and piano composed by Mr Hunter just a few months ago.

This work beautifully explored the sonorities of both instruments, combining them in a most compelling and attractive manner. With plenty of melodic, textural and rhythmic variety the work was well received by the audience.

Because the Art Gallery is undergoing refurbishment this concert was held in the education room, a venue of disappointing acoustics but one that did demonstrate how lucky we are with the usual venue in which these concerts are held.

However, not even the acoustics could detract from the beautiful music made by these talented, young musicians.

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