The Vercoe Reviews: Donizetti Trio Thrills its Audience


Tauranga Musica closed its 2014 Concert Season to an appreciative audience when the Donizetti Trio performed at Graham Young Auditorium on Sunday afternoon 21st September 2014. Three faculty members from the University of Auckland’s School of Music kept a large audience in rapt attention as they showed that superb individual skill and superior coordination can shed light on the fine details of quite varied music.

The instruments were two members of the woodwind family (flute, bassoon) plus piano, each with sufficiently unique sound to enable their aural separation, yet blending into harmonious structures when the music called for it.

The players were likewise distinctive – Italian flautist Luca Manghi studied with James Galway and is now often seen in the New Zealand Symphony; kiwi bassoonist Ben Hoadley has played in the Boston Symphony; and Christchurch pianist David Kelley has worked as a vocal coach in the NZ Opera School. Yet they worked magnificently as a harmonious team.

The programme was as varied as their skills. An early trio by Beethoven had preceded his first published works (the Opus 1 piano trios) and showed the influence of Mozart. A trio by Donizetti (namesake of this ensemble) was written when only a student. By contrast, a flute-bassoon duo by Villa Lobos came from a relatively mature pen, replete with worn-out falling diminished-seventh intervals. And a trio by New Zealand’s Dame Gillian Whitehead was fresh and intensely personal.

This was creative programming, and the trio handled the variety with professional ease. Yet the late surprise of the afternoon was by little-known Luciano Sgrizzi, a score discovered by accident which afforded a delightfully rhythmic ending.

Just one more thing – an encore from Carmen that sent us away whistling.

Bravo Tauranga Musica, we look forward to your 2015 series.

Prof Barry Vercoe Mus D.


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