Youth Ambassador Review: New Zealand Guitar Quartet
Two of our youth ambassadors, Matt and Mel, headed along
to the New Zealand Guitar Quartet yesterday. Check out their
The New Zealand Guitar Quartet revealed itself as one of the
treasures of New Zealand Music this afternoon to a full
Christchurch Arts Festival Audience.
The guitar quartet as an instrumental ensemble is perhaps one of
the more mysterious groups of the classical world. I must admit
going into the Fletcher Festival Club I was a little unsure as to
what this quartet might present…. Would it be modern guitar music
or something more classical? The answer of course is both of these,
and so much more.
Jane Curry, Owen Moriarty, Christopher Hill and Tim Watanabe
presented a programme of diverse works that was as unique and
impressive as the players themselves. The quartet entered the stage
as polished and professional as the works they presented, while as
the concert progressed we as an audience came to know the unique
voice of each player: witty, charming, delicate and intricate.
These four distinct voices came together in such a seamlessly
organic way to produce a musical gift that was something greater
than any single instrumentalist could produce - such is the power
of chamber and ensemble music.
The concert itself was an impressive kaleidoscope through which
the audience transported to a realm of musical possibility - in the
short programme the quartet inspired its audience with musical gems
ranging from Brazilian to Spanish Guitar and back again, as well as
works from the classical idiom and New Zealand music. These were
presented with technical brilliance and emotional depth. Owen
Moriarty's arrangements of these were particularly impressive, and
what left a lasting impression on me was the quartet's ability to
breathe fresh new life into each work.
I left the Festival Club convinced that the New Zealand Guitar
Quartet is undoubtedly one of the treasures of New Zealand Music,
bridging the void between genres and exploring new realms: the mark
of truly great musicians.
Looking at the programme for the New Zealand Guitar Quartet's
performance, I was dubious about the programming of well-known
pieces such as Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No.3 and
Rimsky-Kosakov's Capriccio Espagnol, compositions that are written
for String Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra respectively.
However, there was no need to worry about this musicbeing played
by such a fantastic group of New Zealand musicians: Christopher
Hill, Jane Curry, Tim Watanabe and Owen Moriarty.
The programme was very diverse, featuring works from Brazil, New
Zealand, Germany, Spain, America, Russia and Chile. Apart from the
Bach and the Rimsky-Kosakov,the programme included Baiao de Gude by
Paulo Bellinati which is a traditionalBrazilian dance, Onslow Suite
(II) by New Zealand composer, Craig Utting and selections from
Manuel de Falla's, El Amor Brujo. Brandenburg Concerto No.3 by
J.S. Bach is fast; it is astonishing how relaxed and easy the
quartet made everything look.
Carlos Rafael Rivera's Cumba-Quin was filled with complicated
rhythm changes and a number of percussive effects. The programme
concluded with an energetic Tarentella written by Chilean Folk
Group, Inti Illimani.
The New Zealand Guitar Quartet are very talented and well worth
a listen if you get the chance.