Stringing Out a Perfect Day – Duo Tapas – Wellington guitar and violin duo
Duo Tapas
Duo Tapas
Duo Tapas

Stringing Out a Perfect Day

Where were the rest of you? The Devonport Chamber Orchestra (DCO) concert on Sunday 8th July featured a talented Wellington duo of guitar (Owen Moriarty) and violin (Rupa Maitra). Only sixty grown-ups and six juniors showed up – the rest of you missed it. Such a pity, you missed a treat.

Being tolerably familiar wth Vivaldi’s guitar concerto I admit I had somewhat expected an afternoon of pleasant enough sounds. What a surprise was in store for me!

The cloudless and windless day had been a joy for a start. My stroll along the harbour’s edge to North Head and back had me speechless with peace. Lunch in the sun left me even more mellow yet.

And then I was shocked into awareness by the acoustic immediacy of the Depot Artspace setting and a whole series of unexpected musical delights. The size of the orchestra and balance of instruments seemed even better suited to the two Vivaldi Concerti than the recordings by larger and more famous orchestras I had heard before. Tonal distinctions between violin, guitar, and orchestra were acute and marked. For example, when the strings were playing really really softly behind the two solo instruments, I could hear their breathy excitation of bows on strings microseconds before the notes sounded. Never heard THAT before.

The Bartok Roumanian dances were also familiar, though again from recordings. The difference here was a vigorous and dynamic delivery from both soloists that utterly matched the origins and cultures of Transylvania. All six dances were markedly enriched by the transcription to violin and guitar. The split of melody to violin and chordal support to guitar is way better than any piano version I’ve ever heard.

Ian Krouse’s Air had all the poignancy and timelessness of any other Gaelic tune I’ve ever heard, either traditional or more recently composed. Captured well by him and rendered effortlessly and hauntingly by our violin and guitar soloists on the day.

Almer Imamovic’s wee piece, ‘Jovano, Jovanke’, proved to be another refreshing melting-pot of musical flavours. I’m always tantalised by echoes of Spain. This one was a lovely teaser. I will seek out and listen to more of his compositions.

Our final dessert was the Vivaldi Concerto originally written for Viola d’Amore and lute. This proved to be a little sparse somehow for my taste. I put it down to the orchestra playing a long series of individual notes rather than spoken sentences or a musical conversation. The extra sympathetic strings of those original Baroque instruments might well add the desirable and intriguing complexity to the piece that was missing for me. In spite of this, the ensemble playing seemed somehow better blended than earlier in the concert. Maybe everyone was more thoroughly warmed up by then. A splendid finale to echo around the soul on the way home.

All in all, an excellent and surprising musical occasion in its variety of melody and emotional tone. Where was every body? Be sure not to miss the next DCO offering on Sunday 26th August at 2pm in the Depot Artspace.

By Jefferson Chapple


Posted on April 26, 2013 @ 1:47 am