Thursday, June 21, 2018

Musicians in Wellington

Last weekend I was captivated by two very different musicians. 

Simon O'Neill, the New Zealand tenor was one. He is one of those rare tenors who can sing Wagner repertoire. Since I heard him in 2014 his voice has deepened. It is now a rich and resonant treat. He sang the Wesendonck Lieder and his German diction was flawless. Congratulations Simon, it was a wonderful concert.

The NZSO, with whom he sang, played Bruckner's 4th Symphony after the interval. It is a long and demanding work but they played wonderfully well. . Bruckner is not my favorite composer, mainly because it is difficult to tune your digital player to play the alternating very loud and very soft music that characterises his work - if you adjust to hear the quiet parts the rest blasts you out of the room. In a concert hall however it is a different story and I loved the orchestra blasting out their forte parts - the audience vibrated with the music as the strings and horns threw themselves into the music. They must have needed masseurs the next day.

The other musician I saw on Sunday was very different. He was sitting at a painted piano on the Wellington (NZ) waterfront.  He played the way my self-taught father used to, with the left hand strumming time to the right. I found myself humming his tune all evening.

Addendum 23 June: Today I read that shortly before the Wellington concert, Simon recorded a lullaby in German and Te Reo Maori with the NZSO as a gift for the new baby of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. (More about the recording here.)

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