Kia Ora New Zealand!
Wellington is a gorgeous city. When we landed here at 11pm, the air here smelt even sweeter than in Sydney, with the honey blossoms that are in bloom at the moment. The purpose of our trip was a concert for the Waikanae Music Society - a wonderful organization with over 600 members (very impressive for a chamber music society in a city of only 10,000 people). Waikanae has a large community of retirees who all seem to be very intelligent, interesting and well-travelled, and who are equally knowledgeable and passionate about classical music. This was our second time our trio has performed in Waikanae - our concert last July led to an immediate re-invitation thanks to a trust set up by some very generous Waikanae audience members. We were very happy to oblige as soon as possible!
Sunset in Waikanae, NZ
We performed Haydn E major, Schubert B flat major, Kats-Chernin Wild Swans and Mendelssohn C minor trios. We had been a bit anxious about this performance, as it was our first performance of all four (very challenging) works in our program, plus being our first ever performance with Julian Smiles. With a new member in the trio, even after intensive rehearsals, you never know how the concert is going to go until you’re all on stage together. Fortunately, Julian was wonderful to perform with. It was amazing how well he fit into our ensemble, blending when required but also driving phrases at other times, and always providing a solid pulse that is so important in the role of the cellist. Plus he had some really stunningly beautiful solos. It was a pleasure to share the stage with him - we all ended up really enjoying ourselves!
The wonderful thing about performing chamber music, in particular piano trios, is the very special, improvisatory feeling that you get when all three players connect. It’s as if all players are linked together by an invisible thread, but also have the freedom to be individuals at the same time. This allows musical conversations to occur - each player feeds of one another. It makes performing very fun and spontaneous, allowing performers to pass around phrases like a game of ball, mimic one another, converse between the instruments, interrupt one another, joke with one another, or sing together. This was certainly the feeling we all experienced during our Waikanae performance. Our concert received a packed audience of over 300 people, with very enthusiastic response. After the concert, we were taken to a lovely restaurant in Waikanae by members of the committee, where we enjoyed some lively conversation and delicious New Zealand wines.
After a few hour’s sleep, we rose at 4am to catch the 6am flight back to Sydney. Now we will begin preparations for our next concert at Pitt St Uniting Church, which will take place this Friday night.