10 Jul 2018

Review: NYO’s Firebird

From Upbeat, 1:00 pm on 10 July 2018

Last weekend the NYO had its Firebird concerts in Wellington and Auckland.

The group performed Suites 1 and 2 from De Falla’s The Three-Cornered hat, André Jolivet’s Bassoon Concerto featuring Todd Gibson-Cornish, the world premiere of Josiah Carr’s Redwood, and Stravinsky’s The Firebird.

Peter Mechen reviews Friday’s performance.

Todd Gibson-Cornish

Todd Gibson-Cornish Photo: supplied

 I thought this concert a great success for the National Youth Orchestra, whose committed and heartfelt performances included the best I've ever heard of a particular work, Manuel de Falla's Suites from the ballet "The Three Cornered Hat".

Spanish-born conductor, Jaime Martin, encouraged his young players to look "inside" the music and bring to the sounds a sense of something concentrated and deeply felt.

As a result the performance compelled attention and stirred the imagination, providing a rich and exotic listening experience.

A similar sense of concentrated focus informed the orchestra's playing of Stravinsky's 1945 "Firebird" Suite, the players putting across the character and atmosphere of the story with dramatic and memorable results.

In between these two full-blooded works we heard firstly a former NZSO NYO player, Todd Gibson-Cornish, as soloist in Andre Jolivet's Bassoon Concerto, a performance that skillfully worked through the music's initial rigours towards a more invigorating playfulness at the end - and then, from the orchestra's 2018 composer-in-residence Josiah Carr, we enjoyed a world premiere of his powerful and atmospheric work, Redwood, inspired by an encounter with a forest on the outskirts of Rotorua.

A feast of music-making, then, from some of New Zealand's most promising up-and-coming musicians.