New Chamber Music New Zealand concerts

Kuijken Quartet
Auckland Town Hall, July 9;  
Wellington, Michael Fowler Centre, July 15; St Marys of the Angels, July 18; Concert Chamber, Auckland, July 19; Gallagher Academy, Hamilton, July 02

Performances by the Kuijken Quartet are truly authentic. The members of the group have a great interest in the history and styles and techniques of playing late 18th-century music but the fact that they are a family of musicians also replicates the way in which the music they play would have originally been performed, by family members in intimate salon settings.

It is very much a family group – Sigiswald Kuijken (violin) and wife Marleen Theirs (viola) join their daughter (violin) Sara Kuijken along with Michel Boulanger (cello).

They played two Mozart sonatas, one of his ”Haydn” quartets and one of his much later pieces. These two works bookended one of Haydn’s more energetic string quartets often referred to as “The Joke.”

Most of the time they give real sense of being an intimate group, fully understanding each other’s role with no need for a leader, no need for showmanship, no need for introductions or explanations. Just simple unembellished playing.

At times this restraint can seem to lessen the impact of the music but there was a warmth and honesty to their performance, which allowed the various sections of simplicity and complexity to be clearly heard and comprehended.

Other Chamber Music New Zealand concerts this year include Takacs Quartet, which will play Wellington August 5 and Auckland August 6, with a programme of Hayden, Ritchie, Webern and Dvorak.

In late August and early September pianist Michael Houston and violinist Bela Hristova will be doing a five-centre tour playing Beethoven’s 10 sonatas for violin and piano: Hawke's Bay August 24, New Plymouth August 25, Palmerston North August 27, Wellington August 28-September 1,  Christchurch September 1-3, Dunedin September 5, Nelson September 6, Auckland September 8-9.