Pictures at the Exhibition
Jayson Gillham (piano), with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, conductor Ben Northey.
New Zealand Air Force Museum, Wigram, 10 November.
Built around the symphonic tableaux iconic central concept of Mussorgsky, this sold-out concert marks the end of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra at Wigram, one of the places that has stood admirably in City Hall since the earthquake.
And what ways to celebrate, with orchestras in the form of peaks, first-class Kiwis working to open up and a brilliant young soloist providing a passionate appearance from one of the most beloved works in the repertoire.
Jayson Gillham has cut his work for him. Rachmaninov Second Piano Concert very demanding, emotional and technical, with the soloists involved most of the time. With derring-do music achievements that continue to arrive, the stamina needed to fully realize this concert is very big, but also must have calm and calm about it. Gillham really reached these two extremes, turning on through a large chord and tearing through the arpeggio but finding a space that was truly calm in slow motion.
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Even then, the solo part is moto perpetuo, never resting but weaving between orchestral textures. The solo clarinet is very well done here. The balance in the first few minutes of the first movement saw the piano rather obscure, but it immediately justified itself as Gillham asserted himself. Solo horns are perfect inches. Gillham released the fireworks in the final with wide, wide play, and his focus never stopped.
Throughout the show I heard pieces that I had not held before, Gillham really dug into details with a clean attack. Just to rub it, after taking one of the hardest parts out there and dropping it out of the park, Gillham returned to the stage to play the transcription of Rachmaninov about Bach Partita violin in E major. The facial expressions of the orchestra players say it all – relentless admiration and distrust at the courage of this talented young pianist.
Lyell Cresswell Dancing on the Volcano giving an interesting opening but, in fact, can have more advantages and bites than that, sounds rather polite. The cello quartet manages to build peace before the storm and a simple humor comes through the wind and percussion.
Finally, a big call comes out to the brass section on Pictures at the Exhibition – They really are ahead and in the middle of this work and they are shining, especially Thomas Eves and Karl Margevka, who both fully accepted their recognition by Ben Northey at the end when the last round of applause was heard.