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Review: New Zealand String Quartet delivers electrifying experience

Heartland Classics presented by the New Zealand String Quartet

Caccia Birch House, Sunday August 7 2016

Stephen Fisher    /    Manawatu Standard, Palmerston North

For the second time in less than a month Caccia Birch's Awhina room has welcomed a chamber music concert proving to be an excellent venue for music requiring a more intimate relationship with the audience.

This decision clearly paid off as Sunday's concert was simply an electrifying experience, the New Zealand String Quartet completely immersing us in a well-chosen, engaging programme featuring a selection of works from Haydn to Dvorak. This was the first time the quartet's new second violinist, Monique Lapin had joined the line-up in the City, but she was obviously very much at ease with other members, Helene Pohl (violin), Gillian Ansell (viola) and Rolf Gjelsten (cello), as they provided a memorable afternoon of chamber music magic. The afternoon began with an appealing of Haydn's quartet in D Op 71 No2, this followed by a stunning performance of Gareth Farr's arresting Te Tai-o-Rehua and Schubert's Quartettsatz.

The second half featured an appealing performance of Dvorak's charming 'American' quartet.

Throughout the programme the quartet performed with an exquisite attention to detail, ensuring a beautifully balanced and superbly expressive performance throughout. With the quartet's magnificent sense of ensemble to the fore this programme reflected great sensitivity allowing the complete captivation of an admiring audience.