Romancing the Tuba Review

Sunday 27 November

The Bay of Plenty Symphonia under Justus Rosemond's able direction undertook a demanding programme and passed with flying colours.

Their concert featured Tak Chun Lai, principal tuba for the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO), playing Vaughan Williams' Concerto for Tuba. Williams wrote several works featuring instruments that often fall under the radar.

Tak Chun Lai's competent playing enabled us to experience the scope of a tuba in capable hands, delighting us with rich sonorities in the upper register and, in the lower register, resonant tones that could almost be felt.

As an encore, we were treated to a Bach Suite, originally written for cello; these pieces are not easy, even when played by the instrument for which they are written, so Tak Chun's fluent performance was testament to his virtuosity.

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The orchestra is to be commended for an excellent performance.

Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture was impressive with well-balanced woodwinds and rich tone from the cellos. The violas and cor anglais (a type of woodwind) also deserve special mention. The dynamics ranged from sublime pianissimos to spirited fortissimos with percussion to match.


The orchestral playing in the Williams' piece was very supportive, the second movement being particularly beautiful. Williams fans would have heard snippets of his third symphony.

The cellos' G minor introduction to Dvorak's Symphony No 8 was sensitively accompanied by the trombones and horns, sounding even better on its second appearance and a great foil for the well-played, light-hearted flute melody.

The brass had its moment of glory in the final movement adding a rich sonority to the conclusion of the symphony.

- Jeremy Whimster