Bach Musica NZ rounded off a successful 2017 season with a twilight concert of enchantment and discoveries.
The pairing of Luca Manghi and Ingrid Bauer as soloists had much to do with the charm exerted by Mozart's Flute and Harp Concerto.
Manghi impressed with effortlessly supple phrasing and sparkling passage work; Bauer's beautifully gauged tonal shading delighted ears while eyes were drawn to the intricate criss-cross of hands and fingers over the instrument's strings.
They particularly captivated in three exquisite cadenzas, penned by Fellini's favourite composer, Nino Rota and throughout, the spruce orchestral backdrop, finely marshalled by Rita Paczian, was an unswerving delight.
Puccini's Messa di Gloria is an early work from 1880, some years before the young composer ventured into the opera house.
Yet, such was the sheer exuberance of the performance, his Gloria might well have launched the Cafe Momus scene from La Boheme, delivered with a life-affirming vitality that tempted applause after its final chord.
Tenor Derek Hill and baritone Nicholas Dinopoulos were solid soloists but, in the final count, did not achieve that very Italianate blend of robustness and flexibility demanded.
On the other hand, the Bach Musica choristers were in good voice and form, weaving confident counterpoint against sweet strings in the Kyrie eleison, and closing the Credo with almost operatic optimism.
What: Bach Musica NZ
Where: Auckland Town Hall
Reviewer: William Dart