Eve de Castro-Robinson has always enjoyed the vibrant potential of colour, from the very titles of specific scores to the almost painterly textures of her music.
For the premiere of her new work, a zigzagged gaze, the composer responded to 10 New Zealand artworks, reacting also to issues of line and their inner and sometimes psychological tensions.
The flamboyant Henry Wong Doe can convert the rolling, thunderous cluster-chords for painter Rohan Wealleans into an eight-metre swell of terror; yet exquisite quietude and tenderness were dealt out for work by artists Marie Le Lievre and John Ward Knox.
Pianist and composer revealed intimations of something bluesy afoot in their cool tribute to Jim Speers while Vincent Ward inspired a sense of mysterious forces trying to break through teasing, intriguing rhythms.
De Castro-Robinson has a piquant sense of humour, here broadened out in a salute to the painter Jacqueline Fahey, stitched together with discords and affectionate chuckles from a famous suffragette march.
After such an engaging promenade through a very Kiwi gallery, Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition was less engrossing.
Over-fond of the blur of pedal and martellato touch, Wong Doe presented manic gnomes, playing children lacking any cuteness and some noisily hatching chicks, climaxing in a vision of the witch Baba Yaga that was more nervous-making than it should have been.
What: Henry Wong Doe
Where: University of Auckland Music Theatre
Reviewer: William Dart