Te Uru is an attractive venue for music, especially in the more informal space of the gallery's workshop, with the ambience of Titirangi greenery outside the windows.
Introducing Mere Boynton and Jonathan Besser's Aroha/Ahava, Tama Waipara made eco-connections.
The concert was in harmony with earth and nature, he pointed out, with Te Uru's A Delicate Balance exhibition upstairs as well as the high-profile fight for the Paturoa Rd kauri.
The elegant Mere Boynton, a sleek goddess in a red lace gown, backgrounded the 10 songs coming up.
Exploring love through Hebrew and Maori texts (six from The Song of Solomon) she stressed, above all, the love of whenua, personified in the divine relationship between Ranginui and Papatuanuku.
We would hear their story, Boynton explained, from the first flush of love, through seduction and jealousy to respect and maturity.
Jonathan Besser's songs, however, did not come up with the drama promised.
Delivered at a similar ambling pace, they lacked variety and incident; structure was nebulous and harmonic shifts, sometimes daring, were often unconvincing.
The strongest number, A Soft Peace, with Besser setting his own words, was as catchy as a classic Brill Building pop song, but not for long. The music trailed off into familiarly awkward and wandering lines that tested Boynton's upper register.
The singer gave us brief, tantalising tastes of the formidable energy and fire that lie in her mezzo depths, illuminating songs like Would Not Let Him Go. We could have had much more.
Besser had gathered a tight six-piece band, with himself on harmonium, instead of the expected piano.
Chris O'Connor's cruisy, discreet percussion was a total joy. Finn Scholes also made his presence felt. Playing mostly vibes, including a melting beauty of a solo in the fourth song, he twice took up a trumpet. Muted, it created a magical mood alongside Charmian Keay's violin.
Where: Te Uru