Zoom, the first of NZTrio's 2016 Loft concerts, did just that for a taut 70 minutes of music, with matching Zoom cocktails available at the downstairs bar for thirsty patrons.

An enthusiastic audience enjoyed stylish playing as well as succinct and friendly spoken introductions to unfamiliar repertoire. Later, they could participate in some hip, up-to-the-second audience research, recording responses to the evening.

A Trio by American John Musto was a smooth aperitif, built around a virtuoso piano part that kept the able Sarah Watkins busy. It was guilelessly eclectic, with a final blend of boogie, tango and "Gershwinesque" peroration.

Wellington composer Chris Watson contributed a short piece with a long title: Schemata, Three Views of an Imaginary Object. These sonic snapshots instigated spirited and occasionally feisty musical discussion amongst the ensemble.


The inclusion of Epigrams, the final work of 103-year-old Elliott Carter, was a typical NZTrio coup. Imagine a modernist, miniature, abstract Pictures at an Exhibition, each of its dozen pieces expertly rendered.

After interval, an 1896 Trio by Schoenberg's teacher Alexander Zemlinsky, revealed the highly-charged Late Romantic style that ultimately brought about 20th century modernism. Brahms admired the work, and it's not hard to see why, especially when delivered with the passion accorded it on Tuesday. However, one did miss the clarinet of the original scoring, its liquid tone the perfect foil for the fin-de-siecle richness around it.

What: NZTrio Zoom
Where and when: Q Loft, Tuesday.