What:

New Zealand String Quartet

Where:

Blue Baths

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When:

Wednesday

It is always a pleasure to hear one of our great music institutions again, an ensemble which has built up a loyal following by their polish and rapport with audiences.

Their Turning Points programme had four works which were radical in the history of Western music and marked shifts away from customary styles.

Mozart's Dissonance Quartet was so-called for its first movement which upset the rules of harmony. After this tonal perplexity, the following movements were, in turn, wistful, bold then vivacious, all getting the full Mozart flavour with impetus and elegance.

Anton Webern has a fearsome reputation for his avant garde compositions in later life, but while two short early pieces revealed a move towards this, they were totally engaging.

The players projected beautifully the poignant and romantic feelings of Langsamer Satz (Slow Movement).

His Six Bagatelles was gripping, for its suspenseful and staccato flourishes reminded one of eerie Hitchcock film music. Beethoven's String Quartet No7 is noted for its novel bowing and technical demands, and the New Zealand String Quartet approached it with all the ardency and freshness they have shown for over three decades.

An encore by Wellingtonian Natalie Hunt was a joy: a fun piece which included calisthenics exercises by the players.

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- Hanno Fairburn