What a week for classical music in Whanganui. What a week indeed.
First, on Thursday evening (June 16), a gorgeous programme of Mozart and Wagner, then, on Saturday evening a stupendous, over-awing programme of Spanish music for solo piano.
I can hear you saying, surely not Mozart together with Wagner, they could never be a fit. But I went there for the Wagner: The Seigfried Idyll, one of those sublime pieces of music guaranteed to make my eyes leak. And leak they did with the sumptuous playing by the instrumentalists of the NZSO, playing as a chamber ensemble.
The Mozart was good too, the lesser known Serenata Noturna book ended with the ubiquitous Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. Sandwiched in-between: the leaky-eye Wagner Idyll.
Each piece was preceded by an interesting introduction by concert master Vesa-Matti Leppänen, or flutist Bridget Douglas.
This is one programme where concert-goers could walk out from the RW Opera House whistling, some even dabbing at wet eyes, and some perhaps marvelling at the perfect pairing of Mozart with Wagner!
Of an entirely different sort was Saturday's Chamber Music NZ concert of Spanish music by NZ pianist Lorelle McNaughton.
They say that to play Spanish piano music you must have a prodigious technique, plus enormous stamina, and McNaughton had both, in spades!
The 18th 19th and 20th centuries were represented in what was a formidable programme of some of the great Spanish composers' names: Albéniz, Granados and de Falla, all known as much for their orchestral works.
The big three were joined by a Scarlatti contemporary, Padre Soler, and with two gorgeous 20th century dances by Frederico Mompou.
The Mompou song/dances are described as "a contrast between lyricism and rhythm", and were perfectly placed between the huge de Falla and Albéniz pieces.
Here Ms McNaughton could highlight some of her more lyrical, softer playing technique, and, being Spanish music, well, there just has to be a rhythmicance as well.
A major programme, performed beautifully, with guts and bravado by a most graceful and generous soloist.