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Homecoming – A Salon Concert with an Historical Theme

June 13, 2022 June 2022 No Comments

This year marks a century since New Zealand-born soprano Rosina Buckman undertook an epic homecoming tour, after her farewell concert in London to an audience of 10,000 in the Royal Albert Hall. In Rosina’s entourage were cellist Adelina Leon and pianist-composer Percy Kahn. They performed more than 110 concerts to capacity audiences the length and breadth of New Zealand and Australia over a period of ten months.

100 years later, the well-known soprano Rowena Simpson joins the established Hammers & Horsehair duo, pianist Douglas Mews and cellist Robert Ibell, to present a vivid reimagining of that 1922 tour in a salon concert called “Homecoming”.

The Homecoming programme delighted audiences in preliminary performances in 2021, with its sparkling music and anecdotes from the 1922 tour. Audience comments were: “It had atmosphere and drama” ( Whanganui), ” Just what we needed in these trying times” (Clevedon House Auckland), and “Delightful evening,  narrative told through music was wonderful, with a variety of well-chosen pieces” (Taupo).

The group will present period classics from the 1922 tour, such as Arditi’s “Il Bacio” and “Love’s a Merchant” by Molly Carew for soprano & piano, Percy Kahn’s own arrangement of his “Ave Maria” for soprano, cello & keyboard, “Orientale” by Cui, and Rimsky Korsakov’s “Chanson Indoue” for cello & piano. The programme also includes some of their own favourites, Brahms “Intermezzo in B flat” and Schubert ” Impromptu in A flat” for piano solo, and “L’Etoile” by Offenbach for soprano, cello & piano.

The music will be interspersed with anecdotes from the 1922 tour, comparing touring life then and now, and incorporating appropriate local or personal history. The group’s previous performance in 2018 of early 19th century music linked by short readings from NZ’s past colonial life will be remembered as one of the Greytown Music Group’s concert highlights, and they expect this one will be equally memorable.

Hammers & Horsehair + Rowena Simpson – Homecoming: 4pm Sunday 3 July at 57 Wood St, Greytown. Admission $30, children $10. Bookings essential – contact Ed and Juliet Cooke on 06 304 9497 or efjacooke@gmail.com.

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