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Amici Ensemble 2019

May 15, 2019 May 2019 No Comments

The Amici Ensemble  returns to Greytown on Sunday 2 June in their largest form ever – 9 players will come together to perform the Grand Nonet, by Louis Spohr.

A virtuoso violinist, Spohr was as famous as Beethoven in his time, and the Nonet has all the Viennese wit and charm of the era. Spohr was commissioned to write it by Herr Johann von Tost, a businessman, who stipulated that the individual parts should belong to him, so he could lend them out, and ensure he was invited to every performance of the Nonet. He also hoped that he might pick up more customers from among the music lovers who would  attend the concerts!

The Nonet was written in such a way that each instrument appears in its true character, with characteristic solos for all instruments.

In keeping with that idea, the first half of the concert features all 9 performers in various ways. NZSO Principal Oboe Robert Orr performs Mozart’s Oboe Quartet,  which Robert says “Is the ultimate challenge for an oboist, both musically and technically. It includes the highest note ever written for the oboe up to that time!”   

The other wind players join together for a Quartet of quintessential Rossini: expect wit, speed, elegance, numerous memorable tunes and infectious high spirits!  Bass player Oleksandr (Sasha) Gunchenko, not to be left out, will play Three Tangos by Piazzolla as a duet with NZSO Associate Concertmaster Donald Armstrong, the leader of the Ensemble. Sasha says “As a classical musician I am always fascinated by the feeling of freedom you can get within Piazzolla’s compositions. Piazzolla  created a new musical style, Nuevo Tango, which combines elements of tango and jazz music. Both those styles are quite free and often allow or encourage improvisisation skills. The flavours, energy, emotion and passion make his music such a joy to play.”

The other Ensemble members are Guest Associate Principal Viola player Gwendolyn Fisher, from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, replacing Andrew Thomson who is having shoulder surgery, Principal Cellist Andrew Joyce, replacing Ken Ichinose who nearly severed his little finger while opening the plastic packaging on a knife, Principal players on flute, bassoon and horn Bridget Douglas, Robert Weeks, and Samuel Jacobs, and Associate Principal Clarinet Patrick Barry.

The concert will be held at St Luke’s Church, Main St, Greytown, at 4pm on Sunday 2 June. Admission $25, $10 for students. For bookings, phone Ed and Juliet Cooke on 06 304 9497, or email them on efjac@xtra.co.nz.

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