The Waikanae Music Society celebrated its 35th Anniversary with a concert in the Waikanae Memorial Hall on Sunday 7 July. The performers were the Amici Ensemble, who are marking something of a milestone themselves, with their 20th appearance in Waikanae. Led by NZSO Associate Concertmaster Donald Armstrong, they first played in Waikanae in 1989.
A feature of the Amici Ensemble is their flexibility; they play a wide range of music mainly for large or unusual combinations, which means that their personnel changes from year to year depending on the requirements of the music. With the resources of the NZSO to choose from this is never a problem for Donald Armstrong. However, there is a core of regular players many of whom have appeared in Waikanae on numerous occasions.
Joining Donald for this year’s concert will be some of the finest musicians in the NZSO, including Julia Joyce (principal viola), Andrew Joyce (principal cello), and the hugely talented Hiroshi Ikematsu (principal double-bass).
The programme includes two of the great works for large string ensembles Mozart’s Grande Sestetto Concertante and Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen. These two compositions are probably as far apart in mood as possible. The Mozart is cheerful music, brimming with grace and vitality, while the Strauss is a deeply moving memorial written at the close of the second world war.
It has become a policy of the Waikanae Music Society to commission a new piece to mark each 5 year anniversary and so an important addition to this programme is the premiere of a new work by the well-known New Zealand composer Christopher Blake.
Called Māramatanga (meaning “enlightenment”) this piece, written for a quintet of piano and strings, explores aspects of the Kāpiti Coast and its history. The Society is grateful to the KCDC Creative Communites Scheme, the Lion Foundation and the Waikanae Community Board for assistance in funding this commission.
For more information on future events see: www.waikanaemusic.org