From Fugues to Finales

Today we went to a very pleasant afternoon of chamber music, titled From Fugues to Finales. It was organised by the Greytown Music Group as part of the town’s weekend arts festival.

This scratch group, tongue-in-cheek-named The Ultimates, was made up of some of the Wellington region’s top musicians: Vicki Jones (bass), Robert Ibell (cello), Rebecca Steel (flute) and Adam Gordon (piano).

‘The Ultimates’ performing in the music room at Ed and Juliet Cooke’s house in Greytown. We’ve been to some memorable concerts there over the 13 years we’ve  been weekend Wairarapa residents. Under the aegis of the Greytown Music Group, the concerts always feature top-notch musicians and are excellent value at only $20 a seat. Unfortunately the Sunday afternoon timing often doesn’t suit us, as it clashes with our return to Wellington. But next concert season we’ll be permanent Martinborough residents and hope to attend more concerts.

Though not a regular chamber music group, their professionalism showed through. They were very ‘together’ and there were some exciting, tricky ensemble passages.

It was hardly a typical chamber music lineup and the musicians had to write some of their own arrangements.

Vicki Jones, our neighbour in Martinborough, who until recently was sub-principal bass in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Composers included Mendelssohn Bach, Chopin, Poulenc, Fourdrain, Soler, and others.

The concert’s rough theme was ‘final’. Every piece was final in some way. For instance, one exquisitely performed piano/cello duo was Chopin’s final composition, orginally played by the composer-pianist in his final public performance.

It was a cheerful, relaxed afternoon; the antithesis of some formal chamber music concerts I’ve been to in the past. (Though to be fair, the chamber music concert atmosphere has lightened up a lot in recent years.)

Finality continued beyond the final work into a light-hearted encore for which song-sheets were handed out. They played, and we sang, Englebert Humperdinck’s 1967 pop hit, The Last Waltz.

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2 Responses to From Fugues to Finales

  1. Fred Frazier says:

    Sounds/looks pretty ritzy. Must have a nice house! You certainly had a more cultured weekend than I (digging on & patching my septic system!).

    Is that your neighbor’s normal hair color or was that just for the performance? Wow!


  2. jmacg says:

    That’s her normal artificial color.

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