Review of Palmerston North concert

Fine musicians explore European classical music on period instruments.

Reviewed by Stephen Fisher in Manawatu Standard, 8 May 2018

The intimate surrounds of the Awhina Room in Caccia Birch proved to be the perfect venue for last Sunday evening's concert by Hammers and Horsehair, an ensemble dedicated to presenting early 19th century European classical music played on period instruments.

The original ensemble was a duo consisting of Douglas Mews performing on an authentic square piano and Robert Ibell on the cello, the latter having grown up in Palmerston North. However, for their 2018 tour, they have been joined by soprano Rowena Simpson, allowing them to explore the vocal music of the period for which they have become such strong advocates.

The programme featured works by Schubert, Schumann, Beethoven and the little-known Jan Kalivoda, opening with Schubert's The Shepherd on the Rock, which introduced us to the beautiful sounds of this trio, enhanced by the gentle acoustics of the room. Beethoven's gorgeous Sonata in A major for piano and cello completed the first half, an exhilarating performance from two players in tune with each other.

The second half allowed us to take in the sounds of the square piano as Mews gave an evocative performance of selections from Schumann's Scenes from Childhood. Ibell and Mews gave us two delightful Schubert songs before Jackson returned to the concert platform for the three wonderful Kalivoda songs.

This was a memorable evening in the presence of fine musicians.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/lifestyle/103730205/fine-musicians-explore-european-classical-music-on-period-instruments

Hammers & Horsehair to tour in 2018

German & Bohemian Music for Soprano, Piano and Cello

 

Hammers & Horsehair presents a rich and varied programme of music from the first half of the Nineteenth Century. Three beautiful but rarely heard songs by Bohemian composer Jan Kalivoda and Schubert’s famous ‘Shepherd on the Rock’ begin and end the concert. In between are excerpts from Schumann’s evocative ‘Scenes from Childhood’, two special Lieder by Schubert and one of the best-loved sonatas for piano and cello, Beethoven’s Sontata in A major Op 69.


Rowena Simpson – Soprano
Douglas Mews – Square Piano
Robert Ibell – Cello

 

Rowena Simpson grew up in Wellington, Hamilton and London and began her performing career as a cellist, chorister and dancer. She studied singing with German soprano Rosemary Gordon and graduated with degrees in musicology and linguistics from Victoria University before leaving for The Netherlands in 1997, where she studied singing and historical performance practice at the Royal Conservatoire.

While based in Europe, she performed with professional chamber ensembles and was a soloist in the baroque and classical repertoires. Since returning to NZ in 2006, Rowena has developed a freelance career in chamber music and opera, performing for many organisations including Chamber Music NZ (Barocca & Tōku Ao), Stroma New Music Ensemble, NZ Barok, CBS Music Trust, Pinchgut Opera (Sydney), Days Bay Opera and as a member of the NZ Opera chorus.

 

Douglas Mews studied organ and harpsichord with the late Anthony Jennings at Auckland University (New Zealand) followed by harpsichord studies with Bob van Asperen at the Royal Conservatory in the Hague.

He is now a freelance musician, teaching at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington and directing the music at St Teresa's Catholic Church. In 2010 he recorded a CD on the Wellington Town Hall 1906 Norman and Beard organ for Priory Records’ ‘Great Australasian Organs’. His most recent CD (released in 2012) is 'The Lost Chord', also recorded at the Wellington Town Hall.

In these concerts Douglas will perform on a square piano made by Broadwood in 1843.

 

Robert Ibell was born in Dannevirke and brought up in Palmerston North. While training there as a school teacher he learned cello from Judith Hyatt in Wellington.

From 1986 to 1992 Robert lived in London, studying cello with Tania Hunt, Derek Simpson and Christopher Bunting. He played at music schools and in masterclasses (where his teachers included Alexander Baillie, Steve Doane, Anner Bylsma and Steven Isserlis), taught, gave recitals and played in professional and amateur orchestras.

Since 1993 Robert has been a member of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. He is also an experienced chamber musician, touring regularly for Chamber Music New Zealand. Formerly the cellist of the Nevine Quartet, Robert has been a member of the Aroha Quartet since 2009. He also plays in contemporary music group Stroma New Music Ensemble and is a Recording Artist for Radio NZ Concert.

Robert plays an 18th Century cello by an unknown Italian or German maker, gifted to him by Judith Hyatt.


Programme

Kalivoda – Three Songs for Soprano, Piano & Cello Op. 91

Beethoven – Sonata in A major Op. 69 for Piano & Cello

Schumann – ‘Scenes from Childhood’ for Piano Op. 15

Schubert – ‘Suleika No 1' D720 & ‘Im Haine’ D738 for Soprano & Piano

Schubert – ‘Shepherd on the Rock’ D965 for Soprano, Cello & Piano, arr. D. Mews

The musical pieces will be linked by short readings that reflect the era or the mood of the music and the contribution of German-speaking musicians to life in
New Zealand.


Dates/Venues

Sunday 22 April 2018, 4pm
Greytown

57 Wood St, Greytown

Tickets: $25 Adult | $10 Student
Door sales cash only, reservations 06 304 9497 or efjac@xtra.co.nz

 

Thursday 26 April 2018, 7.30pm
Kerikeri

New World Theatre Bar, Turner Centre, 43 Cobham Rd, Kerikeri

Tickets:  $30 Adult | $25 Friends | Free for 18 yrs & under
Available from Turner Centre Box Office or at turnercentre.co.nz

 

Friday 27 April 2018, 7:30pm
South Hokianga

Old Pakanae School, 30 Waiotemarama Gorge Rd

Tickets: $20
Door sales only

 

Saturday 28 April 2018, 7:30pm
Auckland

Ponsonby Baptist Church Hall, 43 Jervois Rd, Auckland

Tickets: $30 Full | $20 Concession | $60 family (2 adults + 2 children) | $10 Under 18 yrs
Available from Eventfinda

 

Sunday 29 April 2018, 2.30pm
Te Awamutu

Methodist Church, 261 Bank St, Te Awamutu

Tickets: $15 | Students Free
Door sales only

 

Monday 30 April 2018, 7:30pm
Clevedon

House Concert

Tickets: $40 (including supper)
Where to buy tickets: 027 484 9874 or cowanjoyce@gmail.com

 

Tuesday 1 May 2018, 7:30pm
Whangamata

Whangamata Hall, 326 Port Rd, Whangamata

Includes musical performances by students from Whangamata Area School and Opoutere Primary School

Tickets: $15 Adult | $30 Families (2 adults + 2 children) | $5 Under 18 yrsTickets available at Whanga Books, Whangamata Area School, and Opoutere Primary School. Light refreshments included, bar available. 

 

Thursday 3 May 2018, 7.30pm
Coromandel

The Club, Woollams Avenue, Coromandel

Tickets: $25 Pre-sales | $30 Door sales
Pre sale tickets available from Coro Info Centre or pay direct to Coromandel Music Society BNZ 02-0304-0310833-000 ($25.00 each, put your name as reference, pick up tickets at the door)
coromusicsociety.org.nz

 

Friday 4 May, 7.30pm
Whakatane

Church of St George & St John, 30 Domain Rd, Whakatane

Tickets: $30 Adult | $25 Concession | $5 Child
Available from ‘The Good Life’, The Strand, Whakatane.

 

Saturday 5 May, 2.30pm
Putaruru

Living Spring Christian Centre, 59 Tirau St, Putaruru

Tickets: $25 Adult | $20 South Waikato Music Society Members | Students free
Door sales cash only

 

Sunday 6 May 2018, 7pm
Palmerston North

Awhina Room, Caccia Birch House, 130 Te Awe Awe St, Palmerston North

Tickets: $25 Full | $20 concession | $50 for families (2 adults + 2 children) | $10 under 18 yrs
Available from Eventfinda

 

Monday 2 July 2018, 7.30pm
Rotorua

Memories Room, Princes Gate Hotel, 1057 Arawa St, Rotorua

Tickets: $30 Adult | $15 Student (18-25 yrs) | School-age children free, if accompanied by ticket holder.
Door sales from 7pm Or pre-sales from secretary@rotoruamusic.org.nz
rotoruamusic.org.nz

 

Tuesday 3 July 2018, 7:30pm
Hastings

Guild Room, St Matthew’s Anglican church, Corner King St South & Lyndon Rd West, Hastings

Tickets: $25 Full | $20 Concession | $50 for families (2 adults + 2 children) | $10 under 18 yrs
Available from Eventfinda

 

Tuesday 16 October 2018, 7:30pm
Dunedin

House Concert

 

Wednesday 17 October 2018, 7:30pm
Oamaru

St Lukes Anglican Church, Corner of Tees St and Itchen St, Oamaru

Tickets: Adult $25 | Senior $20 | Student $10

Bookings:
Bruce Albiston: info@burnsidehomestead.com or txt 022 687 6365
Annie Baxter: livingtrad@xtra.co.nz or txt 027 648 6023

All bookings reserved in front seating. Door sales on night.

Thursday 18 October 2018, 7pm
Timaru

St Mary’s Church, 24 Church St, Timaru

Tickets: $25 Adult | $5 Children
Available from St Mary’s Office (03) 688 8377, 027 275 7563 or lucy.stmarys@yahoo.com.au

 

Friday 19 October 2018, 7.30pm
Rangiora

Chamber Gallery, Rangiora Library

Tickets: $30 Adults | $10 Students
Available from Rangiora Library (cash or cheque only)

 

Saturday 20 October, 3:30pm for 4pm start
Christchurch

House Concert, Corsair Bay

Tickets: $35 (including refreshments)
Available from ‭021 134 1797‬

 

Sunday 21 October 2018, 3pm
Picton

Picton Little Theatre, 9 Dublin St, Picton

Tickets: $25 (includes afternoon tea)
Available from Take Note (Picton) or Alyssums (Blenheim)
pictonlittletheatre.weebly.com

 

Thursday 25 October, 8pm
Wellington

Aro Valley Community Centre, 48 Aro St, Wellington

Tickets: $30 Full | $20 Concessions | $10 under 18 yrs | $60 Families (2 Adults + 2 Children)

Available from Eventfinda. Service fees may apply.