Kapiti Coast Composer`s work premiered by NZSO
A new composition, `Portrait,` by Raumati`s Kenneth Young has been premiered by the National Symphony Orchestra in Wellington.
Kapiti Independent News asked academic and Chairman of the NZ String Quartet, Les Holborow, of Paekakariki, to review the performance for us…………..
Local Composer’s Work Featured
The premiere of a new work by Kapiti resident composer Kenneth Young opened an unusual concert by strings and percussion players of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in the Wellington Town Hall on Saturday night.
The work was commissioned by the Wellington Friends of the Orchestra, an organisation recently disbanded by the orchestra with the intention that its functions be taken over by the orchestral management – a promise which is still to be fulfilled. Ken Young was once a tuba player in the orchestra but left it some time ago to devote more time to composing and conducting as well as teaching in these fields. He is currently the conductor of the Kapiti Concert Orchestra and has had works performed by major orchestras both in New Zealand and overseas. In 2004 he received a Lilburn Trust Citation for Outstanding Services to New Zealand Music.
The concert on Saturday opened the NZSO”s subscription season in Wellington and was given to a large and enthusiastic audience. The combination of about thirty strings with a large range of percussion instruments played by four musicians provided a broad palette of orchestral sound which was attractively exploited by all four composers. A work by the noted Japanese Takemitsu used just subdued percussion with striking lighting effects, the Estonian Avro Part’s Fratres is a classic of condensed intensity and the Carmen Suite of the Russian Rodion Shchedrin ended the concert on an ebullient note.
Ken Young’s piece was entitled Portrait. In his programme note he made it clear that this was not intended to suggest a specific person or programme but rather to ”reflect various moods and sensations” which the individual listener was free to use as a basis for any association they wished.
To this listener the mood of the extended opening section was clearly contemplative, even nostalgic, with a sustained melody carried by the strings with quiet percussion accompaniment. The leader of the orchestra, Vesa-Matti Leppanen, was given an attractive solo part including some virtuoso playing, and most effective use was made of the harp, particularly towards the end of the piece where it was doubled with the lead cello playing harmonics.
As the work developed it moved into a less wistful mood, with some use of dance rhythms and a lively contribution from the first violin. Ken confessed in his programme note that he had enjoyed writing the work. It was evident in the performance that both players and audience had been drawn in to share that enjoyment.
Kenneth Young is also the Principal Conductor of the Kapiti Concert Orchestra, founded with Jane Godfrey in 2004.
He conducts at least one concert a year with this orchestra and has been active on its committee in the past year.
– The next KCO concert will be in Otaki on May 12th and Paekakariki on May 13th.
He is also Patron of the Kapiti Youth Orchestra which was founded by Michael Joel and Mary Singleton in 2010.