REVIEW – Bach and Zappa Late


Looking at the late night audience in the Royal Over-Seas League, many people seemed to have been drawn there by Zappa’s appeal rather than by Bach’s. Because of that, it couldn’t have been a pleasant task to announce that the program would not include Zappa ‘Ruth is Sleeping’ at this concert, because the organisers could not reach agreement for performance in time with music publishers Schott NY and the Zappa estate. Instead, they were substituting a work by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead. The title of the concert had been changed to Bach and Kurtag Late.

If some people felt a slight disappointment caused by the news, this soon proved to be unfounded. Antoine Francoise and Robin Green of the Francoise-Green Piano Duo surprised the audience by a tongue in cheek interpretation of ‘Loop’ by Radiohead. Rather than having 4 hands on the keyboard, only one pianist played the song, whereas the other used the piano in indescribable ways to create rhythm and sounds. One wonders how a composer would transcribe this ‘music’ unto paper!

Following this eclectic piece was a selection of Bach Chorales and contemporary composers, all played classically by four hands, and played so almost to perfection. The listener would find oneself seduced by vivid melodies, smooth arrangements and a violently serenading atmosphere.

The piano program was interrupted by the appearance of the Trinity Trio, Stella Kim on violin, her sister Sally on cello, and Tina Kim on piano. The performed ‘Ahi’ by Gareth Farr, a modern composer form New Zealand. The Maori word for ‘Fire’ certainly described the theme and the skills with which that piece was performed perfectly.

Altogether the evening was thoroughly enjoyable and the five young musicians presented an intriguing selection of modern classical music – even without Zappa.

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