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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 14, No. 12. September 20, 1951

Music — Collegium Musicum


Collegium Musicum

The first Collegium Musicum concert was one of the most important musical events at V.U.C., sad one cannot but be glad for the initiative and hard work that must have preceded the first concert given by the Collegium Musicum. A small group of string players, together with three soloists, all demonstrated the joy of music making and the charms of chamber music in an intimate setting. Hans Knoetgen is a sensitive and understanding conductor of this small ensemble; he is free from showiness and holds his group well together. Robin England as leader of the small orchestra Plays firmly and well.

The programme was devoted to 18th Century music. A newly discovered Vivaldi Concerto for strings in d-minor was, after the initial nervousness had disappeared, extremely well played. Balance, rhythm and delicacy—they were all there. Perhaps a second viola would contribute to the effects. Maureen O'Carroll's playing of four movements of the solo sonata No. 3 by Bach was, of course, not flawless. To play such music at all takes courage, to play it as well as the young soloist did was astonishing. I would like to hear Miss O'Carroll play something less technically exacting next time, because the tone of her cello, whenever she felt sure of herself, sounded beautiful.

Eric Girvan, in a Barbirolli arrangement of Corelli themes for oboe and strings was, as a soloist, easily the best of the evening. Also the orchestra was very good in accompanying him in these chaming, short movements. There was less certainty and some hesitation in the orchestral part of the Bach d-minor Piano concerto, which, to me, seemed to be under-rehearsed. Beryl Richardson played this concerto with great vigour and mastery; why the soloist had to play her part from a pocket score I do not know, but it proved no visible impediment to her playing. I felt least satisfied with the orchestra in this concluding item, not merely because' of the slackening discipline, but also because I felt that in interpretation Miss Richardson was at variance with Hans Knoetgen, and, as far as I could judge after one hearing, I think the pianist was nearer the unassuming simplicity of the composer. I would be glad to hear this concert once more at the next recital, if at all possible.

That there should be not only one, but many more recitals must have been the wish of the audience who filled C6. if there was doubt among us before we decided to "give it a try," there was only genuine enthusiasm at the end. The Collegium Musicum is a very fine thing, indeed, and something long overdue at the College. We'll look forward to their future development, and they can be sure of our support.


Editorial Note: Ro God Save the King—God Save the King!