REVIEW: Duo Col Legno

Pictured: The marimba takes an hour to assemble and another hour to disassemble. From the left: Oban Hansen, Bruce Paulson and Marimba player Yoshiko Tsuruta.

Duo Col Legno was an amazing concert last week in the Lake Wanaka Centre. Not only was it a musical spectacle but also a visual one. Marimba player Yoshiko Tsuruta literally danced her way along the marimba—the length of a van—wielding four mallets with pinpoint accuracy. This was achieved by positioning her whole body and using extreme wrist and finger movements. Her whole generous performance was committed to memory.

Heleen du Plessis, one New Zealand’s top cellists, was in fine form—totally immersed in the music and at one with her beautiful cello. The interplay between cello and marimba was magical. They had the total attention of the audience who were enthralled with this unusual spectacle of cello and marimba. The programme was cleverly planned, a variation of dramatic and tumultuous, delicate and tender, and rhythmic and fun.  

The audience was enthralled with both performers. It was more than just playing instruments—they both put their whole selves into the performance.

It is remarkable that the synergy of cello and marimba has not been included in New Zealand repertoire previously and amazing that so many people turned up, uncertain of what to expect, but were rewarded with a great evening’s entertainment.


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