Classical Notes by William Charlton-Perkins:
The KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic has announced details of its four-concert 2018 Summer Season.
The concerts will run in The Playhouse Opera each Thursday between February 22 and March 15, starting at 19h30. The season will be presented as part of the Orchestra’s World Symphony Series (WSS) which launched in Durban 22 years ago. Bongani Tembe, KZN Philharmonic’s chief executive and artistic director said: “I am delighted to continue the WSS brand thereby ensuring we attract the finest International conductors and soloists to our concert platform along with leading South African artists.”
For its concert on February 22, the KZN Phil welcomes the return of its associate guest conductor, Daniel Boico, with a programme of three concert block-busters. Boico opens his programme exploring the high drama of Frantz Liszt’s famed symphonic poem, Les Préludes, before being joined onstage by the Ukraine-born soloist, Anna Dmytrenko, for a performance of Saint-Saëns’s Piano Concerto No 2 in G minor. Boico brings the evening to a close with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 in F minor.
Canadian-Caribbean conductor Kwamé Ryan takes the podium on March 1 with an all-French programme, opening with the Overture to Gabriel Fauré’s 1919 neo-classical Masques et Bergamasques Suite. South African flautist Liesl Stoltz will be showcased in Cécile Chaminade’s decorative one-movement Flute Concertino in D major; and François Borne’s sultry Fantaisie brillante, based on themes from Bizet’s opera Carmen. Sandwiched between these two pieces for a star flautist is the1897 symphonic poem, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas, a work made famous by its inclusion in the 1940 Disney animated classic, Fantasia. After intermission Ryan rounds of his programme with the popular Symphony in D minor by César Franck.
Dutch conductor Arjan Tien returns to the podium for the two remaining concerts of the season. Music by Schubert and Beethoven feature on the bill for the first of his engagements on March 8. Schubert’s Rosamunde Overture and well-loved Fifth Symphony are set to delight concert-goers with their inexhaustible wealth melodies and scores that bear the imprints of his sunny nature. Maestro Tien’s programme complements these pieces with Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major, featuring Germany’s new-generation concert luminary, Daniel Röhn, in one of his signature pieces.
Tien brings the season to a close on March with a dynamic programme comprising three contrasting masterworks. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s foreboding Don Giovanni Overture is geared create an atmosphere charged with suspense before the evening’s father-and-son duo, Max Baillie (violin) and Alexander Baillie (cello) take the solo spots performing Brahms’s A minor Double Concerto. The composer’s final orchestral composition, this will offer a rewarding experience for listeners. Sibelius’s powerful Second Symphony concludes the evening.
Chamber music lovers can look forward to Friends of Music’s opening recital of the year on Tuesday (January 16) at the Durban Jewish Centre, 44 KE Masinga (Old Fort) Road. The acclaimed London-based, American violinist, Miriam Kramer will perform an exciting programme of music by Bartok, Bach, Elgar, Schumann, Piazzolla, Block and Sarasate, accompanied by pianist Nicholas Durcan. The evening’s prelude performer is the 15-year old pianist and violinist, Rachel Wedderburn-Maxwell, from Durban Girls College. She will perform Mendelssohn’s Rondo and Capriccioso Op 14 and Kreisler’s Praeludium and Allegro. Her accompanist is Molly Chen. Tickets are R100 (members) R120 (non-members) available at the door. The recital starts at 19h30 and safe parking is provided.
Christopher Duigan opens the year’s Music Revival programme of monthly concerts with a concise overview of the piano music of George Gershwin. Popular with audiences of classical, jazz and popular music Gershwin’s holds a unique place as a crossover composer. Celebrating his contribution to the ‘classical’ piano repertoire Duigan plays the ‘Three Preludes’, the iconic ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ and the ‘Gershwin Songbook’. This virtuoso selection of 19 compact and delightful improvisations by Gershwin of his own popular songs, provides a whirlwind pianistic tour-de-force through the songs of the composer. Included are ‘Fascinating Rhythm’, ‘The Man I Love’, ‘S’Wonderful’ and ‘I Got Rhythm’. Duigan completes the programme with ragtime music by Scott Joplin and novelty solos ‘Dizzy Fingers’ (Zez Confrey) and ‘Nola’ (Felix Arndt).
Duigan performs his Gershwin programme in a number of venues. He appears on Monday January 29 at 19h00 at Grace Hall Ashton International College, Albertina Way, Ballito (opp. Ballito Hospital). Tickets are R150 with coffee and cake included at interval. Seating is unreserved. The programme will be presented in Pietermaritzburg at 35 Montgomery Drive, Athlone, on Friday January 26 at 19h45 and Sunday 28 at 11h00 at the Tatham Art Gallery, and at St Agnes Church in Kloof in Tuesday January 30 at 19h30. Booking for all these recitals is at Music Revival email firstname.lastname@example.org or at 083 417 4473 (SMS or WhatsApp preferred). Or visit www.musicrevival.co.za