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KZNPO CONCERT: MARCH 18 (article first published : 2004-03-19)

A classic programme by the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra under a new conductor was greeted with much enthusiasm in the Durban City Hall.

Nicholas Uljanov, who comes from Russia and has 17 years of international conducting experience, took the orchestra through works by Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. He is a driving personality, almost flamboyant at times, and his technique yielded splendid results in Beethovenís Symphony No. 7 in A major.

Before that, however, we had Mozartís Cosi fan tutte overture and Haydnís Cello Concerto in D major, with Cobus Swanepoel as soloist. Cobus Swanepoel is a South African who has settled in Germany, and he displayed technical prowess and an opulent tone (especially in the slow movement) in this lyrical work. The concerto is not quite a striking as the Haydn C major Cello Concerto, but it is beautiful by any reckoning, and soloist and orchestra did it full justice.

The high point of the evening was without question the Beethoven symphony, which is a kind of festival of rhythm. Strings, woodwind and brass all excelled themselves in a performance that earned conductor and players a huge ovation at the end.

Listening to this great work I reflected on how fortunate we are to have an orchestra of this quality in Durban. A good CD is fine, but it does not generate the stimulation and excitement of a live performance. Long may the orchestra continue as one of KZNís most valuable assets. - Michael Green




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