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KZNPO CONCERT: SEPTEMBER 29 (article first published : 2005-10-1)

Konstantin Soukhovetsky, the 24-year-old Russian-American pianist who had created a great impression at his Friends of Music recital two days earlier, confirmed at this symphony concert in the Durban City Hall that he is a player of outstanding quality.

In Mozartís Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, the one which starts with a shudder, as one writer has aptly put it, he displayed the attributes of an accomplished keyboard artist: an immaculate technique, a powerful left hand, an acute sense of the drama of the music and, most important of all, the ability to make the piano sing with a lovely full tone.

The latter quality was most evident in the beautiful slow movement, entitled Romanze, but it was present too in the opening Allegro, in the cantabile passages where the piano, quiet and pensive, shines through the texture of orchestral sound. A fine performance of a great work.

It was a young manís evening on the platform. The conductor, Francois Xavier-Roth from France, is 34, and he showed plenty of concentrated energy as he took the orchestra deftly though Mahlerís hour-long Symphony No. 1 in D (the KZNPO chooses to call this the ďTitanĒ though Mahler dropped that title, taken from a novel by Jean Paul Richter, very soon after adopting it, and it is indeed inappropriate; much of the music is bucolic rather than titanic).

The audience was rather sparse, perhaps a reaction after two good houses in the previous fortnight, but the applause for both items on the programme was unstinting. - Michael Green




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