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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

KZNPO CONCERT: MARCH 2 (article first published : 2006-03-4)

A programme of Beethoven and Tchaikovsky drew a big audience to the Durban City Hall for this concert, and the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra responded splendidly under the baton of the Israeli conductor Omri Hadari.

Mr Hadari, who has appeared with many major orchestras in various parts of the world, has been visiting South Africa intermittently for the past 20 years. I would think that he is now at the peak of his powers as a conductor, combining mature judgment and authority with youthful vigour. He took the orchestra through two big works, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A major and Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, without reference to a score, a considerable feat of memory.

The Serenade is a beautiful and well-known four-movement composition, and the orchestra’s 40 string players seemed to relish the opportunity to display their skills in this luminous music. The playing was precise and well balanced, and the performance in general most enjoyable.

With the Beethoven we entered a different world, a massive, driving symphony by the greatest of all composers. In a pre-concert lecture, Omri Hadari spoke of Beethoven’s intellectual power, of the thousand and one subtleties in his music, and of the almost infinite variety of interpretations of that music (including three very different recordings of the symphonies made by Herbert von Karajan at different times).

I found Omri Hadari's own interpretation totally convincing. This is a symphony of persistent and sometimes tumultuous rhythmical patterns, and Wagner summed it up accurately in his well-known aphorism about it being “the apotheosis of the dance”. But there are also significant and penetrating quieter passages, and these received due attention from conductor and orchestra.

Omri Hadari captured admirably (and with impressive energy on the podium) the drama and poetry, the rhythm and melody of this great work. And at the end there was a well-deserved ovation from a highly appreciative audience. - Michael Green

Click on the KZNPO advert which appears on artSMart pages and this will take you to the orchestra’s website which gives details of the full symphony season as well as other KZNPO activities. The orchestra will perform an all Mozart programme at St Thomas Church, Musgrave Road, Durban, on March 5 at 11h00. (See separate story)/i>




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