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KZNPO CONCERT: JUNE 15 (article first published : 2006-06-17)

Russian-born Boris Kerimov, principal cellist of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, scored an outstanding success when he appeared as soloist in Dvorak’s magnificent >Cello Concerto in B minor in the KZNPO’s concert on June 15.

He had taken over the assignment at relatively short notice. The originally scheduled soloist, Grigory Alumyan (also from Russia), had withdrawn because of double dating and Boris Kerimov had only four weeks in which to prepare this long and difficult work. He played it without reference to a score, and the outcome was a foot-stamping ovation from the Durban City Hall audience.

In a pre-concert lecture, I described this concerto as being a constant stream of melody, and it was clear that the listeners in the City Hall enjoyed every moment of it. Boris Kerimov played with great eloquence, drawing a rich golden tone from his cello and surmounting the considerable technical difficulties with aplomb. There were one or two brief passages in which the solo cello was outweighed by the orchestra but perhaps this is inevitable. In general the balance was excellent, with controlled and accurate playing from the horns and woodwind in particular.

The visiting English conductor Nicholas Cleobury must obviously share the credit for this memorable performance. A slender figure on the podium, he conducts with vigour, and he has a benign smile. He seems able to communicate his enthusiasm to the orchestra, judging by the results he achieved in the Dvorak and in Schumann’s Symphony No 4 in D minor. This is a highly integrated romantic work; its four movements are played without a break and there are distinct links between the melodies in various movements. The orchestra were in good form here and in Smetana’s Bartered Bride overture which opened the concert. - Michael Green




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