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FRIENDS OF MUSIC: KERIMOV TRIO (article first published : 2006-06-23)

This latest recital of the Kerimov Trio, which was established six years ago, was an adventurous one, taking the Friends of Music audience at the Durban Jewish Centre into territory that was in the main probably unknown to them.

The trio consists of Elena Kerimova (violin), her husband Boris Kerimov (cello), both of whom are members of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, and Christopher Duigan (piano), and they have set a very high standard in their many recitals.

On this occasion their strong, confident playing helped the audience through some of the more remote regions of modern music. They opened with a piece called Dedication by G N Ivanov, born 1927, who is apparently one of Siberiaís leading composers (Boris Kerimov comes from that part of the world). The music was dissonant, forceful and compelling in a strange way, but I donít think one will hear it very often.

The Mozart Trio in E major, K.542 which followed clearly came as something of a relief to the hard-pressed audience. This has a typical stream of Mozartian melody, particularly in the lovely Andante. The playing brought out all the subtle nuances of the music.

The Estonian composer Arvo Part (born 1935) is not unknown here; last November the KZN Philharmonic played his imposing Cantus in memory of Benjamin Britten. The Kerimov Trio played his arrangement of a piano Adagio by Mozart. Interesting, but I prefer Mozart plain. I was much more impressed by Arvo Partís Spiegel im Spiegel (Mirror in the Mirror). The composerís intention is to produce a musical version of the visual effect of looking at a mirror with another mirror behind. The result is a beautiful long soliloquy for violin with the simplest, bell-like piano accompaniment. Elena Kerimov excelled here.

A little-known extract from a ballet by Shostakovich, arranged for cello and piano, proved lyrical and assimilable and showed Boris Kerimov at his eloquent best; and the trioís own arrangement of a Schumann song provided a lovely romantic interlude.

The final item was the Trio in F sharp minor by the Armenian composer Arno Babajanian (1921-1983). This was rather like some of the compositions of his better-known Armenian compatriot Aram Khatchaturian, vivid and picturesque, with some catchy themes. Plenty of opportunity for display here, and Christopher Duigan in particular gave a virtuoso performance at the keyboard.

We in KwaZulu/Natal are fortunate to have musicians of this calibre in our midst.

The eveningís prelude performer, funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, was the bass-baritone Bulelani Madikizela, a student at the University of KZN. He is already a seasoned performer, and, accompanied by Bobbie Mills, he showed impressive vocal quality in items by Offenbach, Schumann and Gershwin. - Michael Green




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