A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

music
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

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

SONIC SPLENDOUR (article first published : 2006-11-19)

Three major musical outings are on offer in Durban over the next ten days. The first of these is a performance of Mendelssohn's splendid oratorio, Elijah, presented as the finale to the KZN Philharmonic's Spring Season in the City Hall this evening.

As founder of the famous Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, one of the classical world's crack big bands ever since, Mendelssohn has historic claims to have invented the modern orchestra, or at least to have fast-tracked its evolution. During his years in Leipzig, he also did much to blaze the trail that put Bach back on the map with 19th century audiences on both sides of the Channel. His passion for the great choral dramas of the high Baroque, such as Bach's St Matthew Passion and the magnificent corpus of Handel oratorios, is reflected in the intensely dramatic nature of Elijah.

The work came into being as a commission by the Manchester Festival committee in 1845, following the composer's triumphs in England with his earlier choral works, St Paul and the Hymn of Praise. Its composition marked a biographical parallel with Mozart's Requiem, written more half a century earlier. First performed in 1846 within months of Mendelssohn's premature death at the age of 38, it was the composer's final magnum opus. In no small way, it quickly became part of the age's craze for grand, massed performances of choral works that filled gigantic venues such as the Crystal Palace. A precursor to today's stadium entertainment culture?

Handel and Bach generally had smaller bodies of musicians at their disposal, and this bumped up performance tradition was a far cry from today's more historically informed interpretations, but must have been thrilling on its own terms. In the instance of Mendelssohn's work, created for relatively huge forces that had evolved during own his own lifetime, big scale performances were and remain perfectly legit.

Catch Elijah this evening, if for no other reason but to savour its sonic stature when performed in an historically appropriate venue that does it justice. The celebrated German maestro Wolfgang Gönnenwein is in town to lead the proceedings. The vocal line-up includes Beverly Chiat, (soprano), Violine Anguelov (mezzo soprano), Bongani Tembe (tenor), Federico Freschi (baritone) - with the Durban Serenade Choral Society and the Durban Symphonic Choir, so hold your breath.

Baroque 2000's next performance is this Sunday (November 19) at St Olav's Church, St Thomas Road, Musgrave. This promises further sonic splendour, if on a more intimate scale. Performances by brass quintet, organ and strings are on offer. The whole ensemble will play some of the celebrated polyphonic music of Orlando di Lasso, Giovanni Gabrieli and Buxtehude, in which as many as 19 individual instrumental lines combine in dazzling compositional virtuosity. Also on the programme are Vivaldi's gorgeous Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Strings (soloists Ralica Cherneva and Cecilia di Cecco), a Corelli Concerto Grosso, and brass pieces (trumpets, horn, trombone and tuba) by Speer, Holborn and Pezel. Tickets for this exciting fare are available at the door or from Computicket (enquiries to 031 312 5539, or e-mail sursouth@iafrica.com)

Next Saturday (November 25), Music Revival presents a typically eclectic programme loosely titled Echoes of Vienna, Oslo, and Buenos Aires. Enterprising marketer Chris Duigan puts forward the suggestion that this is a hip opportunity to hear a concert of classical 'world music' (another historic precedent up for grabs). The event sees the Durban Chamber Choir, led by Carol Stranex, performing Brahms's Liebesliederwalzer Op 52, accompanied by duo pianists Duigan and Claire Wright. The pianists will play additional piano four handed pieces by Mendelssohn and Mozart. Complimenting these performances, violinist Elena Kerimova will play Grieg's Sonata No 3 in C Minor Op 38 and a fiery selection of tango compositions by South American, Astor Piazzolla. The musical roadshow ends with an ensemble rendition of Johan Strauss' evergreen, The Blue Danube. This generous bag of tricks begins at 19h30 and will be repeated in Hilton the next day (November 26) at 11h00. To book, call 083 417 4473 or e-mail booking@musicrevival.co.za - William Charlton-Perkins




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart