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

CLASSICAL NOTES (article first published : 2007-06-16)

As an ‘ex pat’ of the KZN Midlands, I often regret the minimal change of seasons visible in Durban around this time of the year, particularly the sight of masses of trees in undress mode (we’ve missed the boat for autumn leaves by now). If you share this nostalgia for those evocative sights and scents of inland life, you may be tempted to join in the fun of an excursion to Pietermaritzburg’s magnificent National Botanic Gardens next Sunday (June 24), as the KZNPO will appear in The Concert in The Park, presented by Parklane Super Spar.

This ambitious fund-raiser is set to top last year’s and the previous year’s impressive figure of R100,000, in support of the Thandanani Children’s Fountain, a non-profit organization that supports orphans (particularly HIV/AIDS Orphans) and other children in need.

With Naum Rousine on the podium, the line-up of soloists includes vocal charmer Carol Trench, suave toned baritone Federico Freschi, virtuoso pianist Christopher Duigan and Idols heart throb Heinz Winkler. Also appearing on the programme, which starts at 12h00, are the Pietermaritzburg Children’s Choir, the KZN Youth Wind Band, the Pietermaritzburg Caledonian Pipe Band and the cast of Maritzburg College’s Beatles tribute show, When I’m 64.

The KZNPO take the stage at 13h3 with a programme that includes a selection from Les Misérables, contemporary favourites such as The Rose, I’m a Believer, You Raise Me Up and YMCA, Elgar’s Pomp & Circumstance March No 1, the Radetsky March, a James Bond Medley and Winter Games. Tickets at R60, R30 for children, are available from Parklane Super Spar at 033 342 3487. Bring a picnic and chairs, and enjoy an afternoon of music in a spectacular setting.

Meanwhile, the KZNPO appears with Naum Rousine tomorrow (June 15) at the Glenwood Community Proms, at Glenwood Preparatory School in Bath Road. Starting at 18h30, this programme includes popular classics and chart topping hits featuring Crystal Tryon, Robert Petersen and Darren King. The concert will also feature leading OSCA students Khumbuzile Dlamini (soprano) and Lukhanyo Moyake (tenor), as well as nine year old violinist Laura Osorhean. Tickets at R50 available from Glenwood Prep on 031 201 5165.

Hearing Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto given a spectacular new lease of life by master pianist Florian Uhlig last Thursday was an experience to cherish. With Leslie Dunner on the Durban City Hall podium, we were treated to an aural experience akin to seeing an over-familiar masterpiece stripped of centuries of veneer, its colours set free for us to marvel as new. Always an interesting artist, Uhlig brought out often-missed aspects in the much-played score, moments of mystery, touches of delicious wit, where others too often fall back on bombast. Bravo.

This evening and next Thursday Maestro Dunner returns to the podium. This evening’s programme features Haydn’s Sinfonia Concertante (with soloists Violeta Osorhean, Boris Kerimov, Clare Welfare and Vessela Minkova), Gluck’s Iphigenia in Aulis Overture and Brahms’s Symphony No 1. Christopher Duigan takes solo spot next week in Rhapsody in Blue, in a programme of Gershwin and Bernstein favourites.

Conductor Bernhard Gueller returns for the final concert of the current season on June 28. This spotlights Andrew Warburton as soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 4. Something to watch out for.

Finally, a note that Friends of Music’s next programme is on June 26 at the Durban Jewish Centre. Bronwyn Forbay’s many fans will seize the chance of hearing this much loved soprano in a wide-ranging programme of songs and arias including show-stoppers by Mozart, Rossini and Verdi. Booking for the recital, which starts at 19h30, is through Computicket. - William Charlton-Perkins




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