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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 REVIEW: CONCERT OCTOBER 5 (article first published : 2000-10-10)

David Tidboald made a welcome return to Durban for the first of three concerts this month in the KZN Philharmonic’s World Symphony Series Spring Season. The first of these featured two of the most exquisite compositions of the great French master, Maurice Ravel, in the first half, offset by two Tchaikovsky blockbusters after interval.

Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite, surely one of the 20th Century’s most perfectly balanced pieces for the concert stage, is notable for its delicate textures and structural restraint. In Tidboald’s understanding hands, an air of innocence prevailed appropriately over each of the Suite’s five Pieces for Children.

These were rendered with a gentle touch evocative of impressionist watercolour painting, shot through with the composer’s typically ear-catching orchestral effects. Special moments to relish flowed into each other: the muted charm of the opening movement’s dreamlike images of the Sleeping Beauty subtly offsetting the quirky rhythmic patterns of the succeeding Hop o Thumb; the warm glow of the strings in the stately Laideronette, Empress of the Pagodas

Tidboald was joined by his former protegee Lara Jones for an equally finely-honed account of Ravel’s G Major Piano Concerto. In many respects, this piece is perfectly tapered to the talented young pianist’s special accomplishments. These included playing the filigree passages of the difficult first movement with a crucial impression of ease; an unfailingly elegant line and a diaphanous touch in the ethereal second movement; and a soundly based instinct for ensemble playing which is crucial to the pianist’s relationship with the orchestra in Ravel’s intricate writing.

Perhaps she could have let rip a bit more in the jazz-inspired passages of the closing movement but in all her performance melded beautifully with those of her long-time partners.

KZNPO Concert master Hirsto Kardjiev’s brave stab at Tchaikovsky’s notoriously difficult Violin Concerto gave us many moments of pleasure and excitement, marred occasionally by wayward intonation in the stratospheric upper reaches of the two outer movements. But in all, this performance was a crowd-pleaser, fully supported by Tidboald’s red-blooded view of this passionate work.

His magnificent account of the same ever-popular Capriccio Italien drew the best from the KZN Philharmonic - and a roar of applause from the audience. (William Charlton-Perkins)

Next week’s concert on October 12 is an all-Beethoven programme – see KZNPO banner advert at the top of artSMart pages. (Keep moving to a different discipline if you don’t see it at first.)




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