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

TIDBOALD AND BIRAN TRIUMPH (article first published : 2000-10-17)

Things are looking up at Durban's City Hall these Thursday evenings. The KZN Philharmonic’s Spring Season seems to be attracting larger audiences than in the recent past - and more significantly, there’s vigour and excitement in the air.

Last Thursday’s all-Beethoven event saw David Tidboald in fine form, launching his programme with an account of the Fidelio Overture that transported us from the concert stage into the theatre. This was a richly dramatic account of the work which would have given any performance of the opera it serves a hurtling head-start.

The 22-year old Israeli pianist Dror Biran took the spotlight for Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto and left no doubt as his future. This is a front-rank virtuoso to the manner born, with everything it takes to reach the top of his field in the international arena. Hopefully some astute talent scout will snatch him up for a major recording contract and he’ll be away. Meanwhile, he’s clearly set to ride the waves up the concert circuit. His pent-up energy seemed barely contained as he dispatched the soloist’s opening roulade-like figures as a spring uncoiled just in time.

The ease he brought to his rapid scale work was exhilarating, the sonority of his fortissimo passages deeply imposing. But there was abundant finesse and tenderness in his interpretation that lifted it into a higher realm, tempering the fire to keep the performance within the bounds of decorum of this early 19th century masterpiece.

Given his youth, he was fortunate in being able to collaborate with a partner such as Tidlboald. The latter’s rock-solid technique and supportive savvy were fully at his soloist’s service while drawing from the orchestra playing of equal commitment. As always with Beethoven, Tidboald showed a special level of passion and a freshness of response that is truly remarkable. Under his baton, Biran’s and the orchestra’s account of this Herculean piece had the audience riveted to their seats, erupting at its close in a response more typical of a rock audience than convention-bound concert goers.

The performance of the Seventh Symphony was as persuasive, both lithe and tautly reined, Tidboald keeping a forward momentum that banished any dread of this so-familiar piece’s more didactic passages over-staying their welcome.

The buzz about the house, during interval and afterwards, said it all.

The next concert in the season takes place on October 19 in the City Hall at 19h30 and features the ever-popular National Youth Concerto Festival. Book at Computicket or phone (031) 369-9444. (See the KZNPO banner advert on artSMart for full season details – keep clicking Refresh until it appears)




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