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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

FOM CONCERT: TOGETHER AGAIN: REVIEW


(James Grace & Christopher Duigan .Pic by Val Adamson)

Grace is a seasoned, international musician with the sort of finesse which comes from being pitted against the world’s best. (Review by Dr Martin Goldstein)

The opening Friends of Music concert of 2020, which took place on Sunday January 26, set the tone for a promising year ahead. It comprised of a collaboration between two iconic musicians, Christopher Duigan (piano) and James Grace (guitar). Duigan has certainly endeared himself to local audiences through his ability to bring tasteful music to a broader audience. Grace has established himself internationally as a performer, recording artist and pedagogue.

The first half of the concert featured Duigan on the piano. He performed the Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin; Les Barricades Mystérieuses (The Mysterious Barricades) by François Couperin; Variationen Zur Gesundung Von Arinushka by Arvo Pärt; Ouro sobre azul by Ernesto Nazareth; Sonata in B-flat major Op. 22: Allegro by Ludwig van Beethoven; Raindrop Prelude from Preludes Op. 28 by Frederic Chopin; Sonata in G by Domenico Scarlatti; Prelude in C-sharp minor by Sergei Rachmaninoff; Nicole Bianche by Ludovico Einaudi and Cristal by Cesar Camargo Mariano. The second half of the concert saw Duigan pair up with Grace, as suggested by the title of this concert. They performed Serenata Española by Joaquin Malats; Spanish Dance No. 5 by Enrique Granados; Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Francisco Tárrega; Black Orpheus by Luiz Bonfá; Milonga by Jorge Cardosa; Fields of Gold by Sting and Spain by Chick Corea.

Given the origins of the guitar as an instrument, the concert had something of a Latin bent to it, as was evidenced in the repertoire selected by both musicians.

Duigan’s opening number, the Joplin, was a great hit with the audience and seemed to reassure them that the concert was not going to be drab. He allowed the essential notes of the melody to predominate without excessive attention to detail.

He provided an interesting introduction to the Couperin which he brought to life in his rendition of it. One could almost sense the fluttering eyelashes which he explained might be the “mysterious barricades” of a coquettish lady.

Similarly, in the Pärt, he provided some background to the story which inspired the work and created this atmosphere in his performance of the work.

It is clear that Duigan enjoys the Latin genre. This was clear in his performance of the Nazareth. One almost senses that this is the idiom with which he is most comfortable. His right-hand had a nice legerrio touch and he coped well with the tricky cross-rhythms between the hands. There was also a pleasing contrast of dynamics.

In the Beethoven, his true talent came to the fore. He demonstrated his incredible agility and accuracy, particularly in his octave work. The performance conveyed the bustling optimism which he identified in Beethoven’s music in his introduction to the work.

In the Chopin, his right-hand was surreal and sung above with a semi-detached touch. In this work, he also demonstrated his great physical strength.

In the Scarlatti, he displayed a suitably light touch.

This same softness of touch was also evident in the Rachmaninoff, particularly in the right-hand.

This same cultivated tone quality also manifested in the Einaudi.

In the Mariano, as with the other Latin works, one sensed that this was his idiom. He displayed good independence of the hands.

In the piano-guitar collaboration, which comprised the second half of the concert, one sensed that Grace is a seasoned, international musician with the sort of finesse which comes from being pitted against the world’s best.

In the Malats, he displayed a small but highly intricate sound. In the Granados, he created a more introspective mood. In the Bonfá, both the piano and guitar assumed melodic and accompanying roles. The mood was reflective and there were some beautiful chords in the guitar along with a melody which rung out. In the Cardosa, the guitar demonstrated robust harmonies and chords and this was complemented by the piano’s perfection of tone.

The Sting was the highlight of the concert. It was a number to which everybody could relate and which elicited a feel-good response.

The Prelude Performer, Nathan Govender (piano), provided a pleasing start to the concert. He performed Film Noir by Michael Cornick; Oscar’s Bogaloo by Charles Beale; I’m Beginning to See the Light by James, Ellington, Hodges, George and That Monday Morning Feeling by Roland Perrin. Govender’s level-headed and unassuming manner endeared himself to the audience. He displayed a sensitive, responsive touch and a natural feel for the jazz idiom. In the Cornick, he maintained a good meter and demonstrated both strength and control. One felt that he was fully a part of the music and displayed good positive playing. In the Beale, there was careful attention to melody and the meter was ever-present. In the James, Ellington, Hodges, George, he demonstrated his ability to vary the dynamics and he coped well with the cross-rhythms between the hands. In the Perrin, he revealed his flexibility as a performer, playing in a more laid-back fashion. One felt that throughout, he clearly enjoyed the music and was focused on the underlying goal of bringing across a strong pulse together with stylized gestures of sound.  – Dr Martin Goldstein


Monday, January 27, 2020

DANCING ON ICE 2020 FOR ITV CHOICE


(Right: Holly Willough & Phillip Schofield)

The greatest show on ice is back hosted by Phillip Schofield and Holly Willough. The series will be carried by ITV Choice (DStv Channel 123), start on February 7, at 20h00

Dancing on Ice 2020 judges include Jayne Torvill, Christopher Dean, Ashley Banjo and John Barrowman.

Twelve celebrity skaters will be taking to the ice in a blaze of glory, as each week they go head to head in a bid to become champions of the ice. And this year promises to be more talked about than ever with the series' first same sex dance couple and first blind contestant taking part.

GRANTCHESTER FOR ITV CHOICE


(Robson Green & Tom Brittney)

ITV Choice (DStv Channel 123) will screen the next episode of Grantchester on Monday, February 3, 2020, at 20h00.

Set in 1953 in Cambridgeshire, Grantchester focuses on the unlikely friendship between clergyman, Will Davenport (Tom Brittney) and Detective Inspector Geordie Keating (Robson Green).

When a student from a prestigious all-female college is found dead, Will and Geordie must infiltrate the murky world of campus politics and university societies to find the killer. Navigating strange initiations, raucous parties - and with investigative journalist, Ellie Harding, hot on their heels - they’ll need to use every advantage to unravel this mystery.

LEONARD COHEN AT GRAND EXOTIC


(Right: Dave Starke)

Rhumbelow Theatre in association with The Grand Exotic will present Leonard Cohen - A Tribute by Dave Starke on Sunday February 2, 2020.

Performed by Dave Starke with text researched and written by Perran Hahndiek, the show offers an exploration of the life and works of the late Leonard Cohen. It features his music and poetry interspersed with anecdotes from his life and other works.

Audiences can expect early hits such as Suzanne and So long Maryanne, the haunting Famous Blue Raincoat and Who By Fire?, lighter works such as Tower of Song as well as pieces from his final album You Want It Darker? which was released just before his death.

The show will take place on February 2, at 14h00. (No under 14s) Venue opens 90 minutes before show for finger snacks and drinks.

Tickets R375 pp (Centre) and R350 (restricted view because of pillars). Tables seat 8 at this venue. Tickets include savoury platters and pudding.

Bar available (no alcohol or food may be brought on to the premises). Car guard on duty. Booking is essential through Computicket or e-mail Roland on 082 499 8636, e-mail: roland@stansell.co.za or visit http://events.durbantheatre.com

The Grand Exotic is situated at Sheffield Beach Road, Sheffield Beach.

AN IRISH PARTY WITH DAVE MONKS


(Right: Dave Monks)

Dave Monks presents an evening which is jam-packed with nostalgia and features the most popular sing-a-long and clap-along Irish songs of all time.

An Irish Party with Dave Monks will be presented at the Northlands Bowling Club in association with The Rhumbelow Theatre on Saturday (February 1, 2020).

The Irish vocalist and multi-instrumentalist will present an evening jam-packed with nostalgia and features the most popular sing-a-long and clap-along Irish songs of all time.

His proven repertoire of esteemed Irish classics mixed with a touch of the Blarney in his treasury of tales and humour, are always sure to get the audience’s hands clapping. The folky feel of the music is accentuated by his mastery of the fiddle, banjo, guitar, harmonica, tin whistle and vocals.

Of course, no Irish show would be complete without the good old faithfuls like Danny Boy, Galway Bay, Whiskey in the Jar, Paddy McGinty’s Goat, Delaney’s Donkey to name a few but An Irish Party introduces patrons to a whole new generation of Irish favourites plus a couple of brand new Irish songs composed by Monks.

Monks has performed in almost every corner of South Africa as well as Ireland, England, South Korea, USA, Portugal, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, and Abu Dhabi.

The show takes place at 20h00 and is suitable for all ages. Remember to wear something green! (Venue opens 90 minutes before show for picnic dinner)

Tickets R160 (R140 pensioners/R130 Northlands Bowling Club Members). Contact Roland for large group booking discounts – 20 or more. Bring food picnic baskets. Bar available (no alcohol may be brought on to the premises). There is limited secure parking available with car guards on duty. Booking is essential through Computicket or e-mail Roland on 082 499 8636, e-mail: roland@stansell.co.za or visit http://events.durbantheatre.com

Northlands Bowling Club is situated at 50 Margaret Maytom Avenue, Durban North

The show takes place in association with The Rhumbelow Theatre at the Northlands Bowling Club, 50 Margaret Maytom Avenue, Durban North, at 20h00 on

“An Irish Party” will have a performance in Pietermaritzburg at the Allan Wilson Shellhole on February 23, 2020, at 14h00.