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Sunday, October 4, 2009


Classical Notes by William Charlton-Perkins.

A large turn-out braved the cold on Tuesday evening at UKZN’s Howard College Theatre. They were there to hear much loved Durban soprano Bronwen Forbay and her distinguished partners, pianist Christopher Duigan, clarinettist Joanne Rozario and violist David Snaith, perform a generous and rewarding programme of chamber music and songs by Mozart, Spohr, Schubert, Bruch and Strauss.

Forbay, on top form, offered tantalizing glimpses of rare repertoire that only a gifted singer of her sophisticated calibre can deliver with such charm, simplicity and apparent ease. Treated to Strauss singing that was shear manna from heaven, we can only pray the lady’s current professional stint here is a long one, with many more programmes such as this in the offing.

This evening’s concert in the Durban City Hall promises some fascinating musical revelations too, that should enjoy whole-hearted audience support. World renowned Indian flautist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and his ensemble make their much anticipated Durban debut, performing Eastern classical music during the first half of the programme. Their performance marks the final leg of this month’s Shared Indian Experience in South Africa, and also celebrates the birthday of Mahatma Ghandi which is this Friday.

After interval, US conductor Leslie B Dunner and South African virtuoso pianist, Jan Hugo, join the KZNPO for a performance of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No 1 in E flat. To conclude the programme, there is more Liszt, but with a difference. Making musical history, the great Hungarian composer’s climactic orchestral show piece, Les Preludes, will provide the vehicle for a musical collaboration between East and West, as the Pandit and his musicians interface with Dunner and his KZNPO players. Whatever the results, one can only imagine Liszt, one of music’s great improvisers and an inveterate inventor of musical forms, would smile, and give his nod to such an innovative venture. So Durban concert goers are urged to roll up and be part of the experience. Music is a universal language, and we all benefit immeasurably from exploring each other’s cultural heritage.

Next Thursday (October 8) Durban born pianist Jonathan Oshry, now based in London, makes a welcome return home to perform Rachmaninov’s spectacular Piano Concerto No 1. Leslie Dunner will be back on the podium for this all-Russian programme, which also features Liadov’s mesmerizing concert piece, The Enchanted Lake, and Tchaikovsky’s Orchestral Suite No 3. Oshry’s many fans can also hear him in recital with Friends of Music next Tuesday (October 6) at the Jewish Club, performing Schubert’s great B flat Sonata D960 and Chopin’s Four Scherzos.

The KZNPO’s Spring Season concert on October 15 promises to be a prime concert going experience. This features Naum Rousine at the helm, conducting Mendelssohn’s highly popular Scottish Symphony, Khatchaturian’s exciting Violin Concerto (soloist Stanko Mandic) and Enesco’s Rumanian Rhapsody, always a crowd-pleaser with concert goers.

Meanwhile, note that Baroque 2000 with solo cellist Ralitsa Todorava will perform a programme of Vivaldi, Vitali and Albinoni this Sunday at 15h00 at the Mariannhill Church of the Monastery.

Booking for all concerts mentioned is through Computicket on 083 915 8000.

Due to the weather the lunch hour concert by the Durban Military band which was to have taken place earlier in the parking area outside Howard College will now take place on October 14. – William Charlton-Perkins