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Monday, April 4, 2011


Enterprising project of the KZNPO. (Review by Michael Green)

The occasional Sunday Sinfonia concerts in St Thomas’s Church, Musgrave Road, Berea, are among the many enterprising projects of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra.

Relatively small groups of players from the orchestra perform what is on the whole relatively unfamiliar music. The concerts start at 11h30 and they are even better than a gin and tonic before lunch (as they finish at 12h30 there is actually time for the g and t as well).

The most recent Sinfonia concert presented works by Antonin Dvorak and Igor Stravinksy and also presented for the first time several young players who are “cadets” with the orchestra, learning the trade, so to speak.

The Dvorak Wind Serenade in D minor was, however, played by the experienced professionals. This is a delightful work, composed in 1878. The title is a slight misnomer because it is scored for two oboes, three horns, two clarinets, two bassoons, one contrabassoon – and two stringed instruments, a cello and a double bass, the latter parts added by Dvorak to the original score for further effect.

The music is splendid. There are four movements. The first is baroque in style, rather stately and rather humorous. The third is a beautiful Andante, and the final movement is vigorous and energetic.

The orchestra’s assistant conductor, Lykele Temmingh, guided the 12 players with meticulous care and their playing filled the solemn precinct of St Thomas’s with lovely sounds. The audience of about a hundred people rewarded them with prolonged applause at the end.

Stravinsky’s Danses Concertantes, composed in 1942 as a concert piece and later choreographed by George Balanchine, completed the programme. It is written for a chamber orchestra of about 25 players, and on this occasion these included nine of the orchestra’s cadets. It is typical Stravinsky, strongly rhythmical with snatches of melody and brilliant use of the instruments involved.

Lykele Temmingh extracted from his players an exciting and convincing performance. As a conductor he seems to thrive in the intimate atmosphere of a concert like this, and his spoken comments to the audience were brief and to the point.

The concert was a great success, and it was heart-warming to see and hear young people playing Stravinsky’s sophisticated music with obvious enjoyment and enthusiasm. - Michael Green