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Monday, May 30, 2011


With world-renowned conductor Thomas Sanderling on the podium, the KZN Philharmonic’s third concert in the current World Symphony Season Series is a study in contrasts. Titled Music Sacred and Profane, the programme opens with the expansive world of one of Wagner’s earliest successful operas, Tannhäuser, followed by the intimate imagery of late Schumann and the final symphonic essay of Prokofiev, Symphony No. 7 in C-sharp Minor, Op. 131.

Wagner finished the first version of Tannhäuser in 1844, and the overture nicely encapsulates the main themes of the opera. In it is heard the pious chorale of the pilgrims’ chorus juxtaposed with the orgiastic revelries of the court of Venus. Ultimately, Tannhäuser finds redemption in the triumph of the sacred over the profane—but Wagner still manages to have fun along the way. Cellist Nicolas Altstaedt, a champion of new music, will turn back the clock to present Robert Schumann’s extraordinary cello concerto. Written in the short space of a few weeks, Schumann penned a beautiful final tribute to an instrument he adored.

The programme ends with Prokofiev’s last symphony, and one of his best. Originally commissioned for broadcast on a children’s radio programme, Prokofiev’s music marries his characteristic directness with a depth of expression that serves as a fitting symphonic swan song for such an iconic composer. The KZN Philharmonic is pleased to have back at the helm for this compelling concert.

The concert takes place on June 2 at 19h30 in the Durban City Hall and is preceded by a lecture presented in association with Friends of Music in the Royal Hotel at 18h15. Booking is at Computicket.