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Wednesday, September 7, 2011


(Christopher Duigan will perform Liszt’s “Totentanz”)

Pietermaritzburg audiences will once again have the opportunity to experience the magnificence of a full live symphony orchestra when the Pietermaritzburg City Hall is brought to life to host the annual Symphony in the City on September 9. With the renowned acoustics of the City Hall, acknowledged as one of the finest in the country adding to the listening pleasure, this year’s programme features symphonic dance and ballet music with the title Invitation to the Dance.

Presented by Parklane SUPERSPAR in association with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, the musical extravaganza sees this professional 70-piece orchestra conducted by Naum Rousine who is much in demand by the SA Ballet Theatre Company and Cape Town City Ballet. Rousine lectured in the conducting of opera and ballet scores in his native Russia at the Kazan State Conservatory.

The musicians of the orchestra will be featured in a variety of brilliant and highly appealing selections from various ballets scores and dance related pieces.

“The wealth of superb music composed for ballet and dance productions is enormous and is usually sidelined in favour of the standard symphony, overture and concerto presented in orchestral concerts,” says concert organiser Christopher Duigan. “A number of magnificent melodies, gracious rhythms and brilliantly scored soundscapes for orchestra will be featured in this selection from various ballet scores and the broader symphonic repertoire.”

Concert-goers can expect to hear a classic selection including the title piece Weber’s Invitation to the Dance, Ponchiell’s Dance of the Hours, the Skater’s Waltz by Waldteufel, Polovtsian Dances by Borodin along with edgy rhythms from Copland’s Rodeo and the celebrated Sabre Dance by Aram Katchachurian. Selections from Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score for Swan Lake, as heard in the recent film Black Swan, are also featured.

One of the principal works in the programme is Liszt’s Totentanz (Dance of Death) featuring Pietermaritzburg-based pianist Christopher Duigan as the soloist. Hungarian-born Franz Liszt, whose 200th anniversary of his birth in 1811 is celebrated worldwide this year, is acknowledged as one of the most brilliant and influential pianists of all time. His Totentanz combines all his characteristic flamboyant technical display within a substantial and engaging composition, and is acknowledged as one of his powerful works for piano and orchestra.

Symphony in the City: Invitation to the Dance takes place in the Pietermaritzburg City Hall on September 9 at 19h30. Tickets R80 to R160 with discounts for pensioners, scholars and students are available from Dulcé Coffee Shop at Parklane SUPERSPAR on 033 342 3487. Parking is secure and patrolled in the City Hall, Tatham Art Gallery and Bessie Head Library precincts.

NB: The organizers of the concert would like to point out that, contrary to popular assumption, no dancing by performers or audience is included!