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Wednesday, May 22, 2013


(Vesko Eshkenazy)

Coming up on Thursday (May 23) from the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra is a programme not to be missed.

Local music lovers will recall the recent unprecedented tour to South Africa by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam. As an encore to that top-tier performance, this symphony season the KZN Philharmonic welcomes the Concertgebouw Orchestra’s concertmaster, Vesko Eshkenazy.

Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, Eshkenazy has distinguished himself worldwide not only as a chamber and orchestra musician, but as a soloist as well. His brother, award-winning conductor Martin Panteleev, has likewise developed worldwide recognition, touring extensively and taking the podium to lead some of the world’s finest orchestras. He is no stranger to South Africa as he has been the principal guest conductor of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra since 2012.

With two distinguished guests hailing from Sofia, Bulgaria, it is only fitting that their home city will be duly honoured with the concert’s opening selection, the Bulgarian rhapsody, Vardar, by Pancho Vladigerov (also born in Sofia.) This unique rhapsody features the unmistakable mixed metre rhythms of Bulgarian folk music brought to life by the brilliant notes spinning from the solo violin. The rhapsody was composed with the utmost attention to detail, with the composer going so far as to indicate the desired timbre and quality of notes from passage to passage. With Eshkenazy as soloist and Panteleev on the podium, there is little doubt that the performance will convey every minute facet.

The second piece on the programme is Felix Mendelssohn’s violin concerto, which is a masterpiece of musical architecture. Mendelssohn composed this violin concerto for his close friend Ferdinand David who, like Mendelssohn, developed from a child prodigy into a mature performer. The result is a concerto perfectly suited to the violin’s temperament in the hands of a true virtuoso.

The final piece on the programme will be Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s orchestral legend Scheherazade. Drawing inspiration from the age-old Tales of the Arabian Nights. Rimsky-Korsakov’s music captures the wonder and mystery of the eastern mythos. Sweeping tutti sections and brilliant solos help to distinguish Rimsky-Korsakov’s orchestration of Scheherazade as one of the finest examples in the repertoire.

The concert takes place on May 23 at 19h30 in the Durban City Hall. Booking is at Computicket. There will be a pre-concert lecture by Michael Green in the Alhambra Room at the Playhouse at 18h15 (admission charge R10).