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Wednesday, February 5, 2014


(Michael Jones)
Specialist in the music of Bach presents outstanding performance for Friends of Music. (Review by Michael Green)
An evening of unaccompanied cello music, just the lone player on stage, sounds a trifle forbidding, but a large audience greatly enjoyed a recital by the British cellist Michael Jones for the Friends of Music at the Durban Jewish Centre.
Michael Jones is an internationally known specialist in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, and the first half of his Durban programme consisted of about a dozen pieces from Bach’s six suites for unaccompanied cello.
The artist’s mastery of his instrument was clear from the first broad notes, and he proceeded to give a remarkable demonstration of Bach’s many-sided genius. This ceaselessly inventive music covers a wide range of emotions, from happiness to sorrow, and in general it sounds amazingly modern for music that was written 300 years ago.
The performance was outstanding, with Michael Jones handling the technical difficulties with aplomb and giving full rein to Bach’s ability to make one cello sound like two or three.
The Bach was followed by French and Spanish music from the 20th century, the main piece being a fantasy by Joaquin Rodrigo (1901-1999), the Spanish composer who was blind from the age of three and wrote his music in Braille.
This brilliant and difficult piece for solo cello, written in 1979, was consistently attractive, especially parts that were reminiscent of the composer’s most famous work, the Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar and orchestra.
Pleasantly informal and humorous comments by Michael Jones added to the audience’s appreciation of a highly successful recital.
The evening’s Prelude Performers, a project initially made possible by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, were sisters Leah Mari (12) and Ella Mari (14), who are pupils at Eden College. They presented three songs in a popular style, rather unusual for concerts of this kind. - Michael Green