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Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Bravo Chris Duigan, Music Revival, KZNPO and St Agnes’ Anglican Church. (Review by Keith Millar)

The very active St Agnes Anglican Church in Kloof has become somewhat of a community focal point when it comes to the promotion of fine classical music. This is due mostly to the regular concerts presented at the venue by Christopher Duigan’s Music Revival.

It is the success of these concerts which led to Music Revival, with generous assistance from Marriott Income Specialists, bringing the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra to the Church Auditorium last Friday night to perform its first indoor concert in Kloof.

What a very special occasion it turned out to be. The audience of about 700 was enthralled by a assortment of superb popular classical items performed by Africa’s premier orchestra and some very accomplished soloists.

Christopher Duigan is one of South Africa’s leading concert pianists and he treated the audience to a performance of Mozart’s seldom played Rondo for Piano and Orchestra in A Major K 386. This charming work was left incomplete by Mozart and was reconstructed from pages which were discovered in various collections relatively recently. Duigan also showed his keyboard dexterity and skill in a fine performance of the Scherzo from Concerto Symphonique No 4 in D Minor, Op. 102 by Henri Litolff.

Durban born baritone Njabulo Madala performed two of the all-time favourite opera arias in Largo Al Factotum (Figaro) from Rossini’s Barber of Seville, and Votre Toast from Carmen by Georges Bizet. Madala has a big powerful and resonant voice which did credit to this delightful music. In the second half of the programme he was joined by young tenor Wayne Mkhize in a performance of Au Fond Du Temple Saint from The Pearl Fishers also by Bizet. Mkhize was a surprise. He is a diminutive man but has a pleasing rich and strong tenor voice.

One of the highlights of the programme was the performance of Max Buch’s Kol Nidrei by the KZNPO’s principal cellist, Boris Kerimov. This intense and haunting piece was exquisitely played by Kerimov and was enough to bring on the goose bumps.

Orchestral works on the programme included the Overture to Die Fledermaus by Strauss, Borodin’s In The Steppes of Central Asia, Die Moldau by Smetana and Finlandia by Jean Sibelius.

The KZNPO, as one has come to expect, played marvelously on the night. They were conducted by Dennis Walshaw who also provided interesting and witty insights about the composers and the music between the items.

The St Agnes Auditorium is a spacious and comfortable venue. It has a warm and balanced acoustic and worked very well as a concert hall. This concert provided a local audience the ideal opportunity of experiencing the magic and excitement of wonderful orchestra in full flight, in an indoor environment and on their own doorstep.

Bravo Chris Duigan and Music Revival, bravo KZNPO and bravo St Agnes’ Anglican Church.
I, for one, can’t wait for the next performance at this new concert venue. – Keith Millar