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Saturday, June 14, 2014


(Thomas Sanderling)

Thomas Sanderling’s conducting a study in control and concentration. (Review by Michael Green)

The pianist Francois du Toit gave a skilful and artistic account of Robert Schumann’s Concerto in A minor in the latest concert, in the Durban City Hall of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra.

The distinguished German conductor Thomas Sanderling was again on the podium, for a programme of music by Schumann and Brahms.

The audience was rather small, the result no doubt of the load-shedding blackout in many parts of Durban that night. Older people in particular may be reluctant to venture forth into the darkness.

Francois du Toit, a music professor at the University of Cape Town, is a mature, experienced pianist who has been performing in public for about 25 years. He handled the technical difficulties of the Schumann work, which dates from 1845 and is one of the great piano concertos, with absolute confidence, and he brought a fine cantabile tone to the warm, lyrical passages.

Much of this concerto is a dialogue between pianist and orchestra, and the KZNPO were in good form, with conductor Sanderling giving due emphasis to the many subtleties in the score.

The audience showed their appreciation with enthusiastic applause.

The concert opened with Brahms’s Symphony No. 3 in F major, written in 1883 when the composer was 50 years old. It is a lengthy work and it gives all sections of the orchestra an opportunity to show their skills. In particular the horns excelled in the first movement and the woodwind in the second.  Thomas Sanderling’s conducting was a study in control and concentration.

Brahms’s Academic Festival Overture brought the concert to an end, and the audience went home with the rousing strains of the universal student song, Gaudeamus Igitur, let us therefore rejoice, ringing in their ears. - Michael Green