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Wednesday, August 13, 2014


(Cobus du Toit & Patrick Sutton)

 Excellent performance from accomplished players and engaging personalities. (Review by Michael Green)

An evening of music for flute and a guitar is distinctly unusual, and so is a programme that features composers such as Takemitsu, Puglo and Beaser, names that are unfamiliar to most concert-goers.

Nevertheless a reasonable-sized audience turned up at the Durban Jewish Centre for a Friends of Music concert given by Cobus du Toit, flute, and Patrick Sutton, guitar.

They are both accomplished players and engaging personalities, and their programme was not nearly as forbidding as it might have sounded from the advance announcement.

These two young performers, who are on a month-long tour of South Africa, both live in Boulder, Colorado, a city of about 300,000 inhabitants at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

Cobus du Toit, a South African, is a graduate of the 140-year-old University of Colorado, in Boulder. He has played the flute in South Africa, Japan, Europe and the United States, and he is the principal flute of the Boulder Chamber Orchestra.

Patrick Sutton was born in Colorado and is at present studying for a doctorate in music at the University of Colorado.

As for the composers, Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996) was a distinguished Japanese musician (his work has been heard in Durban before), Maximo Diego Pujol is a guitarist who was born in Argentina in 1957, and Robert Beaser was born in Boston, U.S.A., in 1954.

The programme was on more familiar ground with the inclusion of works by Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992), the tango king of Argentina.

His set of four pieces called Histoire du Tango opened the concert and it presented an interesting contrast in the tones of the two instruments, the flute dominant, with the more penetrating sound, the guitar producing rhythm and harmony in the background. The playing was excellent.

Then came three interesting pieces by Takemitsu called Toward the Sea. One of them, Moby Dick, derives its title from Herman Melville’s novel and is a kind of sailing music.

We returned to Argentina with two eloquent, slightly melancholy pieces by Pujol,  and then five pieces by Robert Beaser, Mountain Songs, took us to the Appalachians, an area that is rich in American musical folklore.

The Prelude Performers of the evening, supported by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, were two oboe players, Nina Alborough and Nompilo Mathe. With Maggie Deppe at the piano they gave a confident and skilful account of a three-movement oboe duet by the Italian baroque composer Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751). - Michael Green