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Saturday, April 18, 2015


Totally enjoyable concert. (Review by Michael Green)

The piano trio - piano, violin and cello - is one of the most agreeable forms of music, with a big and varied repertory, but it seems to have been rather neglected in Durban.

Three distinguished local performers did much to redress this situation in the latest concert of the Friends of Music at the Durban Jewish Centre. Called the Group of Three, the three players were Liezl-Maret Jacobs (piano), Boris Kerimov (cello) and Elena Kerimova (violin), the latter two, husband and wife, being members of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra.

The piano trio repertory includes works by Mozart, Brahms, Dvorak, Schubert, Ravel, Schumann and Tchaikovsky. The Group of Three chose three of the best-known examples, by Haydn, Mendelssohn and Beethoven.

They opened with a big work, Beethoven’s four-movement Trio in C minor, Op. 1 No. 3. This trio and its two companions form what is probably the most remarkable Op. 1 written by any composer. They date from 1795, when Beethoven was making his mark in Vienna.

The C minor trio is a reminder that Beethoven was a supreme pianist. Liezl-Maret Jacobs presented the challenging piano part with great skill and aplomb.

All three players delivered the music with a minimum of the extravagant and demonstrative gestures of some other performers. Elena Kerimova produced a lovely sweet violin tone and Boris Kerimov excelled with his deep cello song.

This was followed by No. 39 of Haydn’s 45 piano trios, the one known as “The Gypsy” because its last movement is a rapid and rhythmical rondo labelled “in the Hungarian manner” (although the high point of the trio is surely the middle movement, a beautiful, flowing Adagio).

After the brilliant, rapid final movement the large audience showed their appreciation with prolonged applause.

The first of Mendelssohn’s two piano trios, in D minor, Op 49, is a typically tuneful, polished, urbane work, and the players showed excellent tonal balance and individual skills. Liezl-Maret was again outstanding in the virtuoso piano part.

The Prelude Performers of the evening, supported by the National Lottery Development Trust Foundation, were the Durban Girls’ College String Trio. The players were Rachel Wedderburn-Maxwell (first violin), Tasmin Hastings (second violin) and Janelle Janse van Rensburg (cello), all music pupils of Violeta Osorhean. In a brief programme of pieces by Mozart, Beethoven and the Belgian composer Hector Fiocco (1703-1741) they displayed impressive skills and talents.

This was a totally enjoyable concert, more evidence that we have top-class musicians in Durban. - Michael Green