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Sunday, July 12, 2015


(Tim Moloi)

(Reviews from the artSMart team currently in Grahamstown at the 2015 National Arts Festival)

A most enjoyable concert. (Review by Keith Millar)

The KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra was billed as being in residence at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. However, there is a lot more than meets the eye to a tag such as this.

Look at this, for example. The orchestra members had to get up very early last Saturday morning to get to Durban’s King Shaka airport from where they flew to Port Elizabeth. They were then bussed to Grahamstown for a quick check-in at their accommodation before going straight into rehearsals for their Symphony Concert which took place at 19h00 that evening. In the circumstances, the sheer quality of their performance at this concert speaks volumes for their skill and talent.

On Sunday morning they had rehearsals for their Gala Concert which was performed at 15h00 in the afternoon. The Chamber Ensemble then had to give a recital at the Rhodes Chapel at 19h00.

Monday morning saw rehearsals again before two performances of their light music programme, The Heart of the Matter with the Best of Friends, at 14h00 and 19h30. In between, several of them were involved in the Children’s Concert at 17h00 at the Monument Theatre.

With a workload such as that, it is to their enormous credit that they were able to keep smiling and make wonderful music together throughout their residency at the festival.

The final concert involving the full orchestra was the light music programme The Heart of the Matter with the Best of Friends.The orchestral light music concert has become a staple at the festival and is very popular with festival goers. This year, the featured composer was Lorenz Hart along with others of that era.

Richard Cock conducts this concert and also keeps the audience entertained with his witty patter between musical items. The soloists were Tim Moloi (tenor), Este Meerkotter (soprano) and the ever-present Nicholas Nicolaidis (tenor).

The music performed included: Fly Me to the Moon, S’wonderful S’marvelous, My Funny Valentine, A Whole New World, Unforgettable, I Love Paris in the Springtime, The Lady is a Tramp, Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered, My Way and Mac the Knife.

Orchestral works were Salute to Ol’ Blue Eyes, a rousing 76 Trombones and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Memory.

This was a most enjoyable concert. All the singers acquitted themselves well and the orchestra was in excellent swing music mode. The audience showed their appreciation with enthusiastic cheers and applause throughout. – Keith Millar

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