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Thursday, September 24, 2015


(Liezl-Maret Jacobs)

A pianist who should be heard more often publicly as a soloist. (Review by Michael Green)

A private piano recital by an accomplished performer is a rare event in Durban, one that has vague echoes of great composers of the past playing in the stately homes of their aristocratic patrons.

With amateur players at a different level it is probably not so rare; I have been fortunate enough to have played the piano myself long ago in home performances of chamber music with highly skilled professionals, including the pianist Lara Jones (now living in Germany) and members of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra.

But my modest efforts at the keyboard cannot be compared with the playing of Liezl-Maret Jacobs at a recital she gave to a hundred invited guests at the imposing home in Umhlanga of Dirk and Mari Pretorius.

Liezl-Maret, who is a doctor of music and a teacher, is one of our best pianists, but most of her public appearances have been as an ensemble player, as an accompanist or a member of a trio, quartet or quintet.

This time most of her programme was devoted to the solo piano. Schumann’s Kinderscenen (Scenes from Childhood) brought forth expressive and poetic playing in one of the most delightful compositions in all piano literature. And virtuoso technique was displayed in an etude by Rachmaninov, Liszt’s La Leggierezza (“Lightness”) and a Chopin Nocturne.

Liezl-Maret accompanied the soprano Deirdre Blignaut in songs by Schumann, Richard Strauss and Rachmaninov, and she was joined by two well-known KZNPO players, the husband and wife duo Boris Kerimov (cello) and Elena Kerimova (violin), in a sparkling performance of Mendelssohn’s Trio in D minor, Op. 49.

All of this was much enjoyed by the audience, who socialised afterwards over wine and snacks. A memorable evening which showed that here is a pianist who should be heard more often publicly as a soloist. - Michael Green