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Wednesday, April 20, 2016


(Elena Kerimova, Liezl-Maret Jacobs & Boris Kerimov)

A splendid and eloquent performance. (Review by Michael Green)

Three highly accomplished Durban musicians presented a programme of top-class music in the latest concert of the Friends of Music in the Durban Jewish Centre.

The players were Boris Kerimov, cello, Elena Kerimova, violin, and Liezl-Maret Jacobs, piano. They have often performed here before, and they used to give themselves the rather ordinary title Group of Three. This has now been changed to the rather chilly Siberian Trio, this because the Kerimovs, husband and wife, come from Novosibirsk, in Siberia.

This city, the third largest in Russia, is, however, in the mild southern part of Siberia, far from the icy wastes of the north, and certainly there is nothing cold about the playing of this trio.

Boris and Elena Kerimov have been members of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra for the past 17 years. Liezl Jacobs is well known as a soloist, chamber music player and teacher.

Boris and Liezl opened the programme with Robert Schumann’s Three Fantasy Pieces, Op. 73, attractive and distinctive music that is not very often played in public.

They followed with the second of Brahms’s two cello sonatas, that in F major, Op. 99. This work, which dates from 1886, is rather dense in structure but there is plenty of romantic melody and the piano part is powerful, brilliant and difficult. Both players produced an excellent interpretation of music that was probably unfamiliar to most members of the audience.

The high point of the evening was Beethoven’s Archduke Trio, one of the crown jewels of chamber music. This trio (Op. 97) was written in 1811 and dedicated to Archduke Rudolph, younger brother of the emperor of Austria. The archduke gave Beethoven financial assistance and had a few piano lessons from him. His generosity was rewarded with a dedication that has preserved his name in history.

Elena Kerimova joined the other two players for this performance and made her own significant contribution in the lovely role allocated to the violin. The melodies in this Archduke Trio are noble and unforgettable, and Beethoven gives equal status to all three players.

A splendid and eloquent performance was acknowledged with prolonged applause at the end, and the players gave an encore, Aram Khachaturian’s Sabre Dance.

The prelude performer of the evening, supported by the National Lotteries Commission, was Sornia Kanfer, a 13-year-old soprano from Kuswag School in Amanzimtoti. She sang, unaccompanied, three lengthy songs by popular composers. She obviously has a voice of good quality and high promise, but her use of a microphone produced deafening results. I think microphones should be banned when young singers are displaying their talents. - Michael Green