national Arts Festival Banner

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


Austrian group delighted the audience with a programme ranging from the 18th century to the 20th. (Review by Michael Green)

The Capella Concertante are a wind quintet from Austria, established 30 years ago. They have played in many parts of the world, including South Africa, but their recent concert for the Friends of Music, at the Durban Jewish Centre, was their first appearance in Durban.

They delighted the audience with a programme ranging from the 18th century to the 20th.

Capella means “in the manner of the chapel” and refers to unaccompanied vocal music. Presumably the title was adopted here because only wind instruments are involved. For this concert, however, the quintet were reinforced by a string player, and more important, a singer.

The players were: Clemens Umbauer, flute; Magdalena Bauer, oboe; Mathias Kreischer, clarinet; Hubert Ecklbauer, horn; Markus Presenhuber, bassoon; and Anton Neulinger, double bass.

The singer was Johanna Dumfart, soprano, who was a dominant figure in the concert. She is a tall, statuesque young woman who comes from Linz in Austria, and she performed six melodious, dramatic and humorous songs of Austrian origins, from Mozart to Franz Lehar. She displayed a strong, accurate voice and a confident, attractive stage manner.

She added an extra dimension to the five wind instruments, as did, in a more subdued way, the string tones of Anton Neulinger’s double bass.

The wind players were all first-rate, showing their skills in 16 items that covered a wide range of moods and styles, from sources as diverse as Johann Strauss, the Argentinian Astor Piazzolla and the modern Austrian composer Jeno Takacs. The audience gave them a standing ovation at the end.

The prelude performer of the evening, supported by the National Lotteries Commission, was Sabastian Marimuthu, a violinist who shows great promise at the tender age of 11.He was accompanied at the piano by Dana Hadjiev. - Michael Green