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Friday, September 23, 2016


(Christopher Duigan performing in the Hilton College Chapel. Pic by Jonathan Burton)

Concert sufficiently exciting and well performed to warm the cold and wet festival atmosphere and leave the audience well satisfied. (Review by Keith Millar)

Popular concert pianist Christopher Duigan’s Music Revival has become an integral part of the Hilton Arts Festival, presenting a wide variety of classical music concerts over the years.

The Music Revival series this year included six concerts, four of which were Beethoven themed.

I was fortunate enough to attend the concert entitled Beethoven ll, which featured Duigan performing the composer’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor. In true Duigan style, the concert was a little different in that the piano was not supported by a full orchestra, but by a group of string players from the KZNPO.

It is believed that Beethoven would have reduced, or chamber, versions of his piano concertos for when he wanted to try them out, or to perform them at small venues. While the arrangement on show at this concert was not by Beethoven himself, it certainly gave a different perspective to this dramatic and intense work.

As a warm-up, the musicians performed the first movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto in C major K415. In Mozart’s case, he did publish a chamber version of his works and it was this that was performed.

Christopher Duigan was his usual confident and imperious self at the piano and displayed considerable virtuosity while performing both works. He was ably supported by the KZNPO string group. With the extremely cold weather experienced at Hilton this year, it was of great credit to the musicians that they were able to generate as much energy and dexterity as they did.

As is usual at Music Revival concerts, Duigan delivered his interesting and anecdotal introductions to the music about to be performed. These are always very instructive and much enjoyed by the audience.

The Hilton College Chapel is the traditional venue for the classical music concerts at the Festival. This attractive stone building with beautiful stained glass windows has a high vaulted ceiling and is an acoustically pleasing venue for serious music concerts. It unfortunately has narrow side-on pews, which are not too comfortable - and the cold weather did not help the situation this year. However, the concert was sufficiently exciting and well performed to warm the atmosphere and leave the audience well satisfied. – Keith Millar

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