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Monday, September 19, 2016


(Conductor Richard Cock)

KZN Philharmonic’s performance of the fabulous music was most exhilarating and enjoyable. (Review by Keith Millar)

The celebrated KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra was a most welcome participant in the activities at the Hilton Arts Festival this year. They performed two concerts under the baton of the ebullient Richard Cock. A children’s concert was held in the Hilton College Chapel where the orchestra performed Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf or, as Cock calls it, Pieter and the Horrible Hyena.

The other KZNPO concert took place in the well-appointed Hilton College Theatre and was entitled Frank Sinatra and Friends.

I don’t usually enjoy orchestral light music concerts. I feel that if one goes to the trouble of getting an orchestra together then let them play some substantial classical music or, at very least, light classics. However, the music played at this concert was so engaging and Richard Cock so entertaining that it proved to be a very enjoyable experience.

Singing the Frank Sinatra standards included in the show was Johannesburg performer Nicholas Nicolaidis. Nicolaidis has a light lyric tenor voice and while he does not sound much like Sinatra, he does a nice job translating the music. Among the songs he performed were Fly Me to The Moon (which, according to Richard Cock, was sung on the moon by Buzz Aldren), I’ve Got You Under My Skin, Night and Day, Unforgettable, My Way and, as an encore, New York, New York.

The orchestral works on the programme were all played with effortless ease by the accomplished KZN Philharmonic. Their performance of the fabulous music was most exhilarating and enjoyable. Many of the tunes were arranged by South African arrangers and included Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Jazz Legato, Moon River, The Golden Years and Jazz Pizzicato.

The inimitable Richard Cock was as entertaining as ever. He is amiable, amusing and informative and the audience loved him.

The only problem I had was that the speakers in this theatre are rather far forward from the stage. That, and too much echo on the voice, led to a rather odd balance between singer and orchestra. That aside, the concert was perfect festival fare and was thoroughly enjoyed by the full house audience who gave an extended standing ovation at the end. – Keith Millar

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