Orchestra in top form and performed with aplomb, skill and exhilaration. (Review by Keith Millar)
The concert presented by the Durban City Orchestra at the Marianhill Monastery Church last Sunday (October 9) was a very classy affair. Of course, the lovely old church lends itself to an event such as a classical music concert. The sanctuary, with its wealth of aged timber, archetypal statues and friezes, and stained glass windows provided a most dramatic backdrop for the orchestra.
The orchestra members themselves, dressed all in black, and with the gentlemen’s bright red ties offering a splash of colour, completed the rather resplendent and elegant scene.
Best of all is that the concert was not only a visually glamorous, but the orchestra, led by conductor Russell Scott, was in top form and performed with aplomb, skill and exhilaration.
Starting the proceedings was Italian opera composer, Giuseppe Verdi’s, grandiose overture to La Forza Del Destino. After a nervous start the orchestra soon got into its stride and provided a fine rendition of this intense and dramatic work.
Carl Maria von Weber was a German composer, conductor, pianist and guitarist, and one of the most significant composers of the Romantic school. His 1st Clarinet Concerto in F Minor ranks among one of the most important works for the solo clarinet. It is a deeply serious, expressive and energetic work which makes the most of all the complexities the instrument can offer.
The soloist for this work, Brett Alborough, is no stranger to Durban audiences. His talent and skill has been recognised since his teenage years, and these attributes certainly came to the fore in his inspired and exciting interpretation of the piece.
Alborough is now an educator in the music department at Kearsney College and there is little doubt that the pupils of this school will benefit greatly from their contact with this fine musician.
The main work at the concert was Antonín Leopold Dvořák Symphony No 8 in G Major Op88. This exuberant and powerful composition makes much use of simple folk-like melodies, with a Czech character. It is regarded by many as the greatest of Dvořák’s nine symphonies. It contains passages of drama, exhilaration, happiness and nostalgia and has often been described as “sunny”.
The Durban City Orchestra made the most of this magnificent work and put in a rousing and entertaining performance.
This DCO deservedly attracted a large audience to this concert. The support is no more than they deserve, considering the work ethic and dedication that must be exercised for an “amateur” orchestra to achieve the level of skill they displayed at this concert.
Durban is truly musically blessed to be the home of not only the KZNPO but the excellent DCO as well. – Keith Millar