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Wednesday, November 16, 2016


(Christoph Seybold & Liezl-Maret Jacobs)

High quality programme from two top performers. (Review by Michael Green)

A high quality programme and two top performers ensured that the latest concert for the Friends of Music, at the Durban Jewish Centre, was a successful and enjoyable occasion.

The players were the internationally-known German violinist Christoph Seybold, who lives in Stuttgart, and the accomplished and versatile Durban pianist Liezl-Maret Jacobs. The programme: Beethoven, Mozart and Richard Strauss.

Beethoven’s ten sonatas for violin and piano are a treasure chest of great music, but they seem to have been rather neglected in Durban concerts in recent years. It was therefore a particular pleasure to hear an excellent performance by Seybold and Jacobs of the first of these works, Op. 12 No. 1, which dates from 1798.

This sonata is quite unlike anything that had been written before. It is bold, lyrical, spirited (and difficult), and it bears Beethoven’s special imprint, a good example being the tonal balance of the two instruments in the slow movement.

The performance was first-rate. These two players are quite calm and undemonstrative, but they delivered the music with zest and panache. And of course they did so as equal partners; the piano part is much more than a mere accompaniment to the violin.

Mozart wrote about 35 sonatas for violin and piano, and he was represented here by No. 24 in F major, K. 376. Much of this music is fast and brilliant, and here again the performers showed great skills and empathy, with Seybold producing a lovely singing tone in the quieter passages.

Finally we moved on about a hundred years to late romantic music by Richard Strauss, his Violin Sonata in E flat major, Op. 18, written in 1887 when Strauss was 23 years old. This is most attractive music, melodious, harmonically rich, with virtuoso parts for both instruments.

The audience greatly enjoyed another fine performance, and showed their appreciation with prolonged applause.

The prelude performer of the evening, supported by the National Lotteries Commission, was Kialan Pillay, a 15-year-old pupil at Eden High School. He played piano music by Mozart, Chopin and Grieg. - Michael Green