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Friday, September 8, 2017


(The Fidelio Trio: Mary Dullea, Adi Tal & Darragh Morgan)

An all-Beethoven concert. What more could lovers of classical music ask for? (Review by Keith Millar)

An all-Beethoven concert. What more could lovers of classical music ask for?

Which is why it was a bit of a surprise that only a moderate crowd turned up for this concert given by the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra at the Durban City Hall last night.

What those who did attend were treated to, was a dazzling performance by a superlative orchestra which was under the leadership on the night of the ebullient Israeli-born conductor Daniel Boico.

Boico is a regular visitor to our shores and he works very well with the KZNPO. This was particularly the case last night where together they extracted every nuance and subtlety from the music and ensured that Beethoven was delivered with all the drama, passion and gorgeousness one hopes for from the works of the master.

Topping the bill for this concert was the Fidelio Trio playing Beethoven’s Concert for Violin, Violincello and Piano in C major, Op 56.

Leader of the viirtuosic Fidelio Trio is violinist Darragh Morgan who was the Concertmaster of the KZNPO in 2004 as well as Director of Durban’s Baroque 2000 ensemble. The pianist is his wife Mary Dullea and the cellist is Israeli, Adi Tal.

This highly-acclaimed trio put in a sensitive and skilful performance of this rather thoughtful and profound work from a composer better-known for the power and drama of his compositions. It was a rather unusual experience hearing three soloists rather than the more customary one.

My only quibble is that Tal did not generate very much volume from her cello and at times it was difficult to hear what she was playing.

The concert opened with Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, Op 62 in c minor. This is one of Beethoven’s more popular and frequently played works.

The overture was not written for Shakespeare’s play Coriolanus as is often assumed, but rather composed for Heinrich von Collin’s lesser known play Corilan. It is about a banished Roman General, Coriolanus, who leads an army to overthrow Rome. His bid is unsuccessful and he loses his life in the process.

It is a vibrant and graphic work which the orchestra delivered with considerable style.

Completing the programme for the evening was Beethoven’s Symphony No.2 in D major, Op 36. It is an inspiring work, full of grandeur, the love of life, splendour and energy.

It is in complete contrast to Beethoven’s private circumstances at the time he composed the work. He was facing considerable personal and financial worries, as well as the early onset of deafness. He was, in fact, on the verge of suicide.

That he wrote such a vibrant work rather than write a lament over his misfortune is a huge testimony to the love and dedication he felt for his art. – Keith Millar