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Saturday, March 10, 2018


(Max & Alexander Baillie)

Arjan Tien closes The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2018 Summer Season with a dynamic programme of three superbly contrasting masterworks. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s collaboration with the Venetian-born poet, librettist and (defrocked) Catholic priest, Lorenzo Da Ponte, saw the birth of three towering masterpieces: Le nozze di Figaro (1786); Don Giovanni (1787); and Così fan tutte (1790).

The full title of the second of these three operas was inscribed as Il dissoluto punito, ossia il Don Giovanni (The Rake Punished, or Don Giovanni). It depicts a dissolute man who refuses redemption and is ultimately dragged down into the flames of hell. The high melodrama of its overture brilliantly presages the demonic events that follow, including rape, murder and a series of heartless, if aborted, seductions.

In the concert hall, it is a pulse-quickening curtain-raiser before a nuanced work such as Brahms’s last orchestral magnum opus, his Double Concerto for Violin and Cello. The concerto was composed and premièred in 1887 in Cologne, played by the cellist Robert Haussmann, a chamber music colleague, and Brahms’s long-estranged friend, the violinist Joseph Joachim. The work’s introspective, benign characteristics signified the composer’s attitude of reconciliation towards Joachim, after a break in their friendship following Joachim’s divorce from his wife Amalie, with whom Brahms had sympathised in the dispute. A fine showcase for the renowned father and son duo, Max and Alexander Baillie, this work rewards performers and listeners alike, as the subtleties of Brahms’s mature score unfold.

Soloists will be father and son Max and Alexander Baillie (cello and violin).

Sibelius’s Second Symphony marks the end of his early Romantic period. Its genesis can be traced to Sibelius’s trip to Italy in 1901, and some of his sketches from this trip surfaced in its wonderful score. Following its première in 1902 the work underwent several revisions before deservedly achieving the lasting popularity it enjoys today.

The concert takes place on March 15 at 19h30 in the Playhouse Opera. Booking is at Computicket.

There will be a pre-concert lecture conducted by Dr Teddy Pillay at 18h00 in the Playhouse Alhambra Room. Tickets at the door.