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Monday, November 12, 2018


(Conductor: Yasuo Shinozaki)

Mendelssohn’s rarely heard Fair Melusina Overture makes a refreshing curtain-raiser as the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra welcomes the return of Japanese conductor Yasuo Shinozaki to the podium for the third concert of the current World Symphony Series Spring Season.

Mendelssohn wrote this music as a birthday gift for his sister Fanny. Loosely illustrative of aspects of the legend of Melusine, a water nymph who marries Count Raymond on the condition that he never enters her room on a Saturday (on which day she takes on the form of a mermaid), this concert overture was first performed in London by the Philharmonic Society Orchestra, conducted by Ignaz Moscheles under the title Melusine, or The Mermaid and the Knight. The performance was received politely but not enthusiastically. Mendelssohn subsequently revised the piece and it was published in the revised form in 1836.

(Robert Pickup, clarinet)

The serenity of Samuel Barber’s hypnotically beautiful Adagio for Strings, perhaps the 20th century American composer’s most iconic creation, offers an interlude of quiet before South African-born virtuoso Robert Pickup, Principal Clarinettist of the Philharmonia Zurich Orchestra, takes the spotlight as the evening’s soloist in one of the repertoire’s most thrilling showpieces - Carl Maria von Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in f minor. Perhaps the most operatic of all Weber’s works for solo instrument and orchestra, the work, like its siblings, the Concertino Op. 26 and the E Flat Concerto Op. 74, was written for Weber’s clarinet muse, Heinrich Bärmann, prince of early 19th century clarinettists, renowned for his exceptional technique and beautiful sound. Small wonder the piece is beloved of clarinet virtuosi and their admirers to this day.

The programme climaxes with another inspired work: Robert Schumann’s Spring Symphony, the German romantic composer’s first symphonic composition written in 1841 as an utterance of the overflowing love he felt for his newly-wed spouse, the renowned concert pianist Clara Wieck.

Book is through Computicket (0861 915 8000). For more information contact the KZNPO on or +27 (031) 369 9438

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