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Friday, June 14, 2019


(Sodi Braide)
(Apologies: This review was originally attributed to A-J Bethke by mistake. Bethke's review to follow)

Braide’s finest feature was his ability to convey the deep meaning inherent in Mozart’s strategically-placed rest passages. (Review by Martin Goldstein)

The KZNPO concert on June 13, 2019 featured a pleasing programme comprised three fairly well-known and much-loved works. These were Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Overture to Idomeneo, K. 366, also his Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K. 488 and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1 in g minor, Op. 13, Winter Daydreams.

Mozart’s Idomeneo was born out of a troubled time in the composer’s life subsequent to his protracted tours in 1777-1779 at the age of 21. During this period, he fell prey to the charms of Aloysia Weber, his mother passed away and he failed to secure a post. He was still finding himself both emotionally and in terms of his compositional skill. While some have connected the sense of pathos in the opera to these circumstances, the overture itself is imbued more with a sense of anxiety than of pathos.

Indeed, in their performance, the KZNPO started out with the sort of confidence which the young Mozart had to muster up in composing this, one of his earlier operas. The tempo was upbeat and each subgroup in the orchestra was aware of its role in the overall narrative. The woodwinds once again, as with the other concerts in this series, really shone. This is imperative considering Mozart’s predilection for this class of instruments in his ensemble writing.

The piano concerto belongs to the class of Mozart’s more mature works and is earmarked as one of the most jarring juxtapositions of childlike ebullience against deep tragedy. The iconic slow movement is a cornerstone of the concert repertoire and bridges the gap between our corporeal concerns and the otherworldly in an eerie sense. The pianist, Sodi Braide, played without a trace of pretence and was completely at home in every sense – with the orchestra, the genre and with his own sense of pianistic proficiency. A notably slow tempo was selected for the performance as a whole and at times, the size of the orchestra overpowered the piano.

Bradie displayed an impressive legato technique in conjunction with considerable agility. His finest feature was his ability to convey the deep meaning inherent in Mozart’s strategically-placed rest passages. For his encore, Braide played Bach’s Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring. The tone in his playing is so well-cultivated that he made the piano sound like a whole choir with the individual voices clearly discernible.

While much fuss is made about how Tchaikovsky only found his footing as a composer of symphonies with his last symphony and how his writing up until that point was an ongoing war between his Slavic spontaneity and the Germanic ideals of form, his first symphony is surprisingly mature in its economic use of thematic material and its imaginative orchestration.

The orchestra certainly did justice to this work in their performance, maintaining a feeling of suspense throughout with a well-judged tempo. The second movement showcased the tone quality which the KZNPO is known for generating in the slower movements and the soulful melancholy of the oboe stood as one of the nicest features of the concert. – Martin Goldstein

The fourth and final concert of the season takes place next week, Thursday June 20, 2019, at 19h30 in the Durban City Hall. To link direct to the KZN Philharmonic’s website click on the orchestra’s banner advert on the top of the page or visit