national Arts Festival Banner

Wednesday, September 4, 2019


(Daniel Boico)

The next concert in the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra’s Early Spring Season takes place tomorrow (September 5) in the Durban City Hall.  

The conductor will be Daniel Boico with soloist Gary Hoffman (cello) in a programme that includes Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol, Op 34; Fauré’s The Élégie, Op 24, Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op 33 and his Symphony No 2, Op 17 in c minor.

Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol, composed in 1887, was originally conceived for solo violin with orchestra but was later scored as a purely orchestral work so as best to offset its abundance of lively melodies. Literally described as a “Capriccio on Spanish Themes”, the five-movement work stands as a flamboyant concert curtain-raiser, here serving as a superb introduction to Fauré’s enticing Élégie, the first of two successive works featuring soloist Gary Hoffman.

(Gary Hoffman)

Written in c minor, this work displays sad and sombre opening climaxes with a tempestuous central section before returning to its elegiac opening theme. Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme was the closest he ever came to writing a fully-fledged cello concerto. Reflecting his adoration for Mozart, Tchaikovsky wrote this engaging piece in the classical mould, with the help of the German cellist, Wilhelm Fitzenhagen, who gave its première in Moscow in 1877 with Nikolai Rubinstein conducting.

Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 2 in c minor, composed in 1872, is one of his most joyful compositions. Successful right from its première, it won the favour of the group of nationalistic Russian composers known as “The Five”, led by Mily Balakirev. Because Tchaikovsky used three Ukrainian folk songs to great effect in this work, it was nicknamed the “Little Russian” by Nikolay Kashkin, a friend of the composer as well as a well-known musical critic of Moscow, as the Ukraine was at that time frequently called “Little Russia”.

Despite its initial success, Tchaikovsky felt the need to revise the work extensively in 1879-80, substantially rewriting the opening movement and shortening the finale. This revision is the version of the symphony usually performed today, although there have also been supporters of the original version. Among those advocates was the composer’s friend and former student, Sergei Taneyev, who was himself a noted composer and pedagogue.

The concert takes place at 19h30 in the Durban City Hall. Booking is at Computicket or at the door.

(To link direct to the KZN Philharmonic’s website click on the orchestra’s banner advert on the top of the page or visit