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Friday, September 13, 2019


(Reuben Mbonambi; Joshua Louis; Cameron Williams; Stephanie Lawrenson; Clara Lubbe and Daniel Brodie. Front row: Naledi Dweba; Molly Dzangare; Lykele Temmingh – Resident Conductor KZNPO, Bongani Tembe – CEO & Artistic Director KZNPO, and Chris Njapha)

Lubbe played with great freedom, shaping the phrases at her whim, almost toying with them. (Review by Dr Martin Goldstein)

The final concert of the KZNPO’s early spring season on September 12, 2019, showcased an astounding range of high-quality music jam-packed into a single evening. The concert consisted of the National Youth Concerto Festival and demonstrated the calibre of young musicians in South Africa.

The programme included the Concerto for 2 Violoncellos, RV 531 in g minor (1720) by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741); Dove sone from Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492 (1786) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791); Tableaux de Provence, Mvt. 4 & 5 (1948-1955) by Paule Maurice (1910-1967); Sholem-alekhem, Rov Friedman! (2004) Arranged by: Matthais Ambrosius by Béla Kovács (1937-); Sinfonia Concertante, K. 364 (320d) in E-flat Major (1779) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791); A te l’estremo addio…Il lacerato spirito from Simon Boccanegra (1857) by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901); the Clarinet Concerto No. 2, J. 118, Op. 74 in E-flat Major: Mvt. 3 (1811) by Carl Maria Von Weber (1786-1826) and the Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 10 in D-flat Major (1912) by Sergey Prokofiev (1891-1953).

The Vivaldi showcased the remarkable talent of two young, up and coming cellists, Sicelo Christopher Njapha and Sunday Kelechi Nwuko. The KZNPO’s acclaimed resident conductor, Lykele Temmingh, set a good pulse for the performance from the outset and the orchestra grasped the “darkness” of the genre. There was a notable freshness to the cello pair and a perfectly coordinated interplay between the two with well-timed entrances and endings and sympathetic cooperation with the harpsichord. The performance conveyed a sense of drama and excitement with well-executed tremolos in the cellos. They conveyed a good sense of style bringing out the quasi-Romantic sentiment of the lyrical passages in Vivaldi’s music.

Mozart’s Dove sono was performed gracefully and with a purposeful pace. The accomplished soprano, Molly Dzangare, did not force herself over the orchestra and there was a perfect sense of co-operation between the woodwind and the soloist. Temmingh was not overbearing in his conducting style.

The Maurice conjured up the sense of a movie set in the opening and the overall feel was dreamlike and fantastical with an enticing sense of the unknown. The highly talented alto saxophonist, Clara Lubbe, produced a magnificent tone and shaped the phrases masterfully. The work itself conveyed a sense of latent sadness. Lubbe played with great freedom, shaping the phrases at her whim, almost toying with them. This was certainly the highlight of the concert.

The Kovács was performed by the highly confident and polished clarinettist, Cameron Williams. The mood of the work was pensive and prayer-like. Cameron conveyed this with his purposeful phrases, creating a wonderful sense of suspense. He elicited a huge palette of sound effects, alternating between pensiveness and jovial ebullience.

Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante conveyed, in the beginning, the bustling sounds of the city. The sentiment of the work was one of a subdued sense of happiness coupled with the sense of nobility attributed to Mozart’s compositional style. The violist, Stéphanie Nathalie Lawrenson, produced a lovely round sound and the violinist, Joshua Louis, conveyed a tasteful sense of Romanticism. In the cadenza, the viola and violin became one.

The mood of the Verdi was ominous and foreboding. Temmingh displayed masterful coordination of the overall sound. The brass produced lovely, rich diminished chords which created a dramatic sense of suspense and an almost funeral-like ambience. The work, overall, conveyed an inner sadness and plaintiveness or longing.

In the Von Weber, the clarinettist, Antonia Naledi Dweba, played with jovial confidence. His playing was very stable and he seemed completely at ease, calmly shaping each phrase stylistically with effortlessly flowing scales.

The Prokoviev was wonderfully grandiose and the highly accomplished pianist, Daniel Brodie, displayed an impressive facility in his wrists and agility in his fingers, producing a bell-like resonance and reverberation in the piano. His playing can be described as glinting with masterful reconciliation of the underlying layers and a marked degree of dynamism. – Dr Martin Goldstein

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