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Sunday, November 10, 2019


(Matilda Lloyd)

Matilda Lloyd soared above the orchestra with regal splendour. (Review by Dr Martin Goldstein)

The second concert of the KZNPO’s Spring Season on November 7, 2019, celebrated 25 years of democracy in South Africa. It comprised of a carefully selected programme which showcased the rich multicultural heritage celebrated in our country.

The acclaimed conductor Daniel Boico conducted with a sympathetic touch. He was actively involved in sculpting the sound production. He knew how to elicit the right sound without being too flashy in his movements. At the same time, he clearly inspired the orchestra and imparted his sense of excitement.

The orchestra played Overture to Thina sizwe (2006) by Mokale Koapeng (1963-); Partita Africana (1999-2006) by Hendrik Hofmeyr (1957-); Trumpet Concerto, Hob. VIIe: 1 in E-flat Major (1796) by Joseph Haydn (1732-1809); “And the Glory of the Lord” from The Messiah (1741) by George Frideric Handel (1685-1759); Uz’ungangilahli Jehova (Do not abandon me, Lord) by Newman Sibisi (1946-); Nkosi Sihawukele (Kyrie Eleison) and Mvana kaNkulunkulu (Agnus Dei) from Zulu Mass in B-flat by Qinisela Sibisi (1963-); Ruri’, ruri’, ketso tsa Rabohle by Michael Mosoeu Moerane (1904-1980); “Sing the Lord Ye Voices All” from The Creation (1797-1798) by Joseph Haydn (1732-1809); “Blessed are the men who fear Him” and “Thanks be to God” from Elijah (1846) by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847).  

 (Daniel Boico)

In the Koapeng, the orchestra displayed a coherent interplay of the themes between the various sections of the orchestra which required good timing.

In the Hofmeyr, the orchestra demonstrated the ability to play from very different genres. They succeeded in making sense of a dense thematic texture with stark juxtapositions of contrasting moods. The Click Song, made famous by Miriam Makeba, was integrated into the work at the end. The choice of this work for the programme was a fitting way to celebrate the cultural diversity inherent in our democracy.

Haydn’s much-beloved Trumpet Concerto in E-flat major was composed for the “keyed” trumpet invented by Anton Weidinger (1766-1852), an Austrian trumpeter. The keyed trumpet was a forerunner to our modern valved trumpet. 

In the orchestra’s performance of the work, the internationally-acclaimed British trumpeter, Matilda Lloyd, soared above the orchestra with regal splendour. She had a nice sense of timbre and a light touch. Her ethereal sound was underscored by very finely articulated running scales and arpeggios, which were masterfully executed. In the cadenza of the first movement, Allegro, she never faltered in her attention to technical perfection. In the Andante, the strings captured the rustic feel and the purity of the trumpeter’s sound came to the fore. Her playing throughout was characterized by great neatness – almost a motherliness - in her doting attention to detail. Overall, Lloyd demonstrated a good dynamic and articulatory palette.

Handel’s “And the Glory of the Lord” from The Messiah (1741) is noted as one of the high points in any performance of the oratorio. Certainly, it was one of the highlights of this concert. The Durban Symphonic Choir gave an awe-inspiring rendition of it. The tempo was well chosen and there was good coordination of the thematic entries.

Do not abandon me, Lord by Newman Sibisi (1946-) is endowed with luscious, rich chords. The stretti were well-executed by the orchestra and the choir exuded much power. The soloists had a refined, cultivated sound.

In the Kyrie Eleison from Zulu Mass in B-flat by Qinisela Sibisi (1963-), the soloists showed dignified restraint. There was an incredible impulse in the choir, which carried well in the modulatory passages. In the Agnus Dei, there was pastoral tranquility and a gentle flow.

In the Moerane, the percussion on the off-beat was well-executed. The harmonies conjured up a Victorian opulence.

It is said that Haydn’s experience of hearing Handel’s oratorios in Westminster Abbey was the chief stimulus for his composition of The Creation. One can certainly hear the Baroque influence in this work and the technical challenges are no less daunting. Much to their credit, the choir managed the challenging fugato passages well. This entailed tricky rhythmic coordination of a complex polyphonic texture. The Soprano, Khayakazi Madlala, is to be complimented on her considerable skill and proficiency. Also, the Boy-Soprano, Joshua Littleton, sung with unique and ethereal beauty. The choir produced an astounding volume in the powerful, homophonic passages and this was certainly a fitting close to a most inspiring programme. – Dr Martin Goldstein

The next two concerts of the Spring Symphony Season take place on November 14 and 21, 2019, at 19h30 in the Durban City Hall. Booking is at Computicket. To link direct to the KZN Philharmonic’s website click on the orchestra’s banner advert on the top of the page or visit