national Arts Festival Banner

Saturday, November 2, 2019


(Avigail Bushakevitz)

Bushakevitz’s strongest features were the use of long full bows and the extreme purity of the sound she produced. (Review by Dr Martin Goldstein)

The opening concert of the KZNPO’s Spring Season on October 31, 2019, paid homage to a composer who was nipped up in the “spring of his life”, at a young age but at the height of his compositional prowess. His music is imbued throughout with the optimism of early spring and for these reasons, it seems apt that opening concert of the spring season focused on his works. The orchestra played three works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), namely his Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, K. 525 (1787), the Violin Concerto No. 5, K. 219 in A Major, “Turkish” (1775) and the Symphony No. 39, K. 543 in E-flat Major (1788).

Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik provides a textbook example of the principles of sonata form and is the embodiment of perfection in this genre, espousing the ideals of a symmetric phrase structure and the economic use of thematic material.

In their performance of the work, the orchestra appreciated the aesthetic importance of the rests in the music. This was achieved through an informed sense of poise in their playing. They captured the ebullience in this work whilst at the same time respecting the delicate nature of Mozart’s phrases. As has been noted before, the KZNPO always excels in the slow movements. This was certainly the case in the Romanze – Andante, in which they displayed some very refined playing and paid great attention to the shaping the phrases tastefully. Overall, the music flowed nicely but the orchestra knew how to pull back at the right moments. In the Menuelto – Allegreto, the orchestra’s full sound came to the fore. They had clearly left themselves room for dynamic development by holding back in the preceding movements. In the Rondo – Allegro, the orchestra displayed its agility and played with much finesse.

The Violin Concerto earns its nickname the “Turkish” form the Turkish-style episode in the minuet finale.

The orchestra’s performance of the work featured the internationally acclaimed soloist, Avigail Bushakevitz, who grew up in South Africa. She played in an unrushed and elegant fashion. Her strongest features were the use of long full bows and the extreme purity of the sound she produced. She played in sympathy with the orchestra, listening to them carefully. She displayed a good palette of contrasting sounds ranging from “dark” to “shy” to “silky”. In the cadenza of the Allegro aperto, she really shone. In the Adagio, her trills were crystal clear and there was an informed sense of poise. She was able to carry full bows loaded with sound and maintained this vitality in her bowing throughout. In the Rondeau: Tempo di Menuelto, she displayed considerable joviality and a good spiccato technique. At the same time, she also demonstrated her ability to play with a porcelain-like delicateness, particularly in the semi-quaver figures, and focused throughout on clarity and purity of sound.

The symphony features a long, sharply dissonant introduction. The work as a whole employs marked chromaticism and an adventurous exploration of harmonic relationships between keys.

In the orchestra’s performance of the work, the Adagio was imbued with a panache coupled with a beguiling Storm und Drang. The Allegro in this movement had a nice lilt. Throughout, there was an ever-present optimism in the orchestra’s playing evidenced in a healthy tempo. Overall, the orchestra displayed excellent, positive playing. – Dr Martin Goldstein

The next three concerts of the KZNPO Spring Season take place in the Durban City Hall on Thursdays (November 7, 14 and 21, 2019) at 19h30. 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