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Tuesday, December 8, 2020


Scoular displayed informed phrasing which was not sullied by Romanticism. She displayed an unsulliable technique and disposition. (Review by Dr Martin Goldstein)

The South African Society of Music Teachers (SSMT) concert, “Rising Stars”, which took place on December 6, 2020, in association with Friends of Music, was a fitting tribute to both the music teachers in KwaZulu-Natal and their talented students. The concert showed that, notwithstanding the challenging circumstances of this past year, the quality of music produced in our province continues to rise.

Aron Ramiah (piano) performed Sonata in D minor K10/L370 by D Scarlatti and Sechs Leichte Variationen WoO77 by Beethoven. In the Scarlatti, he had a nice light touch in both hands and a genuine appreciation of the Baroque idiom. In the Beethoven, he showed that he understood the sentiment which Beethoven was trying to convey through this piece. He had a good understanding of the phrasing and was unfettered by the technical challenges of the arpeggio passages. He showed a genuine love of the music.

Daniel Sardinha (voice), accompanied by Bobby Mills, performed Ave Maria by Bach/Gounod and You’ll be Back from Hamilton by Miranda. In the Ave Maria, he had a warm middle range and a sensitive interpretation which was well supported by Mills’ responsive accompaniment. One sensed that he had a genuine belief in the words. In the Miranda, there was good diction. He displayed strength and confidence and a convincing delivery of the words and sentiment.

Savannah Scoular (recorder), accompanied by Heidi Paul, performed Sonata Prima by Castello and Pastorale ad libitum and Allegro by Vivaldi. In The Castello, there was a lovely pure sound. Her playing flowed naturally and she coped well with the difficult ornamental figures. She never lost control and displayed the proficiency of a much older player. In the phrasing, she remained true to the Baroque idiom. In the Vivaldi, Scoular displayed informed phrasing which was not sullied by Romanticism. She displayed an unsulliable technique and disposition.

Niwedita Bhatta (piano) performed the First Movement from the Sonata in G minor by Haydn, the Serenata no. 4 from Espana by Albeniz and Minstrels from Preludes Book 1 by Debussy. In the Haydn, she displayed careful attention to the nuances of articulation. She saw the large-scale plan of the thematic material. In the Albeniz, she demonstrated the ability to adapt to a starkly different genre and the piece was a courageous choice. She displayed lovely luxuriant playing at the end. In the Debussy, she showed that she was well-suited to this genre and her interpretation was convincing. Her musicality was conveyed through an appreciation of the harmonic trajectory.

Lydia Weber (clarinet), accompanied by Andrew Warburton performed Solo de Concours by Messager. She displayed mature confidence and good volume. She made the technical execution seem easy with natural agility. Warburton provided a solid accompaniment on the piano. The music shaped itself and did not need to be forced. She had a bird’s eye view of the overall idea and allowed the music to breathe.

Lance Leslie-Smith (trombone), accompanied by Andrew Warburton, performed Konzert number 1 by Lebedjew. He had an understanding that superseded the music. He displayed a warmth of tone and produced a healthy sound. He allowed us to appreciate the regality of the trombone. Warburton provided a sympathetic accompaniment on the piano.

Nathan Govender (jazz piano) performed That Monday Morning Feeling by Perrin, Oleo by Rollins arr. Peskett and So Long by Batchelor. In the Perrin, he had a nice lilt. He had a mellow tone in the right-hand and a good drive in the left-hand. In the Rollins, his right-hand flowed and conveyed musicality through decisive phrasing. In the Batchelor, there was a lazy jazzy feel and a pleasing tone in the right-hand devoid of the harshness so often found in this sort of music. The double-thirds were well-executed. A proficient pianist.

Bradley Bester (voice), accompanied by Bobby Mills, performed Maria from West Side Story by Bernstein & Sondheim, She by Aznavour & Kretzmer and You Raise Me Up by Løvland & Graham. In Maria, he demonstrated that he was at home on the stage. His strength lay in the ability to convey meaning sincerely. In She, his talent shone through in this number. He demonstrated vocal agility and the ability to traverse various harmonic regions. In You Raise Me Up, he produced a rich tone and displayed genuine conviction in his singing.

Alida Esterhuizen (piano) performed the First Movement from Sonata in E flat Major by Haydn and Danzas Argentinas No. 3 by Ginastera. In the Haydn, her strength lay in the chords. She had a carefully controlled tone. She had delicate agility and displayed strength in the fast passages. She had a sculpted dynamic range and innate musicality. She had a very polished touch but was not afraid to be aggressive when needed. Her chordal passages in sixths flowed. In the Ginastera, she demonstrated that she was at ease with the modern idiom. She had great strength as a pianist.

Lasandra Majola (voice), performed I Have Nothing by Foster & Thompson and I Will Always Love You by Dolly Parton. In I Have Nothing, she demonstrated that she is a natural performer with the ability to live out the music. She is also technically secure, displaying good intonation and phrasing. In I Will Always Love You, her rhythmic impulse was on the mark. Her strength came from an inner understanding. – Dr Martin Goldstein