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Wednesday, June 9, 2021


Temmingh’s enthusiastic body language did much to infuse a sense of joy and passion into the orchestra’s playing. (Review by Dr Martin Goldstein)

The most recent Friends of Music Concert, which took place on June 6, 2021, featured the Durban City Orchestra.

This is one of the longest-running orchestras in South Africa and performs at community events in and around KwaZulu-Natal. Its members, who number about 30, comprise active and retired music teachers, university music students and part-time musicians from a range of other professions who play for the love of music.

The Resident Conductor, Lykele Temmingh, is a professional musician and has done much to cultivate a spirit of enthusiasm in the orchestra’s members. The orchestra performed Entry of the Gladiators: March of Triumph by Julius Fučík; Gold and Silver by Franz Lehar; Gabriel’s Oboe by Ennio Morricone; Emperor Waltz by Johann Straus; Hungarian Dance No. 1 by Johannes Brahms; March of the Two Left Feet by Leroy Anderson; Piano Concerto No. 21 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Wine, Women and Song by Johann Strauss; Blue Tango by Leroy Anderson and Hungarian Dance No. 6 by Johannes Brahms.

Before the orchestra’s performance of each work, Temmingh provided an entertaining and informative introduction. He also acknowledged the significant role played by the Durban Jewish Centre as a concert venue over several decades and its significant contribution to the furthering of orchestral music. He noted that what makes an amateur musician special is the fact that he is playing for the love of music and thus his playing is imbued with a unique passion.

In Entry of the Gladiators: March of Triumph, there was a positive tempo, a full sound and nice full bows in the upper strings. The brass displayed much agility. 

In Gold and Silver, there was good articulation in the upper strings and a light touch. The woodwinds produced an appropriately chirpy sound. The upper strings displayed agility in the scale passages and the lower strings were unobtrusive. There was feeling and care in the playing. The middle section of the piece had panache and the brass played with much merriment. There was an effective ensemble of the instruments. Overall, there was notable pride and enjoyment in the orchestra’s playing and a good volume was achieved at the end.

In Gabriel’s Oboe, Temmingh mentioned in his introduction how the music comes from the film The Mission. The oboe soloist was Nina Alborough. She had good intonation and an unaffected tempo. She produced a true sound and was in sync with the orchestra. She was comfortable but not ostentatious. This sentiment was carried by the strings.

In Emperor Waltz, there was a catchy tempo and the orchestra was happily engrossed in the music. There was a lovely solo by the Principal Cello. The brass contributed much and provided a solid melody.

In Hungarian Dance No 1, there was much gusto and passion. The flutes were in their element and the clarinets were in sync. There was good intonation in the upper strings who played with full bows.

In March of the Two Left Feet, there was a solid start in the brass, which provided a strong melody. This manifested in the woodwinds too. The off-beat meter conjured up the feeling of “two left feet”. The flautists displayed technical facility in their arpeggios.

In Piano Concerto No. 21, the oboe held the sound together with a mature intonation. The strings and the flute provided a clear melody. The Piano Soloist, Dylan Arslanian, had a sound left hand and a sensitive right hand. He produced an effective legato and his trills were sound. He is a true musician with a sympathetic approach to accompanying. The interplay between the oboe and the flute was beautiful. The brass played a supportive role.

In Wine, Women and Song, the strings came to the fore in this work. The brass also contributed much, bringing out the melody. The flute was lovely.

In Blue Tango, a pair of dancers, suitably attired in period costume, danced the tango, which was a lovely surprise. The rhythm in this number was on the mark with the drums providing a calm and steady beat. 

In Hungarian Dance No 6, there was a good, full sound and a compelling rhythm. The brass stood out and there was great enthusiasm in the lower strings. Also, there was good double-stopping in the upper strings along with a sound bow technique. The strings displayed a degree of grace in their playing. The meter was idiomatically appropriate and the ensemble came together well.

For their encore, the orchestra performed Hungarian Dance No 5. Temmingh’s enthusiastic body language did much to infuse a sense of joy and passion into the orchestra’s playing and one sensed that he had established a good rapport with the orchestra. The gusto of the orchestra’s performance was a fitting close to a passionate concert. – Dr Martin Goldstein

For more information on Friends of Music contact Keith Millar on 071 505 1021 or visit