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Saturday, November 27, 2021


(Right: Amanda Osorio)

Taking another step in getting back to normality the KZN Philharmonic presented a Special Spring Concert at St Thomas’ Church in Musgrave Road on last night (November25, 2021).

With a reduced orchestra – both the size of the venue and the nature of the works on the programme dictated this – they performed works that are seldom heard in concert.

Included was American composer Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer Of 1915, Op 24 which featured as the soloist the brilliant lyrical soprano Amanda Osorio.

Also on the programme was the Andante Cantabile from Tchaikovsky’s String quartet No.1 in D Major, Op 11 and Stravinsky’s Danses Concertantes.

St Thomas’ Church in Musgrave Road is a bit of a mixed bag as a concert venue. With its high-domed wooden ceiling, it has a very pleasing, well-balanced acoustic. The cellos and basses sounded particularly rich and mellow last night.

But the seating is extremely uncomfortable. Even sitting through a concert of under an hour was torture.

That having been said, the orchestra’s performance was particularly pleasing. Possibly because of the small numbers all the Principal Players of the various sections were present. Their skill and experience showed and under the leadership of Lykele Temmingh they produced a performance of note.

The concert started with the Tchaikovsky. Seeing Tchaikovsky on the programme, some may have expected some fireworks, but this was a beautiful, gentle, and melodic piece of music, with almost a touch of melancholy about it. This, the second movement of the String Quartet, received considerable critical acclaim when it was first performed in 1871 and is said to have left author Leo Tolstoy in tears.

Samuel Barber described his Knoxville: Summer of 1915 as a lyric rhapsody. It is based on a prose poem by James Agee. It is a rich sumptuous work which portrays an idyllic, nostalgic picture of Agee’s native Knoxville in Tennessee.

Soprano Amanda Osorio from Cape Town is a charismatic performer with a lovely voice. Her performance was very pleasant to the ear.

Igor Stravinsky composed his Danses Concertantes in 1942. Although originally written as an abstract ballet for concert performance it has subsequently been choreographed many times.

As mentioned before, the orchestra was on the top of its game and performed this work with aplomb.

All in all, this was a short and sharp concert presented by the KZN Philharmonic but most enjoyable and I for one look forward to more of the same.

My only requests would be for them to give a little more notice of the event, and to possibly find a venue with better seating. – Keith Millar


To link direct to the KZN Philharmonic’s website click on the orchestra’s banner advert on the top of the page or visit