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Saturday, March 19, 2022


The cherry on the top of what was an exhilarating and entertaining series of concerts. (Review by Keith Millar)

The fourth and final concert of the KZN Philharmonic Summer Season took place last Thursday with a rousing all Beethoven affair.

The cherry on the top of what was an exhilarating and entertaining series of concerts.

After two years in the Covid wilderness with only a few online concerts and random appearances, our orchestra was back on stage doing what they do best.

And with an inspired choice of music, good-sized audiences and the orchestra on good form, the concerts certainly lifted spirits and let us believe that there may be light at the end of the Covid tunnel.

The only downside was that the concerts were held in the Opera Theatre at the Playhouse – not the best venue acoustically for classical music. And as I found out on Thursday night, the further forward you sit, the worse it is. Our seats were in the sixth row to the left side - almost behind the first violins. Not the best place to enjoy a well-balanced and full acoustic.

One can only hope that whatever the problem with the Durban City Hall is as a venue, can be resolved soon so that we may enjoy our music in a concert hall which is both aesthetically and acoustically appropriate.

Also stored at the City Hall is the KZNPO’s beautiful Steinway piano and that would certainly be a step-up from the Playhouse’s clunky Bösendorfer.

To get back to Thursdays all Beethoven concert, the first item on the programme was his Piano Concerto No. 1, Op15 in C Major.

Ludwig van Beethoven wrote this piano concerto during 1796 and 1797 and it was first performed in 1778 with the composer himself playing the piano. The work was, in fact, his third piano concerto. It was only order of publication that resulted it being designated as the first.

Performing the work was well-respected and experienced Russian Israeli soloist Ilya Friedberg. He gave a bold and beautiful interpretation of the work which included his own excellent cadenza in the third movement.

The other work on the programme was Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, Op 55 in E Flat – the “Eroica”.

Written originally in 1804 to honour Napoleon Bonaparte the composer changed his mind in anger when Napoleon elevated himself to Emperor of France. He renamed the work the Eroica meaning Heroic.

The conductor for this concert was the very popular Daniel Boico. Well loved by both orchestra and audience alike, Boico has the innate ability display his appreciation for the music being played. The orchestra responded brilliantly to him and put in a memorable performance.

A poignant factor about the concert is that it was the swansong with the orchestra for long-serving Principal Cellist Boris Kerimov and his wife violinist Elena Kerimov. This popular couple have served the orchestra very well for many years and they will be missed. We wish them well for their future back in Russia. – Keith Millar


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The orchestra will be performing with Natalie Rungan and Njabulo Nzuza, in Perfectly Fine, an event to wrap up the Human Rights Day long weekend in fine style and a sublime Thai fusion meal from Goo’s at Beachwood Country Club on Human Rights Day, March 21. See the artSMart article at