national Arts Festival Banner

Friday, March 4, 2022


(Soloist Boris Kerimov & Maestro Bernhard Gueller)

Swansong with the orchestra for Boris Kerimov who produced an accomplished and quite memorable performance of Schumann’s unconventional Cello Concerto OP. 129 in A Minor. He and his wife Elena leave the orchestra at the end of the month to return to Russia for family reasons. (Review by Keith Millar)

It goes without saying that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a substantial musical genius of the classical period. Despite his short life - he died at just 35 – he composed more than 800 works in virtually every genre of his time.

It also goes without saying that much of his music can be described as sublime. In fact, when I googled the word “sublime” the dictionary referred to Mozart’s music as a description of the word.

And in my humble opinion near the top of the pile must be his Serenade No. 13 in G Major for Strings, K. 525 – popularly known as Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.

The KZN Philharmonic strings under the leadership of Maestro Bernhard Gueller produced a passionate and intense rendition of this wonderful music.

What a way to start a concert - it almost did not matter what was to follow.

However, what followed was very special in its own right. Something of a bittersweet occurrence.

The bitter side is that his appearance as soloist for Robert Schumann’s Cello Concerto, OP. 129 in A Minor was something of a swansong with the orchestra for Boris Kerimov. Along with his violinist wife Elena, he will be leaving the orchestra at the end of the month to return to Russia for family reasons.

Kerimov has been the Principal Cellist with the orchestra since 1999. A popular and urbane character, Kerimov will be missed not only for his musicality but also for his affable demeanour.

The sweet side of occurrence is that Kerimov produced an accomplished and quite memorable performance of this unconventional work. Schumann originally called the work a Concert Piece as opposed to a Concerto.

The piece was written during a two-week burst of inspiration Schubert experienced in October 1850. Though the work is quite technically demanding, unlike many concertos of the era, it prizes poetic expression above virtuoso display.

Completing the concert was more Mozart. His Symphony No. 39, K 543 in E - Flat Major. This bright and noble masterwork was played with aplomb by the orchestra – featuring no less than 15 extra players this week.

Schumann omitted oboes from this work with the clarinets and a single flute playing an important role. Oscar Kitten and Kirsten Sayers on Clarinet and particularly Sabine Baird on flute were most impressive.

Conductor Bernhard Gueller, who has now completed his current visit to Durban, has impressed. Not given to histrionics on the podium he has led the orchestra, which could be regarded as makeshift at best, with a neat and precise style. He has certainly got the best out of them.

There will be Tea and Symphony concerts for the final rehearsal every Thursday morning at 10h00 in the Playhouse Opera. Tickets R50

Complimentary tea and coffee will be served prior to evening concerts and during interval. There is safer parking at the Royal Hotel.

Season and individual tickets for the KZN Philharmonic’s World Symphony Series 2022 Summer Season are available through Quicket.

For more information click on the KZNPO advert at the top right of this page or visit, email or call 031-369 9438 (office hours). – Keith Millar


(The next two concerts of the season take place on Thursdays March 10 and 17 at this new earlier time.)