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Friday, June 10, 2022


Above: Leo Gevisser & Daniel Boico)

Three works, an Overture by Bizet, Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No 5 (The Egyptian) and Symphony No 3 by Brahms made up the programme at the KZNPO's Symphony Concert on Thursday evening.

Although all emanate from the 'Romantic' Era (19th Century) the music was contrasting and, respectively, distinctive in character, providing ample opportunity for challenging orchestral performance.

A number of 'extra' players had to be brought in to assist in providing the necessary full orchestral sonorities, and although it is not ideal to import players (preferable to have a full contingent KZNPO), this augmented orchestra rose to the occasion under the able and dynamic direction of conductor Daniel Boico who coaxed some fine orchestral playing from all sections of the orchestra. They did full justice to the sparkling 'scherzo-like energy' (programme notes!) of the Overture and to the rich and beautiful scoring of the symphony, paying attention to the appropriate tempi and characterisation.

The highlight of the evening, however, was undoubtedly Leo Gevisser's performance of the Saint-Saens Piano Concerto. Technically very challenging for the soloist but allowing for some contemplative and rhapsodic playing, the concerto is a favourite with pianists.

Gevisser's performance demonstrated his complete technique and mature sensitive musicality. His humble respectfulness of the music rather than showy personal display stood out for me, as did his lovely 'singing' piano tone in the mercurial scale runs, powerful chords and delicate soft notes. After a resounding end to the finale, he offered up an exquisite calm, quiet encore ... It was sheer musical delight!

A standing ovation for both concerto and symphony was a good indication that the concert was enjoyed to the full by all. Barbara Trofimczyk

The final concert of the Winter Season will take place in the Playhouse Opera on June 16 at 19h00, conducted by Robert Moody and featuring soloist, Bryan Wallick, on piano. The programme features Mozart’s Così fan tutte Overture; Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 26 in C Major and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, Op. 92 in A Major. Book at Quicket 


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