Classical Notes: 23 Oct 2014
British conductor Jeremy Silver conducts the KZN Philharmonic in a performance of Saint-Saëns’ splendid Organ Symphony in Pietermaritzburg on October 31
A reminder that there are several key events in the offing on our live music front. Not least is the KZN Philharmonic’s final concert of its Spring Season this evening at 7.30pm, when massed choirs, soloists and orchestra are set to raise the rafters of the Durban City Hall in a rousing rendition of Carl Orff’s magnum opus, Carmina Burana.
On Sunday (October 26), Baroque 2000 team up with six soloists of the Odeion Choir of Bloemfontein for a rare performance of Buxtehude's lyrical and expressive Membra Jesu Nostri at the Church of the Monastery, Mariannhill. The concert, which starts at 3pm, will be directed by Lance Phillip, who also takes one of the tenor parts. Buxtehude, who was revered by JS Bach, cast this work in the form of seven Cantatas on the subject of the Crucifixion. Tickets are R120 at the door and there is ample free and safe parking. Enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Michel Schneuwly on 082 303 5241.
Tuesday October 28 sees the engaging musical siblings, violinist Avigail and pianist Amiel Bushakevitz, performing a bumper programme of music by Respighi, Saint-Saëns, Vieuxtemps, Mozart, Ben-Haim, Kreisler and Schubert for Friends of Music at the Jewish Centre, KE Masinga Road. Booking for this programme, which starts at 7.30pm, is through Computicket and safe parking is available.
Also on Tuesday (October 28), Music Revival presents pianist Christopher Duigan in recital at St Agnes Church, Kloof at 7.30pm. Included in his programme is 'Harmonies du Soir' by Liszt, Chopin’s Scherzo No 2 op 31 and music by Russian composers Sergei Rachmaninoff and Alexander Scriabin. Central in the programme is Ludwig van Beethoven's Sonata Opus 57 'Appasionata'. Tickets at R100 include refreshments. Booking is essential via email@example.com or call 031 764 2037.
Moving inland, Parklane Superspar presents ‘Symphony in the City: Organ Symphony’ in the Pietermaritzburg City Hall on Friday October 31 at 7.30pm. This big-league event is built around Saint-Saëns’ magnificent Symphony No 3. Commonly known as the ‘Organ Symphony’, this is one of a few symphonic works that combines a full symphony orchestra with organ.
Speaking on this much anticipated event principal sponsor Cameron Mackenzie of Parklane Superspar said: "We have been inundated with requests from the concert-going public to feature the organ in the concerts we present at the City Hall. The organ, built in 1901, is reputedly one of the largest of its type in the world, the largest in the southern hemisphere and according to my research, the largest the renowned organ builders Brindlay and Foster ever built.”
Mackenzie went on to say: “ We should be proud of our city assets and heritage. We invite all from KZN and surrounding regions to come and hear the magnificence of the Pietermaritzburg organ together with the vast instrumental forces of the orchestra." His invitation is particularly pertinent to Durban concert-goers as the KZN Philharmonic has not played this music in the Durban City Hall for many years despite staging their weekly symphony concerts there. Durban’s City Hall organ remains, shamefully, out of action and nothing more than a mere scenic backdrop against which the orchestra performs.
Also featured in the Pietermaritzburg concert are American violin soloist Joanna Frankel in Maurice Ravel's Tzigane and Barcelona-based saxophonist David Salleras in three pieces by contemporary Argentine 'nuevo-tango' composer Astor Piazzolla. Christopher Duigan will join him at the piano. Maritzburg-born organist Christopher Cockburn, who has a long association with the City Hall organ, will be the soloist in the Symphony. Jeremy Silver, London- based conductor who thrilled audiences locally in 'Vienna Nights' earlier this year, will be on the podium.
Tickets for the ‘Symphony in the City: Organ Symphony’ are available from Parklane Superspar Coffee Shop Tel. 033 342 3487. Tickets are R120 to R180 for adults with discount for pensioners and scholars/students. As always refreshments are included. Secure patrolled parking is provided in the City Hall precinct, Bessie Head Library and Tatham Art Gallery.
Finally a note that Rotary Club of Westville presents a fund-raising evening in aid of Headway Natal, by way of Grand Musical Soiree with Christopher Duigan and David Salleras . This take place at UKZN’s Howard College Theatre on Saturday November 1, starting at 7.30pm.
The pair promise an entertaining mix of music from the concert hall, tango dance floor and world music stages. Expect an enticing programme featuring music influences from Spain, Greece and South America, as well as the musicians’ own original material. Headway-Natal is a non-profit organization specializing in the rehabilitation and support for acquired brain injured survivors as well as stroke victims and their families.
Tickets at R120 (including wine and snacks at interval) can be booked through Ian Vowles on 031 266 2709 (mornings only) or Steve Phaup on 083 799 7744.