Classical Notes: Winter classics bonanza

A wealth of chamber, choral and orchestral music is on offer for KZN concert-goers

 

Pianist Christopher Duigan appears in recital in KZN venues this week pic by Val Admason

 

Pianist Christopher Duigan turns his hand to a programme titled 20 Wonderful Piano Solos, this month. Duigan will introduce items that may be seen as popular, but are no less varied and appealing. The selection include Bach's 'Goldberg Aria', Liszt's 'Un sosprio',  'The Lark' by Balakierev, ' Automne' by Cecile Chaminade, music from the four corners  of the earth, from film scores and a few technical and musical misfits.

 

Performances of 20 Wonderful Piano Solos will take place as follows: Thursday  24 May at 7:00 pm at Grace Hall Ashton International College,  Albertina Way, Ballito  (opp. Ballito Hospital); Tuesday 29 May at 7:30 pm at St Agnes Church, Kloof; Friday & Saturday 1 & 2 June  at 18h00 for 18h30 in the Tasting Room at Highgate Wine Estate Cellar, Piggly Wiggly Country Village, 1 Dargle Rid, Lions River ,  at Highgate Wine Estate, 1 Dargle Road in the Midlands, on Saturday 2 June at 6.30pm; and on Sunday 3 June at 11:30 am  at the Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg. Booking is preferred: booking@musicrevival.co.za or music revival 083 417 4473 (sms or WhatsApp only).

Chag Sameath chamber group perform for Friends of Music on Tuesday 29 May

 

Friends of Music’s next recital on Tuesday 29 May features a collaboration of four leading musicians from the KZNPO in a balanced and very entertaining programme centred around Mozart and Beethoven for flute quartet and string trio. Artists appearing in the recital are: flautist Sabine Baird, violinist Petia Koleva, violist David Snaith, cellist Margurite Spiess. The programme opens with Beethoven’s Serenade in D, opus 8 for violin, viola and cello. This will be followed by: Haydn’s "Sunrise" Quartet in B flat for Flute, Violin, Viola and Cello; the Handel/Halvorsen Passacaglia in G minor for Violin and viola; and Mozart’s Quartet in D KV 285 Flute, Violin, Viola and Cello.  Starting at 7.30pm, this event will be held as usual at the Durban Jewish Centre, 44 KE Masinga Road. Tickets are available at the door and ample secure parking is provided.

 

The Durban Chamber Choir (DCC) is set to perform a programme of English choral repertoire drawn from the 16th and 20th centuries, enticingly grouped under the title, Bittersweet. This can be heard in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 27 May, and in Durban on Sunday 3 June.

 

Innovatively curated by the Choir’s Director, Dr Christopher Cockburn, the upcoming programme will feature music capturing a wide spectrum of emotions and mind-sets, ranging from lighthearted love songs to darker-tinged pieces reflecting a more sombre mood. Works to be heard will include those by early music masters such as Thomas Tallis (1505 – 1585), Thomas Morley (1557 – 1602) and John Wilbye (1576 – 1638), alongside pieces by Sir Edward Elgar (1857 – 1934) and others, including a short setting of George Herbert’s poem ‘Bitter-sweet’ composed by Cockburn himself.

 

In all the 16th-century pieces the texts themselves mention either the word ‘bitter’ or the word ‘sweet’, or both. Some focus entirely on the ‘sweetness’ of their subject (primarily love), as in Morley’s well-known madrigal ‘Now is the month of Maying’. Others, such as Tallis’s ‘Like as the doleful dove’ focus on its ‘bitterness’. The really interesting ones are those who see both, and fuse them together in that apparent contradiction of ‘bittersweetness’, as in John Wilbye’s remarkable six-part madrigal ‘Draw on sweet night’. Music’s ability to express contrasting emotional states simultaneously was picked up by the English composers of the late 19th to the mid-20th century, who were able to capture a characteristic mood of gentle melancholy, of radiant beauty tinged with sadness. This can be heard in different ways the two part-songs by Elgar, and the two anthems (accompanied by organ) by Edgar Bainton and Herbert Howells, which are accompanied by the organ and are staples of the English cathedral repertoire.

 

DCC’s Bitter Sweet programme will be performed at the Lutheran Church in Hayfields, Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 27 May, and reprised at St Thomas’s Anglican Church, Musgrave on Sunday 3 June. Both performances start at 3pm, and last about an hour. Refreshments will be served after the concerts. Tickets are available at the door from 2pm, and admission to the venues is from 2.30pm. Tickets are R70 per person (student/scholar OAP concessions R40). School groups are admitted free, and group bookings may be made, by prior arrangement with the Choir (jacomien@citrusacademy.org.za).

 

Members of the Durban Chamber Choir photographed by Val Adamson

 

Finally, a reminder that the KZN Philharmonic’s Winter Season runs in the Playhouse Opera Theatre every Thursday from 7 to 28 June at 7.30pm. The season includes an exciting line-up of guest artists set to perform a rich and eclectic repertoire with the Orchestra. For programme details visit www.kznphil.org.za. Season tickets and bookings for individual concerts are available through Computicket. Call 0861 915 8000 or book online at www.computicket.com.  For more information call 031-369 9438 or email bookings@kznphil.org.za .

 

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