Classical Notes: Classics set to crackle and pop

Proms exuberance set to wow this Sunday


A lavish line-up of classical music events is set to engage music lovers in the weeks ahead.


Stand by for a ‘Sound and Light’ extravaganza at this weekend’s Last Night of the Proms concert, presented by the British Cultural and Heritage Association in the Playhouse Opera on Sunday at 3pm. Prommers can expect a bonanza event which will crackle and pop with an exuberance of sing-alongs set to go with a bang.


Conductor Richard Cock leads the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, joined by the Durban Symphonic and Northwood Boys Choirs, and a line-up of soloists, as they show their paces in a bumper programme of favourites. Show-stopping items in the first half of the programme include: Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra, world famous as the soundtrack to the movie, Space Odyssey 2001; the main theme to John William’s Star Wars soundtrack; Explosions Polka by Johann Strauss; the mighty Anvil Chorus from Verdi’s Il Trovatore; Khachaturian’s dazzling Sabre Dance; the beautiful Sanctus from Gounod’s Saint Cecilia Mass; Vivaldi’s Concerto in G; Lanchberry’s endearing Clog Dance from the comic ballet, La fille mal gardee; and the iconic River Dance hit, Reel Around the Sun.


Getting off on a high note, the second half opens with the 2014 Commonwealth Games Theme. This will be followed by a powerhouse line-up of show-stoppers, including: Dimutrescu’s Romanian Dance; Thunder and Lightning Polka by Johann Strauss; Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King; the Jewel Song from Gounod’s Faust; the thunderous finale to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture; and Proms evergreens, Jerusalem by Parry, Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus and the jolly Sailors Hornpipe in an arrangement by Alan Stephenson.


Baroque 2000 presents a novel Gypsy Baroque concert and dinner featuring the Quebec (Canada) based Ensemble Caprice and Baroque 2000 in a programme of original works from anonymous composers of the Balkans, as sourced from the Oral Tradition Uhrovska Collection, dated 1730. Don’t miss this prestigious concert/dinner event, which will be held at AmaZulu Palace, 20 Windsor Road in Kloof, on 11 August at 5pm. Seats are limited so early booking is essential. Tickets are R480. For bookings and more details contact Michel Schneuwly on 082 303 5241 or email


And on a grander scale, Durban concert goers have the rare opportunity of hearing a leading symphony orchestra of the United States performing live in concert when the Grammy Award winning Minnesota Orchestra appears on Sunday 12 August in the Durban City Hall at 5pm during the second leg of its whistle stop national tour.


 The Minnesota Orchestra prepares for South African Tour (photo credit Travis Anderson)


Performing under the baton of its Music Director, the Finnish conductor Osmo Vänskä, the Minnesota’s tour marks the first-ever visit to South Africa by a professional U.S. orchestra. Undertaken in partnership with Classical Movements, one of the world’s leading specialist cultural organisational bodies, the tour takes place in honour of the centenary of Nelson Mandela. As part of its itinerary, the Minnesota will undertake workshops and side-by-side rehearsals with various youth music groups around the country, in Durban engaging with the KZN Youth Wind Band.


Repertoire to be performed during its Durban concert will centre on Beethoven’s iconic Fifth Symphony. Other works include, among others:  Sibelius’s tone poem, En Saga; a piece specially commissioned as a tribute to Mandela by Classical Movements from South African composer, Bongani Ndodana-Breen, titled Harmonia Ubuntu, featuring soprano Goitsemang Oniccah Lehobye; and a surprise package of other works with a strong South African flavour. Ticket prices range from R100 to R600 and bookings can be done through Computicket at 0861 915 8000 or online at For more information, visit


Finally, note that the KZN Philharmonic’s four-concert Early Spring Season featuring a line-up of international guest artists runs in the Durban City Hall every Thursday between 23 August and 13 September, starting at 7.30pm. A detailed preview of the season will appear in the next edition of this column on 17 August. Season tickets and bookings for individual concerts are through Computicket. For more information call 031-369 9438, email or visit


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