The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra’s current World Symphony Series of Summer Season climaxes in the Durban City Hall tomorrow (Thursday 7 March). Daniel Boico, KZNPO’S dynamic Israeli-American Associate Guest Conductor, is at the helm for this programme which opens with Grieg’s ever popular Peer Gynt Suite No 1. This will be followed by a performance of the same composer’s celebrated Piano Concerto in A minor, which sees the great Russian virtuoso Olga Kern (above), a longstanding favourite, returning to the spotlight. Dvořák’s rarely heard Symphony No 1 in C minor, a youthful work rich in energy and a spirit of optimism, promises to end the season on a high.
Grieg’s Peer Gynt music was originally composed to accompany a performance of Ibsen’s 1867 drama of the same name. It was completed in 1875, and the play’s lavishly staged premiere took place the following year in Christiania (now Oslo), with the orchestra conducted by Grieg himself. Dissatisfied with the fragmentary nature of his music, Grieg subsequently devised his two suites in 1888 1893 respectively. Second only to his A minor Piano Concerto, the Peer Gynt Suite No 1 is the composer’s most popular work, its ‘Morning’ and ‘In The Hall of The Mountain King’ movements, ranking among the most loved of all short orchestral compositions.
The ubiquitous Piano Concerto in A minor, written in 1868, was the only concerto Grieg completed. It has since been championed by generations of virtuosi, not least the illustrious Ms Kern. The concerto is often compared (and recorded as a companion) to the Piano Concerto of Robert Schumann. It shares the same key, and its character is palpably closer to Schumann than any other single composer. Grieg heard Schumann’s work performed by the latter’s wife, Clara Wieck, in Leipzig in 1858, and was greatly influenced by Schumann's style, having been taught the piano by Schumann's friend, Ernst Ferdinand Wenzel.
Dvořák’s Symphony No 1 in C minor, composed in 1865, was written in the early Romantic style, patently inspired by Beethoven and Mendelssohn. Ironically, given its early position in his symphonic oeuvre, it was the only one of his symphonies that Dvořák never heard performed or had a chance to revise, as it was lost shortly after its composition, and did not come to light until 1923, some 20 years after the composer's death. It only received its first performance in 1936. A rarity to this day, its performance here is sure to prove of great interest.
Watch out for soon to-be-released details of the KZN Philharmonic’s four concert 2019 Winter Season, which runs from 30 May to 20 June 2019. Season tickets for the KZN Philharmonic’s World Symphony Series 2019 concerts are available through Computicket. Call 0861 915 8000 or book online at www.computicket.com. For more information visit http://kznphil.org.za/, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 031-369 9438 (office hours).