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Every year Lyk Temmingh, resident conductor of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra (KZNPO), searches for talent to participate in the National Youth Concerto Festival.
The result was a most enjoyable concert in the Durban City Hall last week; the fifth of the orchestra’s spring season. There were seven guest musicians, and Temmingh conducted the orchestra with the exception of one item, which was conducted by one of the performers.
The programme was ambitious, with the emphasis on 20th century music, with no sign of the Bach, Mozart and Beethoven that were the staple diet of an earlier generation of students.
The performances were generally of professional standard. Some members of the audience who have attended many of these youth concerts in the past felt this was possibly the best of them all.
The concert opened with a rousing account of Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, a brilliant piece for big orchestra. Xavier Cloete (pictured), a student conductor who is an advanced cadet with the KZNPO, was on the podium, and he showed a firm grip of tempi, accents and dynamics, with the orchestra responding enthusiastically.
The other young performers were all instrumentalists, except for Caroline Modiba, a soprano who was given an ovation for her singing of Sempre libera, the famous aria from Verdi’s La Traviata.
There were two great violinists, 16-year-old Jeffrey Armstrong from Wellington (playing two movements of Max Bruch’s Concerto in G minor) and David Bester, a Stellenbosch student (Ravel’s Tzigane).
Nathan Lawrence, another KZNPO cadet, played the Concerto for trumpet by Armenian composer Alexander Arutunian. Carla van der Merwe, a Stellen-bosch student, played Debussy’s Premiere Rhapsody for Clarinet, and Sulayman Human, also from Stellenbosch, played a movement of a piano concerto by Aram Khachaturian. – Artsmart.co.za