Stand out with these 3 summer looks!
Two outstanding number dours – Beethoven’s fourth piano concerto and Mahler’s fourth symphony – drew a big audience to Durban City Hall for the penultimate concert of the spring season of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra.
The soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto in G major, Op 58, was 27-year-old Alexandra Dariescu, a rapidly rising star on the musical horizon. Born in Romania and educated largely in England, in the past three or four years she has established herself as an unusually gifted pianist with a wide repertoire, and she gave a virtuoso perfor- mance in Durban of this most subtle of concertos.
She has an impeccable tech- nique and her tonal gradation was first rate, especially in the middle movement, one of the most original pieces of music ever written.
The orchestra, under the dir- ection of the visiting conductor Arjan Tien, was in good form, with bright string tone in the dialogue with the piano.
The performance was exciting rather than contemplative. Dariescu played at high speed, as many modern pianists do, and the audi- ence was highly enthusiastic.
Would Beethoven have played at this tempo when he gave the first performance 200 years ago? There are no recordings, of course, but I somehow doubt it. That’s progress, I suppose.
After the interval the orchestra gave us Gustav Mahler’s hour-long Symphony No 4 in G major.
This work is replete with lovely melodies, and the orchestra made the most of them, with fine playing from strings, brass and woodwind.
The final movement is a long soprano song about a child’s vision of heaven, and the singer was Zandile Mzazi, a young South African who has done well here, in Europe and the US. She was excellent, with pure intonation, sensitive phrasing and a dignified, unfussy stage presence. When she took her bow the audience gave her prolonged and deserved applause. – Artsmart.co.za