Anna Tifu

VALENTINE’S Day, and a programme that included two popular concertos produced a full house in the Durban City Hall, with an audience of about 1 500 attending a concert by the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra.

There was a distinctly festive atmosphere: free sparkling wine and chocolates for the excited audience, red bow ties for the men in the orchestra and brightly coloured dresses for the women.

All this plus an uncommonly good-looking young solo violinist who wore a dress that was low slung at the front and even lower at the back.

The violinist was a 26-year-old Italian, Anna Tifu (pictured). She played Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto in G minor, one of the great romantic gems of the 19th century. She performed this work at La Scala in Milan at the age of 14, and she delighted her Durban audience with her artistry and her appearance.

She played with a sweet, accurate tone – this concerto is a work of surpassing sweetness – and showed a complete technical command.

The conductor was Daniel Boico, who was born in Israel and lives in New York. He has visited Durban several times and is a favourite here.

Under his vigorous but sympathetic direction the soloist and the orchestra gave a memorable performance that earned an ovation.

The other concerto was the Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar and orchestra by Joaquin Rodrigo, a Spaniard who died in 1999 at the age of 97 and who was virtually blind from the age of three, following an attack of diphtheria.

The concerto was inspired by the gardens of a Spanish royal palace at Aranjuez, hence its name.

It is a lovely work, probably the best-known composition written for the guitar, and at our Durban concert it was given a beautiful performance by a Spanish guitarist, Pablo Sainz Villegas.

The concert opened with Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro Overture and ended with Tchaikovsky’s Orchestral Suite from his Swan Lake ballet.

This familiar music was given a bright and brilliant presentation under Boico’s sure hand, and after an unusually long concert the audience went home a little late but happy. –