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25 June 2019 - KZNPO Ensemble

In general, the ensemble displayed a pleasing understatedness.
[Review by Dr. Martin Goldstein]

The Friends of Music recital on 25 June, 2019, featured the much acclaimed KZNPO ensemble, which includes the renowned Kerimov trio consisting of Elena Kerimova on the violin, Boris Kerimov on the cello and highly acclaimed local pianist Christopher Duigan along with other respected instrumentalists, namely David Snaith on the viola, Yura Litvinenko on the double bass, Kirsten Sayers on the clarinet, Sorin Mircea Osorhean on the horn and Charl van der Merwe on the bassoon. They performed the Piano Quintet in A Major, D 667 “The Trout” by Franz Schubert (1797-1828) and the Septet for Strings and Woodwinds in E-flat, Op. 20 by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827).

Schubert’s “The Trout” was composed in 1819, during or soon after his visit to the small town of Steyr in Upper Austria. In the KZNPO Ensemble’s performance of this work, the pianist’s touch was highly cultivated and he is to be commended on his excellent octave work at speed in the right hand, which must certainly have been a challenge throughout much of the work. While it can be said that each instrumentalist was truly independent and had an autonomous “voice”, as an ensemble, they merged
well together. It was clear that there was very good communication between the cellist and violinist couple and also between the piano and violin in the relevant passages. There was a vivaciousness to the playing, particularly on the trills and running scale passages, which brought to life the image of a trout swimming freely in a pond. In general, the ensemble displayed a pleasing understatedness.

Beethoven’s Septet was finished in the spring of 1800 and was received with great enthusiasm. Indeed, the audience’s reception of the KZNPO Ensemble’s performance was no different two hundred years later. The clarinetist can be described as playing in a jovial, clear and confident fashion. The interplay between the clarinet and the bassoon was most pleasing and the ensemble as a whole held together nicely. In the final movement, Andante con molto alla Marcia - Presto, the horn displayed henomenal
radiance and the different parts worked well in tandem. The violin’s cadenza in this movement was the highlight of the concert.

The Prelude Performer, Menzi Mngoma (Tenor), performed an interesting range of works consisting of La donna E Mobile, from Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi, You Raise me up by Rolf Løvland (Secret Garden) and You’ll Never Walk Alone from Carousel by Rogers and Hammerstein. It was clear from the outset that he was well trained and at the same time thoroughly unpretentious. He had a pleasing rich tone and resonance. In La Donna e Mobile, he displayed a lovely light intonation and his body language suggested a good understanding of the Italian dialogue. You’ll Never Walk Alone was his best number and he displayed wonderful poise and diction along with an impressive dynamic range and palette of tone colours. He had great reserve on the long notes and it is clear that he is fully capable of filling an opera house with his excellent voice. He should be given this opportunity in the near future.

Dr. Martin Goldstein