FOM Gala Concert 2016 Howard Shelley CTPO #ConcertReview

FOM Gala Concert 2016 Howard Shelley CTPO #ConcertReview

Reviewed by Andy Wilding

Conductor / Soloist: Howard Shelley
Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, City Hall Thursday 3 November 2016

Symphony no.35 in D “Haffner”
Piano Concerto no. 18 in B-flat
Piano Concerto no. 20 in D minor

The Friends of Orchestral Music is a registered non-profit organisation that is dedicated to supporting classical orchestral music in Cape Town. The lion’s share of the funds raised are presented to the orchestra, but FOM also enables a variety of up-and-coming instrumentalists, assisting with bursaries and outreach programs.

FOM, Friends of Orchestral Music, CTPO, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra

Cheque please! FOM Chairman Derek Auret presented R300,000 to CTPO Chief Executive Louis Heyneman on 24 Nov 2016

FOM fund raising events are planned throughout the year, most notably the enchanting soirées featuring local and international soloists and chamber ensembles. FOM also collects a R50 donation per person at the CTPO open dress rehearsals, usually held at the City Hall on the morning of the performance. By far the most glamorous event in the FOM calendar is the annual Gala Concert, an exciting opportunity to showcase the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra in the light of an international star, and 2016 was no exception. The CTPO gave a shining performance conducted from the piano by natural born entertainer Howard Shelley. The evening was a critically acclaimed success, graciously sponsored by Nussbaumstigting, and Naspers (who sponsored the Joshua Bell concert last year.)

Ruth Allen, Bernhard Gueller, Howard Shelley, Shirley de Kock Gueller

Ruth Allen with maestros Bernhard Gueller and Howard Shelley, and CTPO marketing executive Shirley de Kock Gueller

The 2016 Gala Concert will also be remembered as Ruth Allen’s 90th birthday present! The concert was dedicated to this rare jewel of the classical art and music community – an industry mainstay; an indomitable supporter of classical music through feast and famine. What a birthday present this must have been, to see the orchestra that she had helped return from the Isle of the Dead, thriving, fierce, and full of life.

A program that features works from one composer feels quite focussed and calming, like arriving at a holiday destination with no further plans to travel, because you are exactly where you want to be. With Shelley’s Mozart program, we were comfortably transported into the Vienna of the 1780s and allowed to wonder around, explore the society, experience the culture. The symphony was elegantly phrased and impressively accurate. The Andante, around 72 bpm, was a leisurely stroll distinct in it’s complete absence of urgency, providing plenty of space to hang ones thoughts.

Howard Shelley, CTPO, Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, #CapeTownPhilharmonicOrchestra, #CTPO, #ConcertReview, #ClassicalConcertReview, Andy Wilding

Maestro Howard Shelley’s charming, entertaining, and interesting introduction to the piano concerto nr. 18 in B-flat

Maestro Shelley earned his supper a few times over, giving his audience a delightfully entertaining master class before the B-flat piano concerto. He told us to listen out for the winds, who would be playing a greater part than in any concerto before, and also rattled off an astounding array of examples on the keyboard where Mozart had used variations or derivations of the opening phrase of the 18th in other piano concerti. Thus, with his audience eating out of his hand, he rang the bonus bell: charm. It requires a skill that precious few performers have or take the time to develop: the skill of talking to the audience. There is an immediate intimacy even in a concert hall, with a performer who speaks, a kind of subconscious capcha test – Are you a robot? Seeing the humanity in the way an instrumentalist speaks is (almost always) endearing.

Lid off, Shelley got down to business, delivering amazing balance and sensitivity with the orchestra, and a cadenza of astonishing accuracy. Wondering far from the tour bus, I came to the conclusion that Mozart would be enjoying Shelley’s demonstration of the piano forte immensely, and probably envying it over his baroquey harpsichord at home. Shelley’s Andante was as dramatic as he promised it would be, having explained in his short introduction that Mozart was fond of infusing his second movements with operatic lyricism.

Howard Shelley, CTPO, Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, #CapeTownPhilharmonicOrchestra, #CTPO, #ConcertReview, #ClassicalConcertReview, Andy Wilding

Another of maestro Howard Shelley’s charming, entertaining, and interesting introductions for piano concerto nr. 21 in D minor

After interval we were rewarded with another of Shelley’s wonderful introductions, which served not only to remind us to look out for Beethoven’s cadenza in the first movement and Hummel’s in the third, but also that FOM Gala Concerts offer something special to the music lover. There is a sense of witnessing history in the making, to be in the audience of an icon performing on the City Hall stage. And what a pleasure to host a star so comfortable in his world that he speaks piano as his home language, whether illustrating a quick example or playing entire works from his iPad.

His D minor was sublime in its clarity, precision, and serenity. Not uncommonly a fan of exciting tempi, I enjoyed the Romanza’s languid first subject, a shade lazier than the Haffner Andante, and the dreaminess contrasted well with the fiery passion of the second subject. Beautiful ensemble playing from the winds.

Howard Shelley, CTPO, Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, #CapeTownPhilharmonicOrchestra, #CTPO, #ConcertReview, #ClassicalConcertReview, Andy Wilding

Howard Shelley’s concert will have very special place in the CTPO hall of fame.

 

Bernhard Gueller, Howard Shelley

Maestros Bernhard Gueller and Howard Shelley having a word after the concert, dedicated to Ruth Allen (in pink)

Advertisements
Rachel Lee Priday, CTPO & Daniel Boico – Ravel Prokofiev Rachmaninov #ConcertReview

Rachel Lee Priday, CTPO & Daniel Boico – Ravel Prokofiev Rachmaninov #ConcertReview

Reviewed by Andy Wilding

Conductor: Daniel Boico
Soloist: Rachel Lee Priday
Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, City Hall Thursday 30 June 2016

Thousands of years from now, archaeologists will say that the internet is one of the most important and transformative tools in the history of human development. Cape Town is a small city, but it is still relatively easy to be disconnected and believe that there is no money here, and that all the great events in classical music happen overseas. Just the other day I sat next to someone at a concert who had not heard of Fine Music Radio! But that is all changing at fibre-optic speed. Frequent events like the 35th Belvedere Singing Competition are constant reminders to Capetonians that our orchestra and facilities are a beacon on the map of Africa, a stunning destination for classical musicians and competitions. The internet is our ticket to being included in the rich explosion of classical events that seems to be growing in our Mother City. And what would happen if our City Hall and Baxter concerts were video broadcast onto a website for all the world to see, like the Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall?

Are we ready to go global?

Ravel – Alborada del Gracioso
We have a world-class orchestra, I hear it all the time from people who travel. Last Thursday the CTPO was on top form and impeccably synchronised with their percussion section. We have world-class conductors, Daniel Boico has worked closely with Barenboim, Boulez, and Mehta. His Ravel was scintillating, conveying the timeless allure of a Mediterranean village. Approximately translating as “Morning song of the Jester”, it is an orchestral show-piece with plenty of mystery and passion befitting the genre. The bassoon of Simon Ball serenaded over the atmospheric pianissimo orchestra that occasionally exploded in surprising and spectacular colour.

.

Rachel Lee Priday, Daniel Boico, Simon Ball, Sergie Burdukov, Gabriele von Dürckheim, Daniel Prozesky, Brandon Phillips, Hamman Schoonwinkel, Patrick Goodwin, Olga Burdukova, Andy Wilding, Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, #CapeTownPhilharmonicOrchestra, #CTPO, #ConcertReview, #ClassicalConcertReview

Rachel Lee Priday with the CTPO for Prokofiev Violin Concerto No.1 conducted by Daniel Boico

Prokofiev – Violin Concerto No.1
Priday is an alluring, enigmatic performer, delighting in the contrasts of ethereal serenity and electrifying volcanism. Her interpretation of the concerto was an exploration of these ideas, opening on a single glistening gossamer thread that became darker, thicker, and more menacing. Accentuating the harmonic angst of the second subject and its edgy awkwardness, she revealed the volcano – a lava-flow of shredding scales and explosive pizzicato. She’s a live wire! … And only too easily, it’s all dreamy back-lit misty dew drops again. There’s a kind of amnesia following the storm, an almost post-apocalyptic surrealism that quite aptly describes human nature. We want to forget – we want to go back to the blissful dream again.

.

Daniel Boico, Simon Ball, Sergie Burdukov, Gabriele von Dürckheim, Daniel Prozesky, Brandon Phillips, Hamman Schoonwinkel, Patrick Goodwin, Olga Burdukova, Andy Wilding, Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, #CapeTownPhilharmonicOrchestra, #CTPO, #ConcertReview, #ClassicalConcertReview

The CTPO with Daniel Boico after Rachmaninov Symphonic Dances

Rachmaninov – Symphonic Dances
We really do have a phenomenal orchestra. I know they’re just doing their jobs, but performing as a job means doing the job perfectly. Double-basses took their tricky fast wide reaches in their stride, the wind solos were breathtaking by Sergie Burdukov, Gabriele von Dürckheim, Daniel Prozesky and Brandon Phillips. And the award for #ShowStealer goes to: Hamman Schoonwinkel for his melancholy, lyrical, totally Rachmaninovian saxophone solo!

The Scherzo was bliss and rapture. This macabre, deeply beautiful waltz has three of my favourite things: 1) Ominously muted brass; 2) a concertmaster solo; (sublime, Patrick Goodwin) and 3) Olga Burdukova’s cor anglais.

Boico’s conducting is bold and sumptuously romantic. Never afraid to pause slightly or take his time describing a particularly beautiful phrase, his tempi are organic and expressive. His communication with the CTPO is excellent: they understand each other well. This could only be true because in many parts of the symphonic work, the timing is off beat and complex, and last Thursday the CTPO handled the corners like a Ferrari – mastering a finicky timing chicane into the final accelerando and coda – what an amazing ride!

.

Louis Heyneman, Rachel Lee Priday, Daniel Boico

Louis Heyneman, Rachel Lee Priday, Daniel Boico

 

.

Where ever you are in the world, you can watch the
35th International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition FINALS

STREAMING LIVE ON THE INTERNET
SATURDAY 2 JULY AT 6:00pm (GMT+2)

CATCH THE FREE VIDEO BROADCAST HERE: http://www.capetownconcerthall.com/

2nd Day Semi-Finals – Belvedere Singing Competition 2016

2nd Day Semi-Finals – Belvedere Singing Competition 2016

Reviewed by Andy Wilding

35th International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition
Semi-Finals 2nd Day
Baxter Concert Hall Cape Town, Thursday 30 June 2016

(This is Part Two of the semi-finals review, for Part One just scroll down.)

Due to the extremely high standard of the contestants in the Belvedere Competition I find myself delving deeper into what makes a successful singer. In this semi-final stage, every contestant has beautiful intonation and tone. The ten singers reviewed here are exploring further aspects of their performance, such as good acting and character development; the subtle use of volume dynamics; the structure of the aria; the phrasing of each line; and many other subtleties that make perfecting the art of singing an infinite journey.

.

Raehann Bryce-Davis, Noluvuyiso Mpofu

Raehann Bryce-Davis, Noluvuyiso Mpofu

 

Raehann Bryce-Davis demonstrated how to structure an aria dynamically by using her projection strategically to create exciting crescendos that contrasted with softer passages. She sang “O ma lyre immortelle”, Gounod Sapho, in her deep rich mezzo, making good use of a piano interlude to develop her character. Her finish was intense, demonstrating her power and range.

Noluvuyiso Mpofu has lovely dramatic facial expression and body language. Her passion and strong lower register create an authority that wins the audience over and attracts their sympathy. Her “Martern aller Arten” Mozart Die Entfuhrung, was accurate, and sweet even in her higher register. My heart melted and my eyes watered.

.

Marielle Murphy, Solen Mainguene

Marielle Murphy, Solen Mainguene

 

“Der Holle Rache” Mozart Die Zauberflote. One does not attempt this aria lightly. Its glorious heights and time-suspending leaps are a temptation the cost of which is perfection, or death! Marielle Murphy chose perfection and she achieved it with heart-pounding bravery. Her accuracy was as astonishing as Mozart intended, but Murphy went another level deeper, mellowing her tone to create subtle changes of colour in her voice that made no two repetitions the same. She reserved her power strategically for the peaks of those coveted heights. She strikes a convincing character, and with a voice like her’s, she may well be crowned Queen of the Stage!

As if by deliberate contrast to Mozart’s haughty Queen, the following act was Massenet’s Thais. Dreamy, romantic, gentle, and revealing incredible depth of sweetness, Solen Mainguene presented “Dis moi que je suis belle”. Her stage presence was captivating, it was as if she was alone with her thoughts. She is a convincing actress, becoming visibly rattled and despairing before finding herself again. Her dynamics are astounding, at times an intimate pianissimo that draws the audience in, as if to hear a secret. How alluring, and what a range!

.

Bozhidar Bozhkilov, Diana Rosa Cardenas

Bozhidar Bozhkilov, Diana Rosa Cardenas

 

Bozhidar Bozhkilov has an expansive deep round tone that is delightfully easy on the ears. He has appealing, warm stage presence, and his dynamic structure is exciting, moving from a purr to a roar in “Come dal ciel precipita” Verdi Macbeth.

Diana Rosa Cardenas ticked a number of boxes for me. She is a natural actress, communicating her character by facial expression and eye contact. Her stage presence is captivating, giving a real laugh when required, that sounded like it could be her actual laugh. Her dynamics tell her story on their own, in wonderful crescendos and piano sections. She has a highly developed embouchure technique (shaping of the mouth) that allows a variation of tone in repeated phrases, so that no two are alike. “Je suis encore tout etourdie” Massenet Manon, was a master-class in the art of singing.

.

Julietta Aleksanyan, Ki Young Jang

Julietta Aleksanyan, Ki Young Jang

In “Ach, ich fuhl’s” Mozart Die Zauberflote, Julietta Aleksanyan clearly chose an aria that would showcase her heart-stopping finesse and exquisite sense of line. Her performance was lyrical and complex, perfect intonation, with utterly captivating presence.

Ki Young Jang will do well in a big opera houses and out-door venues, or even stadiums. His projection is remarkable, and he has the reserve to cresendo his forte astoundingly, and yet he also has the phenomenal ability to control his full roar and bring it down to a gentle word. He has a wonderful friendly presence, delivering a charming “Che gelida manina” Puccini La Boheme.

.

Anna Gorbachyova, Misaki Moreno

Anna Gorbachyova, Misaki Moreno

It’s hard to be sure but I think that Anna Gorbachyova was the best coloratura we have heard so far, her intonation in the semiquavers was flawless, incredible. Her “Marten aller Arten” Mozart Die Entfuhrung, was a highly technical performance of beautifully sculpted lines and dynamic phrasing that made use of her full dynamic range, crescendoing from pianissimo.

Misaki Moreno is a dramatic, enchanting performer. She interpreted “Partir o ciel desio!” Rossini Il viaggio a Reims to showcase the full range of her voice, from a strong mezzo to her preferred soprano register. I enjoyed her tasteful application of power and beautiful phrasing. She is also captivating in her facial expression, a sensational performer.

.

Where ever you are in the world, you can watch the
35th International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition FINALS

STREAMING LIVE ON THE INTERNET
SATURDAY 2 JULY AT 6:00pm (GMT+2)

CATCH THE FREE VIDEO BROADCAST HERE: http://www.capetownconcerthall.com/

1st Day Semi-Finals – Belvedere Singing Competition 2016

1st Day Semi-Finals – Belvedere Singing Competition 2016

Reviewed by Andy Wilding

35th International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition
Semi-Finals 1st Day
Baxter Concert Hall Cape Town, Wednesday 29 June 2016

“Since 2013 the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition is spreading its wings. The final rounds, held for 31 years in Vienna, now take place in the most renowned opera houses around the world on an alternating basis. In 2013 the city of Amsterdam hosted the first event outside of Austria since its founding, followed by Düsseldorf in 2014, Amsterdam again in 2015 and Cape Town in 2016”.
From http://www.belvedere-competition.com/about/

What an acknowledgement for Cape Town to be placed third on the list of cities with the “most renowned opera houses around the world”!

The Belvedere is a very special kind of singing competition. Founded in 1982 by Hans Gabor, manager of the Wiener Kammeroper, the Belvedere Competition is not assessed by the academic idealism of vocal instructors, but by those who are actually responsible for the engagement of singers: opera and festival managers, music promoters and representatives of the media industry. This year the competition will be adjudicated by artistic and casting directors from the Metropolitan Opera New York, Teatro alla Scala Milano, Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, and Cape Town Opera, to name a few.

The Belvedere Competition has been dubbed the “singers’ stock exchange” – where the value of the stock (talent and maturity) is determined by investors (industry professionals). There is also a highly coveted “Prize of the Audience”, awarded by the audience of the final concert. Always the optimist, I remind any competitors who may be reading that winning isn’t everything, especially in this competition – Angela Gheorghiu was placed third in 1990, and that certainly didn’t slow her down!

Earlier today, the Cape Town audience encountered twenty-eight talented, dedicated singers from seventy cities world wide, and it was clear during the first area that the standard could not be higher. Intonation, accuracy, tone, and projection were extremely good all round, so in this review I have selected the singers who I found most engaging as story-tellers. With such a high standard, the more subtle arts come to the fore, such as acting the character in body language and facial expression, as well as the understated art of vocal dynamics. I found the singers who stood out most for me were those who found a place to use pianissimo to draw the audience in to their performance.
.

Oksana Sekerina, Mandla Mndebele, Rachel Schutz,

Oksana Sekerina, Mandla Mndebele, Rachel Schutz

Opening soprano Oksana Sekerina showed her mature honey-smooth tone in “Dove sono”, Mozart Le Nozze di Figaro. She has mastered the professional use of dynamics to create an expressive and exciting delivery.

Mandla Mndebele has engaging emotional expression, presenting “Eri tu”, Verdi Un Ballo in Maschera. There is a wonderful roundness to his tone, like a smooth river pebble. He conserves his powerful baritone so that we can enjoy it’s rich depth, using it’s full power to devastating effect.

Of course it’s too early to say – there is still another day of semi-finals – but Rachel Schutz may well be flying home with a trophy in her luggage.
Her “Presentation of the Rose”, Strauss Der Rosenkavalier, was utterly captivating. Using the entire area of the white 3-foot square as her stage, she was like a caged Disney princess, full of wonder and animation, yearning to be free. She maintained her character through amazing dynamics that in places dropped down to a whisper. She chose an enchanting area and delivered it extremely well. She sang again after the short break, much to the delight of the audience: “Son anch ‘io la virtu”, Donizetti Don Pasquale. Playing a much naughtier character, with eyes like a classical Indian dancer, she revealed a real talent for acting. Complete with tantrums and pouting, she managed all of this in that tiny square that you can see in the picture. When the score required a musical laugh she gave a real one. She comes with a lot of extra features, but underneath is solid technique – her scales were scorching.

.

Where ever you are in the world, you can watch the
35th International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition FINALS

STREAMING LIVE ON THE INTERNET
SATURDAY 2 JULY AT 6:00pm (GMT+2)

CATCH THE FREE VIDEO BROADCAST HERE: http://www.capetownconcerthall.com/

Paolo Ingrasciotta, Jomante Slezaite, Larissa Alice Wissel

Paolo Ingrasciotta, Jomante Slezaite, Larissa Alice Wissel

Smooth baritone Paolo Ingrasciotta is not afraid to use ppp, telling us the story of “Avant de quitter ces lieux”, Gounod Faust. There were plenty of opportunities for him to demonstrate his ample projection, and he did so in expansive emotional gestures.

Jomante Slezaite made good use of the beginning of her area to express the narrative in dramatic dynamics. She delivered “Celui dont la parole”, Massenet Herodiace, in full character with excellent intonation and sweetness of tone.

Larissa Alice Wissel is an enamouring performer, holding her character well in “O Dieu! Que de bijoux!” Gounod Faust. She has good fundamentals and beautiful tone, but more than this, she uses her space well. Her actions and gestures carry meaning and seem natural. One of her secrets is an exquisite control over her powerful soprano – a mesmerizing ability to change her dynamics in the middle of a line. Breathtaking.

.

Caroline Nkwe, Miriam Gadjieva, Sophia Theodorides Belvedere Competition 2016

Caroline Nkwe, Miriam Gadjieva, Sophia Theodorides

The inclusion of the recitative is a great way to demonstrate dynamic ability. Caroline Nkwe used this to full effect in “Come scoglio” Mozart Cosi fan tutte. She extended this subtle skill throughout her performance, building to a crescendo quite late in the area so as not to reveal her power too early. She gave a stunning, studied performance that showed a clear structure – beginning, middle, end.

Miriam Gadjieva has a lovely mature tone which brings richness and depth in her coloratura passages. She has good agility and expressive sensitivity, singing “Quando m’en vo” Puccini La Boheme.

Sophia Theodorides has a light sweet voice, amazing range, and astonishing accuracy. Her tasteful, slightly Baroque use of vibrato makes her an absolute treat. She lets the vibrato build in her voice over long notes – like a rising column of incense smoke that picks up turbulence as it accelerates. Leopold Mozart would approve, and fittingly, she sang “Durch Zartlichkeit”, WA Mozart Die Entfuhrung.

.

Ayse Senogul, Jure Pockaj, Valentina Teresa Mastrang

Ayse Senogul, Jure Pockaj, Valentina Teresa Mastrang

Ayse Senogul has the range and accuracy of a coloratura – amazing arpeggios with a stunning warm tone. She has a good sense of drama and natural acting skills. Delivering “Regnava nel silenzio” Donizetti Lucia di Lammermoor, she conserved her power well, which made revealing it all the more exciting.

Perhaps more noticeable with baritones is the necessity to control vibrato, lest it interfere with pitch. Jure Pockaj mastered the application of tasteful vibrato, giving us “Bella siccome un angelo” Donizetti Don Pasquale in a lovely gentle timbre and superb intonation. His bass register has ample projection, and his physical drama makes him an entertaining performer to watch.

In character from the piano introduction, Valentina Teresa Mastrang was clearly hearing voices in her head – “Sento un’interna voce” Rossini Elisabetta Regina D’inghilterra. She used the tiny square well, creating drama in every corner of her stage. Her dynamics were hypnotic, taking us down to ppp conserving her power for when she wanted to get our attention in other ways. Her well developed coloratura skill made for a fantastic finale.

.

Ya-Chung Huang, Rosina Fabius, Yang Liu

Ya-Chung Huang, Rosina Fabius, Yang Liu

Ya-Chung Huang is assured of a career as a tenor. There is warmth about him, and a pleasant vibrato that carries intelligent and dynamic phrasing. He sang “Che gelida manina” Puccini La Boheme, realising where he can use pianissimo for more dramatic effect, and effortlessly soaring into his top register. He’s a great performer.

Rosina Fabius is a confident mezzo-soprano, singing the only baroque work on the program. She used it to demonstrate her coloratura skill and dynamic phrasing in a style that highlights her accuracy and strong mezzo range: “Dopo notto” Handel Ariodante.

Yang Liu delivered dramatic dynamics in recitative and good phrasing in the area. It was heavenly, she made a good choice: “Dove sono” Mozart Le Nozze di Figaro, that compliments the sweetness of her tone.

François du Toit, Daniel Boico – Jankowitz, Schumann, Saint-Saëns #ConcertReview

François du Toit, Daniel Boico – Jankowitz, Schumann, Saint-Saëns #ConcertReview

Reviewed by Andy Wilding

Conductor: Daniel Boico
Soloist: François du Toit
Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, City Hall Thursday 23 June 2016

Jankowitz – Revelation
From the misty Mahleresque cor anglais opening and throughout the work, it was clear that Christo Jankowitz has the stuff of a serious symphonic composer. “Revelation” reveals a talent for communicating sophisticated musical ideas that develop along a sensible line of progression. Certainly a composer requires an ability for melody-writing, but the skill of developing musical material is a step closer to genius. Many of the greatest musical works are based on a simple melodic idea, but achieve their greatness in how those ideas are ramified and explored. After hearing this work for the first time I was tantalised – I would like to hear a whole symphony by this composer. I enjoyed the orchestration, particularly the use of piano to compliment percussion. “Revelation” moves through extremely dramatic chaos to find peace, the basis of a true existentially questioning Romantic.

Christo Jankowitz has a SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/christo-jankowitz

After writing these notes I was pleased to see that Maestro Peter Klatzow had a similar ear for the work: “Hints of Mahler – nothing wrong with that!”

.

Christo Jankowitz Revelation, Daniel Boico, CTPO, #ConcertReview

Christo Jankowitz after the performance of “Revelation” by Daniel Boico and the CTPO

Schumann – Piano Concerto
I suppose one of the perks of being a world-class pianist must be the ability to reach inside the pocket of ones jacket and pull out the Schumann concerto! Maestro du Toit stepped up at short notice and gave one of the most profound performances I have ever heard or played on FMR. There is a perfectly good reason why he is everyone’s favourite: he plays beautifully. Taking his time, and with humility, he shows us the lyrical narrative of every line. He recreates the excitement and drama of the concerto with dynamic contrasts in his phrases, and avoids the ego trap of blinding speed and technical display.

To use baroque terminology, du Toit’s lyrical style is French, where he conveys compassion and empathy with the tasteful application of uneven, or inégalité phrasing. Equally comfortable conveying the dogma or forcefulness of fate, he turns to the German style of strict unyielding timing. And there is no load shedding when he needs power! His cadenza picked up an electrifying pace, flying clearly above the full orchestra. I did not need air or food during this cadenza. I needed nothing more than the continuation of the story.

Being a world-class conductor must be similar to being a world-class pianist – Maestro Boico pulled an equally polished performance from his pocket, giving the impression of weeks of rehearsals with the CTPO (a world-class orchestra). He followed du Toit’s tempo and nuance in the piano sections, accelerating slightly for the orchestra’s responses. This gave the concerto an enthusiasm and movement to the orchestra that offset the philosophical piano. The balance and accuracy were exquisite – in the exposition the double basses and du Toit’s left hand were one instrument. The timing in the third movement is extremely advanced. There are passages where “1” seems to disappear and appear again randomly for a few pages: the CTPO maintained astonishing balance and landed perfectly every time. Exemplary solos by Daniel Prozesky clarinet and Sergei Burdukov oboe.

.

François du Toit, Daniel Boico, CTPO #ConcertReview

François du Toit after the Schumann piano concerto with Daniel Boico and the CTPO

Saint-Saëns – symphony no. 3 “Organ”
What an extraordinary work! Boico’s first movement bristled with restless anticipation. There is an unmistakable presence that one feels in the City Hall when the organ’s lights are on – ITS ALIVE! Continuing the profundity of the Schumann concerto, it was as if we waited for an inevitable Close Encounter of the Third Kind. Eventually and benignly, the organ spoke its message to us in gorgeous bassey rumbles that no doubt surprised one or two passing whales in Table Bay. Although rather desperately in need of servicing and tuning, it is never the less the most spectacular instrument that many of us have ever seen or heard. The sound, physical vibration, and transcendental genius of the composer, synergise and create an experience that is quite out of this world. The concert hall became a space ship exploring the outer reaches of the galaxy, with conductor Boico captaining from the bridge, and organist Erik Dippenaar piloting from the helm.

In a demonstration of organic dexterity, Dippenaar played the Bach A-major mass the previous evening, on perhaps the smallest organ in Cape Town, and this Saint-Saëns symphony the following evening, on the Leviathan. He seemed equally comfortable on either one: with clean runs and intelligent phrases. Boico’s conducting style is precise and clear, articulately communicating the levels for sections to create the balance he wants. The CTPO delivered this monumental work with its virtuosic tutti sections amazingly, mastering the often syncopated and tricky timing as well as they did in the Schumann concerto. Boico’s accelerando into the close had hearts racing, sternums vibrating, and minds boggling – This was one to remember!

.

Daniel Boico, CTPO, Erik Dippenaar

Daniel Boico and the CTPO after the Saint-Saëns Symphony no.3 with Erik Dippenaar Organ

.

Christo Jankowitz, Louis Heyneman, Erik Dippenaar, François du Toit, Daniel Boico

After party, from left: Christo Jankowitz, Louis Heyneman, Erik Dippenaar, François du Toit, Daniel Boico

More pictures on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andy.wilding.92

.

Next week the CTPO returns to the City Hall with Daniel Boico and SENSATIONAL soloist Rachel Lee Priday – booking now open!

Ravel – Alborade del gracioso
Prokofiev – Violin Concerto no 1
Rachmaninov – Symphonic Dances

BOOK NOW AT COMPUTICKET OR ARTSCAPE DIAL-A-SEAT: 021 421 7695


OPENING 2 JULY 2016 6:00PM

classical music, live streaming, video broadcastShould Cape Town’s classical music have more international exposure?

Now testing: a new website based on the Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall, streaming the 35th International Belvedere Singing Competition on CapeTownConcertHall.com

Would like your favourite concerts, singers, and instrumentalists to be filmed and broadcast around the world?
YOU CAN HELP!

Log on to CapeTownConcertHall.com and click GET NOTIFIED
or check out the Facebook Event Page and click “Interested”
https://www.facebook.com/events/1122511657787514/

Please help us promote classical music in Cape Town by Sharing posts about CapeTownConcertHall.com with other music lovers!

Cape Town Concert Hall, Belvedere Singing Competition, classical music, live streaming, video broadcast

Peter Martens, Bernhard Gueller – Shaun Crawford Dvořák Tchaikovsky #ConcertReview

Peter Martens, Bernhard Gueller – Shaun Crawford Dvořák Tchaikovsky #ConcertReview

Reviewed by Andy Wilding

Conductor: Bernhard Gueller
Soloist: Peter Martens
Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, City Hall Thursday 16 June 2016

Shaun Crawford – Overture
The opening is enticing – flutes trill enchantingly over a soft bed of strings that blushes in Debussiesque tones. The pastoral air is thick with magic and the promise of exciting adventures to come. A show-piece of Crawford’s talent as a film and symphonic composer, Overture is a resolutely successful journey full of optimism and idealism. It was originally conceived to inspire young musicians, and as such it was well placed on National Youth Day. Crawford encourages international film-makers to take advantage of the Rand by completing their scores in Cape Town, with our world class musicians and production facilities. Examples of his work can be found on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/sdalecrawford

.

Peter Martens, Bernhard Gueller, Andy Wilding, Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, #CapeTownPhilharmonicOrchestra, #CTPO, #ConcertReview, #ClassicalConcertReview

Peter Martens and Bernhard Gueller after performing the Dvořák cello concerto with the CTPO

.

Dvořák – Cello Concerto
Martens has an innate ability to communicate through his instrument. Far beyond technique, he plays “with the blood”. The composer’s intentions seem to make sense to him as a fluent language spoken by his cello, expressing states of being, emotions, states of mind, thoughts, and sensations. His performance was an exploration of the mind and soul of the concerto, delivered in the sheer beauty of his phrasing and clear understanding of line.

Beneath all this, Martens walks on the solid ground of polished fundamentals, which shine in astonishing octave runs, soaring projection over the orchestra at full gallop, and hummingbird trills that hover for a while and then shoot off to another chord note. His pronunciation of staccato consonants and legato vowels is effortless. Vibrato is like a column of incense smoke – beginning strait and undulating as it accelerates.

Dramatic colours emanated from Gueller’s pallet, and the CTPO responded with distinction. The full tutti entry in the adagio was sudden and frightening, immaculate, totally in unison. Alluring solos by concert master Suzanne Martens and Caroline Prozesky horn.

.

Bernhard Gueller, Andy Wilding, Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, #CapeTownPhilharmonicOrchestra, #CTPO, #ConcertReview, #ClassicalConcertReview

Bernhard Gueller’s final upbeat of the Tchaikovsky 5th Symphony with the CTPO

.

Tchaikovsky – Symphony no. 5
Over the last two decades of this writer’s experience, the manner of applauding at the City Hall has passed through a number of behavioural changes. In the mid 1990s it was fashionable to stamp ones feet while clapping, almost like a drum roll. The effect was rather a pleasing roar, above which could be heard applause and one or two whistles. In the last two years (the duration of this review) the City Hall audience has been reserved to clapping and occasionally standing up. That mould was gleefully smashed after the symphony last Thursday, by elated cheering and a full house standing ovation for Maestro Gueller and the CTPO.

.

Bernhard Gueller, Andy Wilding, Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, #CapeTownPhilharmonicOrchestra, #CTPO, #ConcertReview, #ClassicalConcertReview

A full house standing ovation for Maestro Gueller and the CTPO after Tchaikovsky 5

.

Conducting from memory, Gueller delivered an inspired, beautifully phrased performance that portrayed a sensitive and intelligent interpretation. He is a master of dynamics, seeming to nod or shake his head to indicate for a section to play piano or forte, with stunning effect. The composer’s beloved wind section featured excellent solos, and horns were exceptional in their pianissimo triplets. Exemplary ensemble playing by principles Brandon Phillips bassoon, Sergei Burdukov oboe, and Gabriele von Dürckheim flute. Mesmerising solos by Caroline Prozesky horn and Daniel Prozesky clarinet.

.

Shaun Crawford, Louis Heyneman, Bernhard Gueller, Peter Martens, Andy Wilding

Shaun Crawford, Louis Heyneman, Bernhard Gueller, and Peter Martens after the concert

Next week the CTPO returns with Conductor Daniel Boico and pianist François du Toit:

 

Christo Jankowitz – Revelation

Schumann – Piano Concerto

Saint-Saëns – Symphony no.3 featuring Erik Dippenaar organ

 

BOOK NOW AT COMPUTICKET OR ARTSCAPE DIAL-A-SEAT: 021 421 7695

David Juritz Beethoven String Quartets #ConcertReview

David Juritz Beethoven String Quartets #ConcertReview

Reviewed by Andy Wilding

Cape Town Concert Series hosted amazing musicians David Juritz, Suzanne Martens, Karen Gaertner, and Peter Martens for an evening of Beethoven string quartets.
Baxter Concert Hall Saturday 21 May 2016

I love the intensity in a chamber performance. A quartet is really four soloists playing together – each instrumentalist being the soloist for their part. There is no-where to hide. It requires four highly achieving musicians who not only have virtuosic ability in their instrument, but who also have the emotional maturity to relinquish the solo ego in favour of the sound that the composer intended. Last Saturday we were granted an audience with such a quartet. They consulted internationally recognised Beethoven expert Stewart Young, and delivered an exceptional performance of balance and insight.

.

David Juritz, Suzanne Martens, Karen Gaertner, Peter Martens, Andy Wilding, #ConcertReview, #ClassicalConcertReview #CapeTownConcertSeries

David Juritz violin, Suzanne Martens violin, Karen Gaertner viola, Peter Martens cello

String Quartet in C minor Op.18 No.4
Creating tangible tension from the first phrase, Juritz’s mellow melody contrasted excitingly with Martens’ agitated continuo. The hard acoustic of the venue projected the tiniest movement of hair on string, encouraging the quartet to push the extremity of their pianissimo dynamic right down to a feather touch. Phrasing was beautiful, balance exquisite, and tempo fearless in the final Allegro.
.

Louise Howlett, David Juritz, Suzanne Martens, Karen Gaertner, Peter Martens, Andy Wilding, #ConcertReview, #ClassicalConcertReview #CapeTownConcertSeries

Louise Howlett introducing the String Quartet in F major op 135, where they demonstrated the two phrases “Must it be?” and “It must be”.

String Quartet in F major Op.135
It is understandable if some thought Beethoven was going mad towards the end of his repertoire. Even compared to modern geniuses like Shostakovich and Stravinsky, Beethoven bent rules alarmingly, at a time when his audience was barely able to keep up with Haydn! Phrases are interrupted; melodies change from crochets to semiquavers back to crotches; there are spaces of astonishing nothingness filled with wonder; and existential mantras of being, that seem to describe the harmonic mechanics of the Cosmos. Surely these later works were “Conversations with God”, centuries before Neale Donald Walsch learned to write. To my ears, the quartet made such sense of Beethoven’s mystical final work, so that – far beyond the reflection of their own interpretive skill – they resurrected his essence and spoke his mind for all to hear. Beethoven doesn’t live any more, doesn’t walk and slam doors and shout and notate the Universe, but he exists in performances such as this. I was not alone in my philosophy, next to me I heard an audience member during the applause: “It’s so wonderful to be at a concert like this. Everyone is transported into a very special time and space.”
.

David Juritz, Suzanne Martens, Karen Gaertner, Peter Martens, Andy Wilding, #ConcertReview, #ClassicalConcertReview #CapeTownConcertSeries

David Juritz, Suzanne Martens, Karen Gaertner, Peter Martens

String Quartet in C major Op.59 No.3
This was a great example of four virtuosos on stage. The performance was recordable, with exciting moments of seamlessness as Martens’ cello finished Juritz’s violin runs. The unison playing was impeccable. The coda in the last movement is extended, building almost to climax, then receding, gathering more energy, then building again. The quartet sustained intensity without losing momentum, and the resulting suspense was riveting.

.

David Juritz, Suzanne Martens, Karen Gaertner, Peter Martens, Andy Wilding, #ConcertReview, #ClassicalConcertReview #CapeTownConcertSeries