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.

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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.

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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!

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Louis Heyneman, Rachel Lee Priday, Daniel Boico

Louis Heyneman, Rachel Lee Priday, Daniel Boico

 

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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)

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

Maria Kliegel, Bernhard Gueller, CTPO – Bruch, Dvořák, Bloch, Beethoven

Maria Kliegel, Bernhard Gueller, CTPO – Bruch, Dvořák, Bloch, Beethoven

Reviewed by Andrew Wilding

Cape Town Philharmonic and Youth Orchestras, City Hall, Thursday 12 November 2015

This concert was dedicated to CPO board member Ronnie Samaai, mentor to many of Cape Town’s current professional musicians. As a glimpse into the future, I always find our Youth Orchestra encouraging to watch, and last night they honoured Mr. Samaai with a polished performance of high standard.

Brandon Phillips with the Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra after the Dvořák

Brandon Phillips with the Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra after the Dvořák

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Curtain Raiser – Dvořák – Symphony No. 9 (iv.)
Brandon Phillips, Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra

Conductor Brandon Phillips achieved a professional pace and good balance, with strong strings against Dvořák’s beloved trombones. His energised and physical conducting style is an agreeable blend of uniqueness and accuracy, and draws a comprehensive response from the orchestra, delivering dramatic dynamics while maintaining sufficient reserve for the climaxes. The CPYO performed outstandingly, particularly woodwinds, with excellent running flutes in the new world theme by Madré Loubser and Robert de Vries, and masterful control from William Hendricks, clarinet. The coda was concise and crisp – in all areas a most encouraging performance.

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Maria Kliegel, Bernhard Gueller, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra

Maria Kliegel after Bruch, Kol Nidrei, with Bernhard Gueller

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Bruch – Kol Nidrei
Maria Kliegel, Bernhard Gueller, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra

Quite a way into this work I realised that I was too spellbound to make any notes! Kliegel is phenomenal. Far beyond mastering the demanding techniques of an imperceptible attack and limitless legato, she demonstrates extraordinary knowledge and effortless use of natural harmonics to echo the ends of her phrases. Even more mesmerising, is her ability to use bow harmonics, which were clearly audible throughout her longer strokes. Her sound is exquisite – a contemplative, meditative delivery of each phrase, as if she were merely observing the melody naturally growing from within the instrument.

 

Bloch – Schelomo
Maria Kliegel, Bernhard Gueller, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra

In her second appearance, Kliegel sang of the lush exotic romanticism of one of history’s most illusive figures – King Solomon. She interpreted the loosely-metered introduction in the style of ancient Indian, Middle Eastern, and Klezmer music, where the mode or raga of the piece is stated and explored through free improvisation, before developing into the rhythmic section. Kliegel performed as if phrases were coming to her in the moment. She narrated with a humanism that seemed to span every major emotion, and reflect on the wonderful magnificence and pointless wrongs of the world. Her cello was a contemplative observer of joy and suffering alike, acknowledging as if looking down from above, occasionally becoming involved with appropriate passion, indignation, sensitivity, or hopelessness.

Extremely complex, the work comprises frequent mood changes and often portrays the disparateness that occurs when differences can not be resolved. Fragments of the orchestra wonder off in different directions, and accelerate away from the central tempo. It must be maddening to play, and it is a great accolade for the Cape Town Philharmonic to deliver this work at the international standard that we heard last Thursday. Their synchronism was amazing – perfect entries after pauses, even with percussion. If this concert were broadcast and viewed internationally, the world would see a top performance by cellist, conductor, and orchestra.

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Bernhard Gueller, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra

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Dvořák – Noon Witch
Bernhard Gueller, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra

Rather a dark tale, this is never the less, a very magical work and these are always delightfully, and animatedly brought to life by Gueller’s characteristic exciting, dynamic style. We often hear the layering of parts, so that each has its own space in the sound. Atmospheric parts are a softer, in the background, to highlight the melody or soloist, wonderfully illustrated with the appearance of the witch: wispy wraith-like violins supported the wonderful mysterious resonant tones of Brandon Phillips, wearing his bassoonist hat. The winds had much of the descriptive work, sounding convincingly mediaeval and folky, with stunning synchronisation between Daniel Prozesky’s clarinet and the flute of Gabriele von Durckheim.

 

Beethoven – Symphony No. 7
Bernhard Gueller, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra

As a piano student of Beethoven specialist Dr. Stewart Young, I have long been a supporter of the “new school” concerning the tempi of Beethoven’s works. The metronome was invented during his time, and the issue of tempo markings is clouded because his metronome seems to have been faulty – many of his tempo markings are absurdly fast and impossible to play. For this reason, most publishers omit tempo markings from Beethoven’s scores, leaving only the Italian terms: allegro, andante etc. However, recent scholars of music such as Dr. Young, David Zinman, Kurt Zandar, and Bernhard Gueller, seem to agree that some clarity can be found with Beethoven’s pupil: Carl Czerny. Czerny’s tempo notes at performances given by Beethoven or approved by him, still exist. It is largely from these notes that accurate tempi can be allocated.

One difference in the “new school” is that some works are quite a lot faster than interpretations by the likes of Klemperer and Karajan. When it comes to the symphonies, the higher tempi makes them rather more challenging for orchestras, and this makes sense to me because Beethoven was after all a virtuoso. To play his violin concerto is among the greatest achievements, sonatas are among the most challenging – should we not then expect that his symphonies would be equally demanding? By Czerny’s indication, the symphonies could be interpreted almost as concerti for orchestra.

Gueller’s tempi for the four movements of this symphony were very close the only recording in the Fine Music Radio library that I will play: the Zinman, with the Tonhale Orchestra, Zurich. Both Gueller and Zinman give a decidedly Czerniesque interpretation that demands virtuoso from the instrumentalists, and fortunately, we have an amazing orchestra, who rose to the challenge with accuracy and synchronism. If Gueller’s recording with the CTPO were available in the Fine Music Radio library, I would have two to choose from!

References:
http://www.twopianists.com/Catalogue/TP1039053.html
http://www.petermartens.co.za/recordings.html
http://thebeethovenproject.com/how-fast-shall-we-play/

 

#ConcertReview: Glinka, Mozart, Scriabin – Olivier Charlier, Elizabeth Frandsen, Esewu Nobela, New Apostolic Church Choir, Victor Yampolsky, CPO

#ConcertReview: Glinka, Mozart, Scriabin – Olivier Charlier, Elizabeth Frandsen, Esewu Nobela, New Apostolic Church Choir, Victor Yampolsky, CPO

Reviewed by Andrew Wilding

Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, City Hall, Thursday 18 June 2015

 

Congratulations Brandon Phillips - CPO's new Resident Conductor!

Congratulations Brandon Phillips – CPO’s new Resident Conductor!

 

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Glinka, A Life For The Tzar – Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, Victor Yampolsky
It’s always a wonder to me that orchestras are able to adapt to an enticing procession of visiting conductors and their idiosyncratic styles of tempo keeping and entrance indication. Last night we were fortunate to have world renowned frequent guest of the CPO Victor Yampolsky returning to the helm, with an overture that was both an endorsement of his skill and a testimony to the adaptability of the CPO.

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Mozart, Violin Concerto No. 3 – Olivier Charlier, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, Victor Yampolsky
Charlier’s character proceeded him – in the hush of anticipation before the soloist entered the stage, instead of hearing a pin drop we heard him practising something, perhaps a phrase from the concerto?! He left us to our musing for a few endless seconds before confidently striding on. Throughout the tutti introduction, his reactions to the various part entries were animated and sometimes quite comical, hinting that we were about to hear something of the whimsical, quirky nature of this often over-dramatised composer.

Charlier’s entry and first subject were confirmation of many things – quirkiness not the least, but in addition: excellent projection, flawless intonation, and simply beautiful tone. He is a highly charismatic performer who seems to embody the idea that “presence” or the “X-Factor” comes from the involvement of the whole body in producing of the sound, not just two sets of mechanical fingers. Charlier played with such Paganiniesque intensity (his thrown staccato was immaculate) that at times I thought he would levitate. Meanwhile, Yampolsky kept a stately pace that complimented and offset the violinist’s virtuosity. The second movement was like floating through Heaven on a gondola, eating bite sized caramel clouds, watching Charlier occasionally flying around and showing off doing somersaults. It was “dream andante” at it’s best, an enthralling performance of this concerto.

 

Olivier Charlier, Victor Yampolsky, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra

Olivier Charlier and Victor Yampolsky after Mozart Violin Concerto No. 3 Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra

 

Scriabin, Symphony No. 1 – Elizabeth Frandsen mezzo, Esewu Nobela tenor, New Apostolic Church Choir, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, Victor Yampolsky
Our journey began with a perfect entry from the horns over oceanic strings, guided by minimal directing from Yampolsky that seemed to acknowledge the skill of the orchestra, providing the tempo merely as framework. Excellent performances by Susan Martens and Gabriele von Dürckheim, Elizabeth Frandsen, and Esewu Nobela. I was equally impressed with the New Apostolic Church Choir’s presentation, clear diction, and rhythmically accurate consonants. Yampolsky returns to conduct the CTPO next week for Maestro Peter Klatzow’s 70th birthday celebration.

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What is your favourite symphony? Please take the Classical Top 100 survey – all you do is write your favourites! Click here:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1bvmQqYbnlBqDYa9Ih3x8zLpZuKqdNcB38wbEL_-jP4g/viewform

 

Concert Review: Borodin, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky – Oxana Yablonskaya, Dmitry Yablonsky

Concert Review: Borodin, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky – Oxana Yablonskaya, Dmitry Yablonsky

Reviewed by Andrew Wilding

Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, City Hall, Thursday 2 April 2015

The Yablonskys From Left: Oxana Yablonskaya, Dmitry Yablonsky, Janna Gandelman. Dmitry is Oxana’s son, and takes the masculine form of the family name Yablonsky. In Russian, the feminine form of the family name ads an “a” or in Oxana’s case, “aya”. Janna and Dmitry are married.

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Borodin, In the Steppes of Central Asia – CTPO, Dmitry Yablonsky
The enchantment of the opening melody was immediate – we were transported exactly as Borodin intended, to a windy grassland of lakes, yurts, and distant snowy mountains. We were treated to world class solos from the wind section and excellent low volume control by the horns. Yablonsky conducts with an unassuming confidence that communicates well with the players. They kept a suspenseful pace that highlighted the dynamic ability of the orchestra, and held this tempo as the work transforms into the majestic coda, richly embellished by warm shiny trombones and full juicy strings. It was a most delicious hors-d’oeuvre!

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Rachmaninov, Piano Concerto No. 1 – Oxana Yablonskaya, CTPO, Dmitry Yablonsky
An extremely technical and difficult work, this concerto was first written when Rachmaninov was 16, and then underwent a number of revisions. It contains all the ambition and imagination of the young prodigy’s developing signature style, with occasional splashes of Tchaikovsky and Grieg. The pianist plunges immediately into a virtuosic, rapid melody in octaves, and it was a genuine pleasure to watch an artist of such calibre as Yablonskaya taking the roll of the story-teller in this spectacular show piece. Beyond her jaw-dropping technique, she creates amazing dynamics within phrases that bring to life Rachmaninov’s journey through beautiful mindscapes, with sudden changes in temperature and scenery.

The cadenza was explosive – a thundering, powerful narrative told by an enchanting orator, utterly compelling – spellbinding. Yablonskaya interpreted with the charisma of one performing a solo sonata, which I find perfectly placed in this concerto as the piano is undoubtedly the hero of the story. I enjoyed her dramatic sense of timing, good volume above the full orchestra, and when needed, her fingers run like clockwork! We are very fortunate to have procured Yablonskaya for this and the next concert, Beethoven’s Triple concerto.

After much encouragement, Yablonskaya presented a Scarlatti sonata – the perfect encore. It was like relaxing with a refreshing ice tea after an exhilarating voyage.

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Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 3 – CTPO, Dmitry Yablonsky
Conductor Yablonsky’s style is easy on the ears. His subjects and sections were sensibly phrased and well built, which highlighted the form of this remarkably influential work. His beats are clear, at the top of his arc, causing concise entries even with the full orchestra in fragmented rhythms. The symphony, 1875, contains many themes from the Swan Lake ballet, 1875-1876, which Yablonsky presented lyrically and with a wonderful sense of movement. Another noteworthy influence is the amazing running section by the flutes, reminiscent of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumble Bee, 1899-1890. Tchaikovsky’s beloved winds had plenty to do, performing the balletic melodies with allure and grace. Bassoonists Simon Ball and Brandon Phillips are to be commended, mastering alternating octaves and tricky triplets; horns were stunning with an unusually long, seamless pedal tone requiring expert breath control; and clarinets Beatrix du Toit and Oscar Kitten were magical with rippling arpeggios over a deep sea of cellos.

Yablonsky maintained his majestic style that carried him into the phenomenal, ground-shaking coda, releasing all reserves, and leaving the audience with a smile.

At the reception after the concert, I was talking to a retired architect who described how he likes to go on a journey or “trip” in his imagination, while listening to a piece of music, which is exactly how I first connected with music from the romantic period. I wondered how many others accept the invitation of the composer and performer, to allow the participation of our imagination with the story being told. Are composers and performers are like hypnotists, offering us the choice to follow the journey, or remain unmoved?

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Don’t miss the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra next week!
Beethoven Triple Concerto
Schubert Symphony No. 8 “Unfinnished”
Stravinsky The Firebird Suit

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Conductor: Dmitry Yablonsky
Soloists: Oxana Yablonskaya – piano, Dmitry Yablonsky – cello, Janna Gandelman – violin
Thursday 9 April 20h00, Cape Town City Hall

Bookings: Computicket or Artscape Dial-A-Seat: 021 421 7695

Concert Review: Melanie Scholtz, Faan Malan, Brandon Phillips, CPYWE & CPYO

Concert Review: Melanie Scholtz, Faan Malan, Brandon Phillips, CPYWE & CPYO

Reviewed by Andrew Wilding

Thu 19 Feb, City Hall

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Cape Philharmonic Youth Wind Ensemble (CPYWE) – Faan Malan conductor
Fanfare from “Also Sprach Zarathustra” – Richard Strauss; Freedom – Michael Smith; Suite of Old American Dances – Robert Russell Bennet
From the first note of this hair-stand-on-end, float-in-space rendition, I was reminded of the powerful emotional appeal that classical music has to anyone on Earth who is open to it. I found myself wondering again how one would go about merging the classical concert audiences to include not only the city, but also the whole of Cape Town. Conductor Faan Malan was clear and specific in his musical direction, and the CPYWE followed him immaculately. The evening was hilariously hosted by Good Hope FM DJ Carl Wastie, who had us in fits of laughter at his Top Billing impressions.
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Melanie Scholtz
Skyfall – Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth; Jump Swing Fever – Arr: John Higgins
Things heated up with stunning jazz singer Melanie Scholtz performing Adele’s “Skyfall”, followed by an irresistibly catchy swing number. What a voice – lyrical and wistful, powerful and enchanting, she has an amazing range of dynamics and emotion. The CPYWE was deftly balanced by Malan to provide a strong, sensitive accompaniment.
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Cape Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (CPYO) – Brandon Phillips
Light Cavalry – Franz von Suppe; La Forza del Destino – Verdi
The young orchestra was outstanding, with tight entries from the brass, fantastic themes by the trumpets, and beautiful lyricism from the strings. Phillips is a confident conductor, his beats are clear and concise, at the top of his baton. I was impressed at his masterful handling of the 2/3 poly-rhythm in the coda of the von Suppe Light Cavalry overture. The soft sound-pallet of Verdi’s La Forza del Destino offered both orchestra and conductor a chance to demonstrate their dynamic range and brilliant technique, with strings like caramel, a heart-melting theme by the clarinet and flutes, and wonderful warm tones from the horns and trombones.

The Cape Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and the Erub Children's Choir conducted by Brandon Phillips

Klatzow’s Kom Saam Met My Na Toorberg with Cape Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and Erub Children’s Choir

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Erub Children’s Choir – conductor: Lizl Gaffley, accompanist: Keith Jenneker
A world of differences – Pamela and Joseph Martin; I believe / Ave Maria medley
The children’s choir stole the show! In my understanding, children’s choirs should be heart-warming, wise, sweet, and remind us how simple world peace seemed when we were that age, but first prize is to make us question why world peace should be any more complicated after we “grow up”! I was delighted to have that First Prize feeling, listening to the Erub Children’s Choir last night. They hit the sweet spot! Excellent presentation, good diction and pronunciation, impressive intonation, and a well balanced sound from their conductor Lizl Gaffley. They were everything a children’s choir should be – I could here them again any time.
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CPYO, Erub Children’s Choir – Brandon Phillips
Klatzow’s “Kom Saam Met My Na Toorberg” is a captivating medley, richly and creatively orchestrated, engaging to the trained ear yet playfully innocent, kind of Prokofiev in Disney Land, with a few fun quotes ranging from old Mac Donald to Sibelius. Phillips brought it to life, creating a dynamic story which highlighted the percussive alliteration by the librettist Philip de Vos.

Lord of the Dance – Ronan Hardiman Arranged by Larry Moore
The finale was a spectacular orchestral arrangement of stirring Celtic melodies, opening with a goosebumps theme in the winds, and picking up to a full tilt river dance that had the audience clapping in their seats, and required all of our restraint to avoid running onto the stage and doing a Michael Flatley stiff arms tap routine. The strings did exceptionally well keeping up with the excitement which progressed to a scarcely believable accelerando into the coda!
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Catch the CPYO’s next performance with Brandon Phillips at the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (KKNK) in Oudtshoorn: 3 – 11 April 2015