KZN Philharmonic Orchestra Virtual Summer Symphony Season

Thu Mar 4, 19:30 - Sun Mar 28, 22:30


Virtual Summer Symphony Season – Concert 1

March 4 to 7

Conductor: Lykele Temmingh

Soloist: Liesl Stoltz, flute

Mozart           Flute Concerto in G Major K. 313

Beethoven    Symphony No. 6 in F Major, “Pastorale”


Celebrating our long-awaited reunion with our audience, the KZN Philharmonic’s opening programme of our virtual Spring Season is aptly devoted to two works penned by two of the world’s best loved composers, Mozart and Beethoven. A relatively early work in his oeuvre, Mozart’s G Major Flute Concerto is a showpiece of unfettered joy and beauty. Richly imbued with delectable melody and elegance, is offers virtuoso performance opportunities for the solo player which are integrated into the orchestral fabric of the accompanying strings, oboes, and horns. Cast in the traditional three movements of the period, its unassuming grace is undershot with imaginative workmanship and expressive power, testifying to a creative genius of Mozart’s sublime stature. The evening’s programme concludes with a performance Beethoven’s universally adored “Pastorale” Symphony. Offered here as a 250th anniversary salute to its creator’s birth in 1770, the work was first performed in the Theater an der Wien on 22 December 1808 during a marathon concert which lasted all of four hours. To this day the symphony enjoys something of a unique reputation. It stands as a symphonic forerunner of the genre of ‘programme music’ which became popular in the Romantic era of Mendelssohn, Schubert and their contemporaries.

Indeed, Beethoven’s “Pastorale” is one of his few works containing explicitly programmatic content, each of its five movements conjuring a specific mood or scene which evokes joyous or dramatic aspects of life in the Viennese countryside.


Tickets for the series of four concerts are R600. Individual concerts are R200 each.



Virtual Summer Symphony Season – Concert 2

March 11 to 14

Conductor:  Schalk van der Merwe

Soloist:  Aristide du Plessis, cello

Mendelssohn    The Hebrides, “Fingal’s Cave”

Fauré            Élégie

Bruch                  Kol Nidrei

Schubert            Symphony No. 8 in b minor, “Unfinished” 


Schalk van der Merwe shows his paces in a mixed programme of 19th century classics. Launching proceedings with the Hebrides Overture - Mendelssohn’s tempestuous evocation of the northern Scottish coastline – the conductor is joined by cellist Aristide du Plessis, performing two works central to his soloist repertoire. Fauré’s Élégie is a short work of powerful romantic intensity, movingly building to a grief-stricken outburst. This is followed by an erratic cadenza, before returning to its opening theme with a brief reminiscence of its haunting middle section. Bruch’s Kol Nidrei, like Prokofiev’s Overture on Hebrew Themes, is a piece of ersatz Judaica, that has achieved such prominence among the composer’s works that he is sometimes mistakenly called a “Jewish composer.” He was in fact a German Lutheran, known for using “exotic” ethnic melodic material. The Kol Nidrei melody, a haunting Aramaic prayer, was handed to Bruch by a member of a choir he directed. He composed the work for cello and orchestra in 1881. Mystery surrounds the interrupted genesis of Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony. Many scholars believe he was intimidated by the towering symphonic reputation of Beethoven, which gave rise to a string of Schubertian musical fragments, notable among them the magnificent torso he abandoned, known to posterity as “the Unfinished Symphony”. Schubert completed and orchestrated only two movements, although he lived on for six more years. This enigma was perhaps best explained years later by Alfred Einstein, who declared, “Schubert could never have finished the work, for nothing could approach the originality, power, and skill of the first two movements.”


Tickets for the series of four concerts are R600. Individual concerts are R200 each.




Virtual Summer Symphony Season – Concert 3 

March 18 to 21

Conductor:  Jeremy Silver

Soloists:  Kimmy Skota, soprano

Mozart           Così fan tutte: Overture

Mozart           Così fan tutte: “Una donna a quindici anni”

Verdi               La Traviata: Prelude to Act 1

Verdi               La Traviata: “È strano! … Sempre libera”

Brahms         Symphony No. 1


British conductor Jeremy Silver shows his stage credentials in a programme laced with extracts from two of the world’s most beloved operas. Mozart’s Così fan tutte – which loosely translates as Women Are Like That – is the bittersweet, third component in the incomparable trilogy of comedies which also included Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni, each penned in collaboration with the librettist Lorenzo da Ponte. Despite the ravishing beauty of its score, Così was dismissed for more than a century after its creation in the late 18th century, as a work of irretrievable frivolity and enigmatic dramatic content. The plot revolves around a wager in which two couples swop partners in a charade of mistaken identity. Since the early 20th century Mozart revival, however, its reputation has ascended to the Olympian heights of the world’s greatest tragi-comedies. Enticing glimpses of Mozart’s dazzling score are offered here by its mercurial Overture, and by one of its most deliciously pert arias, sung by

Kimmy Skota as the maid, Despina. In stark contrast, we are then plunged into the tragic emotional turmoil of Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata, the opera’s heart-rending Prelude, followed by the glittering impact and febrile allure of the heroine, Violetta’s famous Act I ‘grande scena’. With its rugged textures, Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 has sometimes been dubbed “Beethoven’s Tenth Symphony”, owing to its perceived likeness with the latter composer’s Ninth Symphony. Brahms took fourteen years to complete the symphony, which leaves one feeling elated at its conclusion, the experience balanced with the ideals of Brahms’ inherently profound writing.


Tickets for the series of four concerts are R600. Individual concerts are R200 each.




Virtual Summer Symphony Season – Concert 4

March 25 to 28

Conductor: Brandon Phillips

Soloist: François du Toit, piano

Grieg Piano Concerto in a minor

Dvorák Symphony No. 8



We welcome the return of two fine guest artists from Cape Town, as conductor Brandon Phillips and pianist François du Toit close our virtual Spring Season with performances of repertoire from Northern and Eastern Europe. Written in 1868, Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in a minor was the only concerto the Norwegian composer completed. Along with his Peer Gynt Suite, it remains his most popular work, and holds its head high among the best-known keyboard war-horses of the 19th Century’s concert repertoire. Indeed, the a minor Concerto’s iconic status has been said to serve as a template for imitations such as Richard Addinsell’s so-called “Warsaw Concerto” written for the 1941 British film Dangerous Moonlight - no disrespect intended to Grieg’s ever-green masterpiece, which invariably dazzles audiences with its sure-fire combination of Nordic lyricism and bravura fireworks, as leading South African pianist François du Toit is sure to demonstrate. Brandon Phillips closes his programme with a welcome account of Dvorák’s Symphony No. 8 which premièred under the composer’s baton in Prague in February 1890. Unlike its darker hued companions among the composer’s symphonic output, this is a cheerful, predominantly lyrical symphony which draws its inspiration from the Bohemian folk music so beloved of its creator. Simplicity of orchestration is a hallmark of this folk style. Dvorák’s Eighth is not a test of virtuosity, nor of ambition. It simply is what it is - a symphony that aims to please rather than to challenge. Seen on its own terms, it succeeds with impeccable integrity.


The concert is generously sponsored by The Rupert Musiekstigting. 

Additional information

Age restriction Family friendly
Refund policy No refunds

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