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