Fantasy fun from ECPO

IN WHAT promises to be a festive conclusion to the orchestral year, the Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra will present its final concert of the season, Fire and Fantasy.

It will be a programme of exciting Spanish, French and Russian dance works by De Falla, Ravel and Prokofiev.

This “invitation to the dance” takes place on Sunday at 3pm in the Feather Market.

Well known conductor Alexander Fokkens will conduct the orchestra, and the 2010 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner, violinist Samson Diamond, will make his first appearance as soloist in Port Elizabeth.

Spanish composer Manuel de Falla’s Three-Cornered Hat, a ballet suite, tells the story of a magistrate infatuated with a miller’s wife, and of his attempts to seduce her.

The work, based on Andalusian folk songs, is colourful, exciting, and vividly expressive, and re-established Spain on the European classical music map.

It was composed for the Russian Ballet company of the famous impresario Diaghilev, and has become a cornerstone of 20th century orchestral repertoire.

Maurice Ravel’s Tzigane for Violin and Orchestra – a work described by Ravel himself as “a piece of diabolical difficulty” – captures the flamboyant character of Hungarian gypsy life.

Well qualified to perform this challenging work with the ECPO is Diamond – presently concertmaster of the Free State Symphony Orchestra and leader of the Odeion String Quartet.

Growing up in Soweto, he began studying violin through Rosemary Nalden’s acclaimed Buskaid Soweto String Project and furthered his studies in England, with a master’s in music performance with distinction from the Royal Northern College of Music.

He has performed for Queen Elizabeth and Nelson Mandela and returned to South Africa in 2009 to invest his talent and passion in a younger generation, and inspire them to travel a similar journey.

Sergei Prokofiev’s ballet masterpiece, Romeo and Juliet, rounds off the programme. In its original form, it was described as “undanceable” by the famous Bolshoi Ballet, and was significantly revised by the composer, before being finally performed in Russia by the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad in 1940.

From the three original suites, Fokkens has selected some of his favourite movements.

Tickets for Fire and Fantasy are available from Computicket at R80 and R95, with a limited number of pensioners’ and pupils’ tickets at R60.

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