GEORGE NEWS - It was the evening of Wednesday 11 November that the George Music Society successfully hosted the first concert in seven months with the ever popular Charl du Plessis at the piano, with a good sized audience in attendance. It was good to be up and running again.
The concert entitled Freehand opened with Sinding’s Rustle of Spring to encourage us out of our winter wardrobes.
This was followed by two Chopin Waltzes that I found rather bland although Du Plessis explained that the Minute waltz was not written to break the land speed record. The Brahms Intermezzo Op 118 no 2 sounded rather murky and wasn’t entirely comfortable.
The programme picked up with a resounding performance of that old warhorse, Prelude in C# minor, thundering bass and bells ringing, while Beethoven’s simple, Minuet in G and his Symphony No 5 will never be the same again after a thorough cross-over treatment.
Then Du Plessis came into his own, doing what he does best. His free hand performance of four distinctly different pieces based on well-known tunes was masterful.
The hymn Praise my soul the King of Heaven and Beethoven’s Ode to Joy (in this case Peace) resounded through the theatre.
Throughout the evening Du Plessis had been light-heartedly telling us what he was going to play but the next piece needed further explanation – making a “prepared” piano, by stuffing cloths and other implements between the strings of selected notes to produce a totally different, but pleasant sound.
Fun was had with Du Plessis improvising on themes suggested by the audience with the ghastly Für Elise being treated as a Tango – a great improvement.
These improvisations were truly remarkable showing Du Plessis’ complete understanding of musical structure producing a piece of worth.
The concert ended with Astor Piazzolla’s Libertango and another, final improvisation encore.
Charl du Plessis is a talented pianist, able to play the entire spectrum of piano music; from strictly formal through cross-over to lively jazz, and an evening with him will always be different and thoroughly enjoyable!
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