The Wilby Conspiracy is set in South Africa, at a time when Apartheid was the order of the day. Political activist Shack Twala (Sidney Poitier) finds an unlikely – and reluctant – ally in the form of the British Keogh (Michael Caine). Both Twala and Keogh are scrutinized by racist police official Horn (Nicol Williamson), who hopes that they'll lead him to the hideout of chief activist Wilby (Joe De Graft). Based on the novel by Peter Driscoll, The Wilby Conspiracy abandons its sociological overtones early on in favor of an extended chase. The film reteams Poitier and director Ralph Nelson, who, 12 years earlier, had collaborated on Lilies of the Field.
Having spent 10 years in prison for nationalist activities, Shack Twala is finally ordered released by the South African Supreme Court but he finds himself almost immediately on the run after a run-in with the police. Assisted by his lawyer Rina Van Niekirk and visiting British engineer Jim Keogh, he heads for Capetown where he hopes to recover a stash of diamonds, meant to finance revolutionary activities, that he had entrusted to a dentist before his incarceration. Along the way, they are followed by Major Horn of the South African State security bureau and it becomes apparent that he has no intention of arresting them until they reach their final destination.
The 'Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat Major, K 364/320D' is one of those refined works that is so well written that it exudes genius. Composed for violin, viola, and orchestra the work is a conversation with the two instruments with a beautifully woven tapestry of comment for the orchestra. Violinist Midori and violist Nobuko Imai are not only well paired in technique and virtuosity, they find a compatibility of discourse that is refreshingly fine. Christoph Eschenbach conducts the Norddeutscher Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester with grace and sensitive collaboration. The work is a complete success. The Philip Wilby reconstruction of the accompanying concerto for violin and piano is a fine little piece, if not in the same realm as the Sinfonia Concertante. The performance of this uneven work makes up for the inconsistencies that arise when sonatas are adapted for orchestra. Midori again focuses on her pliant, clear technique and is matched by Christoph Eschenbach's piano role as well as his conducting. It is a minor work played in a major manner.