About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

26 August 2011

All the Americans - JPO's 3rd Season, 6th Week

The final week of the JPO's 3rd Season featured only American composers; and while the Russian week (1st week) was quite traditional, this week had a lot of jazz influence. The JPO's Principal Guest Conductor, Bernhard Gueller was on the podium for the week.

The first piece of the evening was Gershwin's "An American in Paris", which was also played by the MIAGI Youth Orchestra in May this year. Overall, I think this performance was better - it felt a bit more alive, and the jazzy components stood out a lot more. It really gave the vibe of the Parisian cafe from before WW2 (as depicted often in movies).

The second piece was Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F, with Nina Schumann, (or rather Prof. Schumann, as her students would call her :)) at the keyboard. This piece had even more jazz influences, and was one of the best piano performances I have heard at the JPO.

Aaron Copland's "Corral Nocturne" from his Ballet Rodeo, was the most traditional piece of the evening - very soothing, and calm.

The last piece of the evening was Leonard Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from the "West Side Story". Taken from the Broadway hit (also scored by Bernstein), the Symphonic Dances give an orchestral performance of 9 songs from the musical (though they are not arranged in sequence of the story). Once again, there was a lot of "modern music" influence, a lot more Jazz in feel; and was definitely different to the traditional JPO fare. In some respects, I think the JPO should perform a lot more of the newer crossover pieces, as it opens up the concert to a much wider audience. I would particularly like to see scores from movies performed once a season to get a wider audience involved.

No comments: