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).

04 November 2011

Exotic - JPO's 4th Season 5th Concert

Since the first draft of the 4th season program, published at the back of the program for the 3rd season - this is the concert I was really looking forward to. And I made sure, that I would be back from Cape Town in time to attend. Unfortunately, the general attendance of the concert was poor; with a lot of empty seats - they missed one of the best concerts in recent times for the JPO.

The concert started with The Overture from Rossini's opera, La Cenerentola (or Cinderella). A very lively piece, it defined the mood of the concert in general. It started in a somewhat halting fashion, as various instruments in the orchestra played short pieces; but it slowly merged together to really showcase orchestral music in full flow.

I had never heard a double bass concerto before, and this was the reason for my initial interest. The soloist, Venezuelan Edicson Ruiz, is a product of the El Sistema (as was the conductor, Christian Vásquez); and has a claim to fame as the youngest ever member of the Berlin Philharmonic; further piqued my interest. The first concerto, Hoffmeister's Violone Concerto, D major was interesting, but I wouldn't say remarkable. The second concerto, following the break Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf's Doublebass Concerto, E-flat major - oh wow. The first and third movements were fast and lively - but it is the second, middle movement, which is fairly slow (and quite somber) that really shows off the double bass as an instrument. It was quite mesmerising; and Edicson Ruiz is a very lively performer (unlike most classical soloists), shadow conducting the orchestra or swaying with the music, as if he was dancing with the double bass; while not performing. He really looked fully engaged with the music and nothing else - and it was a performance to behold.

After the classical European composers, the next set of pieces were from Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera's ballet Estancia (The Ranch). The selection was particularly notably for the wide variety of percussion instruments, making the pieces very lively - as one would associate with Latin dances; and there was a rousing applause from the audience after the performance.

The last piece of the evening, was Mexican composer Arturo Márquez's Danzón no. 2. There is a romantic musical feel about it, but at the same time feels like it is part of a dance; or perhaps even a party. It was a great piece to end of the evening; and the performance got a well deserved standing ovation from the audience.

It is unfortunate that the hall wasn't packed - and perhaps, the JPO should consider holding cut price sales - half price or even lower, but only 1 hour before the show. It makes no sense to have an empty theater after all. There is one more performance - tonight at the ZK Matthews Hall in the Unisa campus. This is a concert that should not be missed ...

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