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).

01 September 2014

JPO's Fundraising Concert

In collaboration with University of Stellenbosch Symphony Orchestra, the JPO held two fund raising concerts last week; featuring soloists Pinchas Zukerman and his South African born, Canadian wife Amanda Forsyth. The tickets were on the expensive side - this was after all a fund raising concert - but both nights were sold out; although it was not as full as the Joshua Bell concert from a couple of years back.

The evening started with Pinchas Zukerman conducting Beethoven's Egmont Overture. It's a lively piece to start off, especially as Beethoven manages to fill a rather short piece with great symphonic orchestra elements - and the performance was simply superb.

Amanda Forsyth strode on to the stage in a regal flourish, dedicating the performance to her late father - Pietermaritzburg born Malcolm Forsyth - the composer of the cello concerto; Electra Rising.  For the first 3 movements, the piece (to me at least) was the tantrum - of a irate queen for instance, aided by percussion; while the orchestra plays the part of someone desperately trying to calm her down. This scene was further added to, when Amanda Forsyth asked a mother and her small child to move, due to the child's distracting movements in the front row! The last movement is very different - it is as if the tantrum is over, and everyone is ready to sing in happiness together - the symphonic movements are so different, that it is hard to believe it is the same piece! Officially, the piece is meant to mirror the fight against apartheid culminating with the dawn of democracy - but I prefer my interpretation :) As a modern piece, it was actually quite brave for the JPO to put on a concerto of this nature - especially in the context of a fund raising concert - but this is something the JPO needs to do more to survive.

After the break, Stellenbosch University's Corvin Matei conducted Pinchas Zukerman's performance of Bruch's Violin Concerto No 1. It was one of the best violin concerto performances at the JPO, and hands down the best performance of Bruch's Violin Concerto No 1, that I have attended. The performance was simply mesmerising, and fully deserved the standing ovation. 

The fund raising concert had a bit of everything - a very popular piece, a piece from one of the most feted composers, and a modern piece - with very impressive soloists. Hopefully, the JPO has many more!

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