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).

08 February 2014

Buskaid Chamber Concert

St Mary's - a private girls school in one of the richer suburbs in Johannesburg is quite an ironic location to host Buskaid - an ensemble from one of the poorer suburbs of Johannesburg. The Edge, a brilliant auditorium with amazing acoustics paints the gulf between the haves and the have-nots - Buskaid is after all still struggling to add on to their music school.

Buskaid returned for the third year running to the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival, playing yet another eclectic mix of composers, spanning a few centuries; ending off with the Buskaid tradition of kwela. For me, the highlight was Tiisetso Mashishi playing Max Bruch's Romance for Viola and Orchestra Op. 85; but all the pieces were well performed, and well received by an almost capacity audience. 

Buskaid performances are always a highlight and deliver some of the most joyous musical performances on stage. And they definitely deserve to play in the best venues available.

07 February 2014

JPO's 1st 2014 Season, 1st Concert

The 2014 concerts for JPO started this week, and for the first time, I decided to get season tickets. For the last few seasons I have managed to go to almost every concert - and the discount makes sense. The seasons have been shortened to 5 concert weeks this year - perhaps it is a cost saving move. The first concert featured conductor Brandon Phillips from Cape Town, and acclaimed pianist Christopher Duigan from Durban - making it an all South African affair.

The concert started with Liszt's Les Préludes, S97 (Symphonic Poem No.3) - which was a bit longer than I expected, with a lot of different moods - which is explained by the origins of the piece. In fact, the entire piece is like a classic story arch - there is a mostly neutral set-up narrative, followed by arguments and strife concluding with celebration and everyone living happily ever after. It's a great piece to start off the year!

Liszt's Piano Concerto No 1 is one of famous piano concertos,easily recognisable, Christopher Duigan played it brilliantly. I think I enjoyed it more than Ben Schoeman's performance in 2011 - but that could be just due to the passage of time! Christopher Duigan's encore (given seemingly quite reluctantly, after the 3rd round of applause), was a Liszt transcription of a Donizetti opera - was amazing; and got an equally appreciative applause.

Dvořák's 6th Symphony rounded off the evening, and of the evening, my least favourite. To me, it just didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the concert line-up.