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).

27 February 2014

JPO's 1st 2014 Season, 4th Concert - Beethoven

The penultimate concert for the first season featured an all Beethoven line-up, with Bulgarian conductor Martin Panteleev on the podium. It started with one of the most well known (short) orchestral pieces - Egmont Overture; which combines all the best parts of Beethoven's symphonic creations in a single, short piece. It was well performed by the orchestra, and enthusiastically received by a rather sparse audience.

There was a slight change from the published programme, with Zanta Hofmeyr's concerto recital of the Violin Concerto taking place before the break (instead of after). I am not as familiar with the concerto - except for the very familiar 3rd movement; but the length did warrant its performance after the break in my opinion. Concerto performances make it interesting to observe the soloist's reactions; especially in long pauses where it is only the orchestra performing - as in the first movement, where the soloist slowly, and quite tentatively joins in after what it seems like a couple of minutes. And the piece is quite interesting on how the soloist goes from a tentative participant to a commanding presence in the final parts of the concerto; slowly bringing out the virtuoso performance. It was an amazing performance, that fully deserved the standing ovation. 

The concert finished off the evening with the Second Symphony; which after the first half was a bit of a let down after the majestic performances of the first half; and another motivation for the concerto to have been the final piece!

26 February 2014

Movie: 12 Years a Slave

The movie reviews and the general history of slavery do not really prepare you for the brutality of the story recounted in 12 Years a Slave. More than any other movie exploring the subject of slavery, the director and the actors manage to encompass both the physical and mental battles - and the absurd contradictions. On one hand slave owners treated slaves as animals; as property; yet they also lusted after the women for sex. 

The acting performances are amazing across the board and they definitely deliver one of the standout performances of the year. 

This is a difficult movie to watch, not an "entertaining" movie, but definitely one that needs to be watched - so that the atrocities and the thinking are never repeated.