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).

24 May 2014

On the over reliance on "experts"

This month, The Economist's Intelligence Life magazine has an interesting article on convergence of opinion with regards to art works. The article argues that due to hype, marketing and just general overwhelming praise (or otherwise) - our own appreciation of art work will be tainted by these wider opinion. The result however is, when one does come across a lesser heralded work, one struggles to understand why it is not considered in the top 10 lists etc. 

This has interesting implications as art (and other things) are commented upon in great numbers via social media; and off course some things have just been condensed down to "Like" or some star ratings. Thus, with increasing number of ratings, is it really possible to distill whether the rating is genuine appreciation or just the convergence by the herd - i.e. since it is a 4.2 star, and I didn't like it, I will give it a 4 - instead of giving it a 2 ...

22 May 2014

JPO's 2nd 2014 Season, 3rd Concert

Indonesian born conductor, Adrian Prabava, shuffled the seating for the orchestra; on a night of some welcome good news for the orchestra. The JPO has been invited to perform as the core orchestra at the Gabala Music Festival in Azerbaijan during August bringing some much needed exposure for the musicians and the orchestra. CEO, Duncan Gibbon, commented that this provides a stronger motivation on why the orchestra needs support from government bodies; but my opinion in the latter matter is more simple. The JPO  needs to attract more audience members more than anything else, and a half full hall witnessing an amazing soloist performance highlighted this very problem.

The current JPO season's fascination with Schumann continued with the overture to his only opera Genoveva; a lively piece performed at a frantic pace. It was not otherwise memorable but enjoyable none the less.

Scheduled Russian soloist Peter Laul did not make it to South Africa; but the last minute replacement - American born but local resident Bryan Wallick - did not disappoint. I have not heard Brahms' 1st Piano Concerto before, and it was quite a strange concerto. Brahms wrote it as a tribute to Robert Schumann; and the first movement is apparently meant to represent grief (of learning of his mental illness and subsequent death); and the movement certainly sounds like a horror/thriller soundtrack in places. The weirdness of the piece for me comes from the mostly segregated performance of the piano and the orchestra - one is almost whispering if not completely silent while the other plays. Regardless, the performance of both were amazing - especially the pianist, which was quite virtuosic despite the claim that audiences were disappointed at the lack of virtuosity  on the piece's debut.

The final piece of the evening, Beethoven's 3rd Symphony was too long for the program. With its long movements, the performance extended well past 10pm. It was a good performance, and I love Beethoven symphonies - but I was ready to leave after the second movement!