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 2015

Buskaid and Melvyn Tan

Buskaid performances are becoming a regular feature of the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival; and this year's concert was one of the highlights in Buskaid performances.

Rameau almost inevitably features in a Buskaid concert, and this year, his Overture to Pigmalion started off the rather short first half of the concert. Of the performance pieces this year, it was my least favourite - but that is not to detract from the performance itself.

At last year's concert, Sarasate's Navarra with 2 violins and orchestra featuring Kabelo Monnathebe and Simiso Radebe, was one of the highlights. It is a piece that shows of the soloist's virtuosity - and it is a testament to the talents of the senior Buskaid members. Debuted last year, Sancho’s Dance Suite by Julian Grant, a suite specifically written for the Buskaid finished off the first half.

In the first few minutes of Mozart's Piano Concerto No 12, there is only a few bars of the piano - as the string orchestra led the performance. Then, Melvyn Tan rolled up his sleeves and got stuck into the piano - and his performance with the Buskaid was mesmerising. He seemed to relish playing with the Buskaid - in the pauses while the orchestra takes over, he was paying more attention to the orchestra than Rosemary Nalden's conducting, seemingly bobbing his head, or shadow conducting to the music. And when the piano came to the fore - he was there, perfectly in time, and giving it his all. It was clearly an emotional performance - and one of the best piano concerto performances I have attended; a performance that thoroughly deserved its standing ovation.

I have head Aram Khachaturian's Waltz from Mascquerade Suite many times - though I wouldn't have been able to name it. The Buskaid members came on wearing masks, and played a perfect rendition - and a lively way to link up to their familiar Kwela and Gospel finale. The Buskaid has just finished recording a CD with 34 Kwela and Gospel numbers - none of them transcribed onto actual scores; and every concert seems to have a few new ones. It is a lively ending to the concert, and it is what makes Buskaid special.

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