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).

17 June 2017

Decoda and The JPO

As the JPO is slowly regaining its feet, the new CEO and Artistic Director, Bongani Tembe, has really brought some interesting musical performances to the table. The Decoda ensemble - a group of 9 musicians affiliated to Carnegie Hall in New York, is one such example. Decoda are in South Africa for a 3 week tour - with shows still scheduled in Durban and Cape Town in the coming weeks.

The concert started with the debut performance of a commissioned piece by South African composer Matthijs van Dijk, Drop - featuring all 9 ensemble musicians and the orchestra. It's a relatively short piece - about 8 mins long, focused around the word "drop" - including water and electronic music references. It was upbeat, fun and very different to the rest of the program; and very enjoyable.

In contrast to previous JPO performances, the second piece was performed purely by Decoda - Lutoslawski's Dance Preludes. While originally written for clarinet and piano, the ensemble has rearranged it for the ensemble; and as noted in the introduction, the arrangement highlights the different instruments in the ensemble. The piece was far longer than the advertised 7 minutes in the program - and well worth the extra minutes :)

The final part of the first half  was Haydn's Symphonia Concertante, featuring the violin, cello, oboe and basson players of Decoda. This is probably the first Haydn symphony that I really enjoyed - again something really different to normal JPO performances; even though this is very much a classical music piece.

After the break, conductor Yasuo Shinozaki, led the orchestra through one of the best performances of Beethoven's 5th Symphony I have heard. It is probably my favourite classical music piece - and the tempo of the final movement was just amazing. It capped off an amazing concert - and things are really looking up for the JPO.

No comments: