Sunday, 17 March 2019

A Wishlist of Upcoming Programmes from the JPO

After an enjoyable Summer Season 2019 at the Johannesburg Philharmonic, which ended this week, and which included some great works that it’s always a pleasure to hear, I’ve put together my wishlist of works that I’d like to hear from the JPO in future seasons. (The Winter Season 2019 programme hasn’t been announced yet, so I’m holding thumbs with one hand while typing this post with the other.) Of course, the orchestra faces many practical constraints, such as having to attract regular audiences who may want to stick to a traditional canon of classics, or the lack of funding required for commissions and rights, or funding to rehearse and perform a work with 100 extra players and rare or exotic instruments. My wishes are likely to remain unfulfilled, but I’d like to hear from other concertgoers if they have similar desires regarding particular works they’d like to hear live.

Bartók: Concerto for orchestra. I’ve been tracking the JPO’s programmes since their relaunch of regular seasons in 2017, and only one-tenth of the programmed works have been composed in the last 100 years. This work premiered 75 years ago, and it remains Bartók’s most popular piece.

Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring. This work is from more than 100 years ago (but only just), though what modern classical composition has been more influential? And what could be further from the so-far solely mellifluous 20th-century works already presented, like those of Gershwin, Ravel, and Bernstein?

Friday, 15 March 2019

Highlights of the JPO’s Summer Season 2019

The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra’s Summer Season 2019 ended last night and, having especially enjoyed a few particular moments during the season, I’ve highlighted them here to preserve the happy memory of them. I attended the Thursday night concert of each week, and I list my highlights below in chronological order, from reading the season’s programme in January through the four weeks of concerts.

1. The inclusion of two works on this season’s programme written in the last 100 years (the Korngold violin concerto, and Ravel’s G major piano concerto).

2. An all-Mozart week, featuring the last and greatest of his symphonies.