Friday, 13 May 2022

An All-Too Conservative JPO Symphony Season

Well, the JPO has released the “new” line-up for its Winter Symphony Season, and it invites concertgoers to a challenging game of spot-the-difference with any previous season. Actually, a more apt challenge would be to put the new programme next to one drawn up by a prudish and dowdy old spinster 100 years ago, and then guess which is which.

Okay, Rachmaninov's Fourth Piano Concerto was written only 96 years ago. The difference is that the spinster – enamoured of Rachmaninov as everyone always has been – would have cheerfully programmed the brand-new piece; the JPO can only love a composer when he himself (rarely she) is entirely de-composed. In my 5 years of attending JPO concerts as a dedicated subscriber, I have only heard about 30 minutes of music written by people still living; that’s about 1% of the music performed by the orchestra.