A classical venture to see the philharmonic orchestra
I pushed myself out of my musical comfort zone this week and headed to the Wits Linder Auditorium to watch a performance by Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra.
The night’s pieces were by Strauss, Prokofiev and Elgar.
Call me uncultured, but I had no idea what I was in for. I quickly learned that the typical concert consists of three pieces played in three distinct segments.
The first piece was a short Strauss Wind Serenade in E-flat major. It was a nice short little intro into the next segment: a Prokofiev solo cello performance by young Russian musician Alexander Ramm. Ramm, who was born in 1988, has been playing publicly since the age of nine. He has won various awards and is currently a student at the Moscow Conservatory.
His set was the longest of the three pieces; it was followed up by an encore performance as well – much to the confusion of the members of the orchestra.
The encore piece Cassado Suite, by Spanish musician Gaspar Cassado, consisted of three dance movements. It had influences from Spanish and Oriental folk music as well as Impressionism.
The final piece, Elgar’s Enigma Variations, Variations on an Original Theme, was played by the full orchestra and conducted by South African conductor Gérard Korsten. It was the grand finale and received loud applauses from the nearly full audience.
After the two-hour performance, I felt a bit more learned – it was nice to break away from the usual indie-rock sets at Kitchener’s or the drum and bass at The Bohemian and listen to some calming age old classics.