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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO)

Lately, Xell and I seems to have developed a hobby to go MPO on weekends. We've been to a few already and more to come. The most recent one we went to would be one of those MPO Light Classics.

The programme details are as below:-

Programme Guide

Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra
Matthias Bamert
Alexander Toradze piano

BACH (STOKOWSKI) Toccata and Fugue in D minor (BWV565)
RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No.3 in D minor (Op.30)
DVOŘÁK Symphony No.9 in E minor (Op.95) – “From the New World”

Americana from an Englishman, a Russian and a Czech. Bach’s famous organ work was given the full Hollywood treatment by the English–born conductor Leopold Stokowski in the soundtrack to Disney’s Fantasia. Rachmaninov’s ravishing Third Piano Concerto, also the star of a great movie – Shine – passionately expresses his homesickness from American exile, and Dvorák’s symphony – containing, in its ravishing Largo, one of the finest melodies ever written – was intended as an aural postcard of the sights and sounds he encountered during his time in the States.

If you are one of those who goes MPO quite often, then it's very common for you to listen to orchesetra music conducted by Matthias Bamert. He is the Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor if MPO. It is also a standard for every MPO session you attend, there will be a guest musician which he might be playing violin, piano, cello... etc.

For this session we went to, it's actually what they play for the Opening Gala Concert which is on Saturday. We went for the Sunday one instead since it's cheaper. Besides, not everyone can get tickets for the opening. For MPO, there's always a month or so break where there will be no performances at all and the Opening Gala Concert is sort of to state that the brand new season of MPO has started again.

I wanted to attend this concert quite badly because I really wanted to listen to
Toccata and Fugue in D minor. If you guys listen to Vanessa Mae when she very first came in to the music industry, I think she made quite a hit with this piece. Anyway, this version we listen in MPO is very different from the Vanessa Mae version.

This version is orchestrated by the late Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977) and this piece is used in the opening scene in Disney's classisc 1940 movie - Fantasia. This version is much slower than the Vanessa Mae version. But I like it anyway. XD

As for the guest musician for this concert is Alexander Toradze in which he performed solo on the piano for
RACHMANINOV - Piano Concerto No.3 in D minor. Being someone who loves piano and can play piano but not very good at it, I must say he is excellent. The duration for this piece was about 40 minutes long!!! Although he didn't play 40 minutes straight, but he did play at least 35 mintues non-stop. He is that good that he memorize the entire thing and needed no piano scores at all. (yeah yeah... I know most musicians can do that, but I can't help to be amused!) Most of the time, I saw him playing with his eyes close and full of emotion. Since the music is really sad, and he's got this very sad expression. He's like totally into the music.

As for the third piece, I know J fell asleep and Xell wanted to sleep too! haha... I must admit it's quite boring (although its nice). The music was quite slow and DAMN LOOOONG!!! 43 minutes!!

Anyway, it's overall an excellent experience. We shall see which concert to go next!

By the way, concerts on Sundays usually are not too expensive. The cheapest is priced at RM 20, but you will be sitting right at the front. RM 40 you get better seats in the centre or side further up where you can see the stage more. To purhcase tickets you can go to MPO's website. Certain concerts tickets does sells out faster than usual, so it is advisable to purchase your tickets earlier.


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