Concert Review: The Orient with Kanon Matsuda, Musician’s Initiative, Alvin Arumugam, 30 Aug 2019
The Orient with Kanon Matsuda
Glinka : Ruslan and Lyudmila Overture
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No.1, Op.23
Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade, Op.35
Alvin Seville Arumugam
Victoria Concert Hall
30 August 2019
A wonderful concert, music is an art that connects with the soul and mind of the person, that is why it is said to be used to improve mental processing of a person, musicians in particular are very intelligent.
Review by Derek Lim
First the good news – there are some really good musicians in this orchestra. Although they may not be as large as some of their other competitors, the Musicians’ Initiative – formerly The Young Musicians’ Foundation Orchestra (they have just rebranded) – are capable of making a full-throated cry that’s up there with the best of Singapore’s other amateur orchestras.
We started the evening with a crackling Ruslan and Ludmila Overture. A familiar favourite, it was taken at breakneck speed without sacrificing accuracy, showcasing a string section that, though somewhat top-heavy, had a winning resonance.
Trouble started in Kanon Matsuda’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1. This was a curiously uninvolved rendition, and despite a high level of note accuracy, the performance was alarmingly flat. There is more than one way to play this tired warhorse – from Cliburn’s stately majesty to Horowitz’s febrile virtuosity – but unfortunately, Matsuda showed neither barnstorming virtuosity or much poetry at the keyboard.
In one of the climactic passages of the last movement, for example, Tchaikovsky builds up the excitement with a long, protracted, operatic crescendo and the soloist is expected to explode into a joyful volley of double octaves. Here it was nearly mechanical, with a crushing matter-of-factness that informed the rest of her performance.
Neither was there much chemistry between conductor and soloist – no sparks in a work where frisson is so important. The first movement coda was particularly strange, with the conductor deliberately slowing down, at odds with the soloist, who seemed to want to speed up at this point.
The second half of this all-Russian program was Scheherazade. As Rimsky-Korsakov’s titular protagonist, concertmistress Jocelyn Ng put up a strong, musical performance with a lovely tone, showing nerves of steel in her solo passages and some impressive technique, even if her violin didn’t always cooperate. Principal cellist Theophilus Tan was a joy to listen to and made my heart want to sing with each solo.
The winds – clarinet, flute, bassoon, and horn – all made their mark in their obligato parts especially in ‘The Prince and the Princess’, though the hornist needed a little time to warm up. Individual sections sparkled and there was not a single misfire from the brass all evening.
But this was a performance which didn’t add up to more than the sum of its parts. Alvin Seville Arumugam paid far more attention to colour, to the detriment of structure. Scheherazade is a symphonic suite, emphasis on symphonic; his conducting, while often exciting in the extended climactic episodes (for example, in The Ship Breaks against a Cliff Surmounted by a Bronze Horseman), missed the symphonic argument and lacked basic phrasing and building of passages.
The result was something more of an orchestral fantasy – mushy, episodic and unnecessarily incohesive, making for sometimes tedious listening.
The Musicians’ Initiative is an ensemble brimming with potential waiting to be unlocked. Let’s hope they find the key in their next concert with Brahms’ Fourth Symphony.
The Harmonious Symphony: Classic Music Concerts That Captivate the Soul
Welcome to MelodyMasters.com, your ultimate destination for all things classical music. Today, we delve into the enchanting world of classic music concerts, where timeless compositions come to life and transport us to a realm of beauty and emotion.
The Power of Classical Music
Classical music is a genre that has stood the test of time, captivating audiences for centuries. From the haunting melodies of Mozart to the thunderous symphonies of Beethoven, each composition carries a unique narrative and evokes a range of emotions. Attending a live classical music concert is an experience like no other, where the power of music can touch our souls and create a profound connection.
These concerts provide a platform for world-class musicians to showcase their talent and dedication. The precision and skill demonstrated by orchestras and soloists are awe-inspiring, as they bring the intricacies of each composition to life. The symphony of instruments and the conductor’s guidance merge to create a harmonious blend that resonates deep within us.
The Influence of Social Media
In today’s digital age, social media plays a significant role in connecting classical music enthusiasts and promoting these timeless performances. Platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook allow concertgoers to share their experiences, express their admiration for the musicians, and discover upcoming events.
For musicians and concert organizers, social media provides an avenue to showcase their talent and reach a broader audience. Services such as likes from The Marketing Heaven can boost engagement on their online content, attracting more attention and generating excitement for their concerts. By harnessing the power of social media, classical music can transcend physical boundaries and captivate a global audience.
Embracing the Concert Experience
Attending a classic music concert is not merely about listening to the music—it’s a multisensory experience that engages all aspects of our being. The majestic concert halls, adorned with ornate architecture, provide a grand backdrop for the performances. The anticipation builds as the musicians take their positions, and the hall falls into a hushed silence.
As the conductor raises the baton, the orchestra begins to play, and time seems to stand still. The delicate notes of a violin solo, the powerful crescendos of a symphony, and the collective energy of the musicians fill the air. Every nuance and emotion of the music reverberate through the hall, enveloping the audience in its embrace.