Monday, 26 December 2011

THE BEST OF 2011 (CLASSICAL CONCERTS) as reported on The Straits Times

MAHLER’S Symphony No.9
Singapore Symphony Orchestra
22 January 2011, Esplanade Concert Hall

The Singapore Symphony Orchestra has been living with Mahler’s Ninth Symphony for almost 20 years, and how it has matured with time. Under Shui Lan’s direction, the orchestra is no longer content in accurately churning out the notes but actually living the music and faithfully bringing out the composer’s intentions. Little wonder that SSO was the only Asian orchestra invited to perform Mahler’s symphonies at the 2011 Beijing Festival.

ELGAR Cello Concerto
Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Orchestra / JASON LAI
8 April 2011, Esplanade Concert Hall

Forget about Yo-Yo Ma, because we have in our midst another great Chinese cellist Qin Li-Wei, whose breathtaking account of Elgar’s Cello Concerto is one for the ages. In the same concert, the Conservatory Orchestra directed by Jason Lai also scaled great heights with Richard Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life).

BEST DÉBUTS: Tie between
19 January 2011, Esplanade Concert Hall
27 August 2011, Esplanade Recital Studio

One is a seasoned veteran while the other a fledgling artist, but both have music flowing in their veins. Melvyn Tan made a welcome return after 35 years in exile, enthralling a full house with Schumann, Debussy and Chopin. 21-year-old youngster Alan Choo showed his mettle in Mozart, Beethoven, Biber, Bloch and Saint-Saëns, his prowess later confirmed by winning 1st Prize in the National Violin Competition (Artist Category). Certainly a name for the future.

What we can do less of:

Unruly, noisy students attending concerts. Well-intentioned schools may think they are doing their students great service by packing them into bus loads to attend concerts. However more effort should be made to inculcate in them the finer points of concert etiquette. Courtesy, consideration and commonsense, is that too much to expect?

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