The Johannesburg Musical Society is the city’s oldest musical organisation (now 115 years old) but it seldom fails to deliver fresh sounds to its audiences. The September 2017 concert by the Trio Neuklang (“new sound”) was a prime example of this.
Nikolai Abramson on clarinet, Arthur Hornig on cello and Jan Jahmann on the accordion thrilled most members of the audience. There were a few for whom the tangoised and shortened versions of the classics were sacrilege which they did not enjoy, but the rest of us loved the concert.
Each of the musicians is a master in his own right and together the ensemble is vibrant and musical and positively delightful.
The theme was “Goodbye Astor” and on examining the programme I was initially disappointed to find no Piazolla on the programme at all. Even The Four Seasons was the Vivaldi, not the Piazolla, version. Schubert, Rachmaninov, Brahms, Grieg, Velasquez all appeared on the programme to thrill the audience.
There is a quality of humour, almost spoof, in the works of the great composers being rearranged in tango style. It reminded me of Victor Borge, except that it had a more serious element. Delightful, but not a spoof, rather becoming a beautiful set of musical sounds in its own right. An arrangement of three great piano concertos was dedicated to the “daughters who studied piano” although most of these would not have reached the heights of Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto or Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto. A medley of Mozart’s Serenade in G (Kleine Nachtmusik)/Symphony No 40/Rondo alla Turka, jostled with another more startling piece, the Requiem, also by Mozart. Dmitry Shostakovich’s Jazz Suite No 2 would surely have thrilled the original composer. The showy piece of the evening concluded the formal programme in a thrilling rendition of Night on the Bare Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky.
We did get Piazolla as the encore.
The Johannesburg Musical Society’s next concert is on 21 October 2017 at 20:00 and it will feature Zuill Bailey on cello with Bryan Wallick on piano at the Linder Auditorium. The last concert of 2017 for the JMS will take place on 11 November 2017, also at the Linder Auditorium, and also at 20:00. Gloria Campener will be the pianist. For more information phone 011 728 5492 or 083 228 2917.
Take a listen to the Vivaldi Four Seasons arrangement here: https://vimeo.com/153251175