Last night (19 Jun 2016) the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) performed at Johor Bahru's Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios to bring the JB Classical Music Festival 2016 to a crescendo and magnificent close. It was a fitting finale to 5 days of classical music extravaganza beginning on 15 Jun which took the JB arts, culture, and music scene to a new high.
Conductor Ciarán McAuley (left) said The Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) was excited be back in JB after ten years just as Johoreans were equally thrilled to host the full seventy-piece orchestra again for the first time since 2006.
The MPO led by Ciarán McAuley with Florent Audibert, guest cellist (sponsored by The Embassy of France in Malaysia) were undaunted by the challenges of performing at Pinewood which is a TV Studio as JB doesn't have a purpose built concert hall at the moment.
Princess of Johor, Tunku Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah Sultan Ibrahim graced the event, enjoying the MPO perform One Thousand and One Nights together with a full house of 700 appreciative Johoreans as well as visitors from KL and Singapore.
The concert began with Felix Mendelssohn's Die schöne Melusine, Op. 32 (Overture).
This Mendelssohn composition which premiered in the 1830s was dedicated to Melusine, the female spirit of water in springs and rivers according to European folklore. The mythical Melusine is a woman with a serpent or fish's body from the waist down.
Public Domain Picture
Mendelssohn's composition tells of Melusine marrying a mortal with the promise to never ask about her whereabouts on Saturdays. It is on that one day a week that Melusine resumes her mermaid form. Happy together at first, Melusine's husband eventually broke his promise to honour her request, his curiosity sadly ending their bliss. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.....
The second segment was Schumann's Overture, Scherzo and Finale Op. 52.
Schumann composed Overture, Scherzo and Finale in May 1841. Schumann admired Schubert and Mendelssohn, and experts say their presence can be heard in Schumann's work. Sadly, Schumann was sent to the asylum for complaining that Schubert and Mendelssohn's ghosts were dictating melodies to him.
The third performance, Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, Op. 35 (The Kalendar Prince).
Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's most popular work, Scheherazade Op. 35, is a symphonic suite composed in 1888 based on One Thousand and One Nights (or The Arabian Nights). The orchestration is full of dazzle, colour, and energy with Eastern overtones.
Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) receiving the standing ovation from the appreciative audience after performing One Thousand and One Nights.
After the interval, supported by the MPO, Florent Audibert, cellist with Ciarán McAuley, conductor performed Antonin Dvořák's Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, B. 191.
The Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, B. 191, is the last solo concerto by Antonín Dvořák. It was completed in 1895 for his friend, the cellist Hanuš Wihan, but was premiered by the English cellist Leo Stern in 1895 at Queen's Hall, London, with Dvořák conducting. The Cello Concerto is considered among Dvořák's best compositions.
Florent Audibert acknowledging the standing ovation from the audience after the stirring performance.
Tunku Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah Sultan Ibrahim congratulating guest cellist Florent Audibert and conductor Ciarán McAuley for their stellar performance.
Photo credit: Michael Cheng
👏 Our heartiest congratulations to Suzie Yap Festival Director of JB Arts Festival (second from right) and the JB:IFC team for the successful Johor Bahru Classical Music Festival 2016, transforming JB into a vibrant centre of the arts, culture, and music.
I am looking forward to the remaining activities under the JB Arts Festival.
👏 1 - 7 Aug Indigenous Festival
👏 2 - 26 Sep 13th JB Arts Festival
👏 17 - 20 Nov JB Film Festival
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