Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Live concerts is the way to live!

For those of you who have never attended live concerts, let me share some of the joys of attending a live performance. Firstly, there is the wonderful experience of getting close and personal with your favourite musicians; then there is of course the pleasure of getting goose pimples when that sound of the violin, horn or guitar pierces through your skin, or when your most admirable soprano hits that very high note and you can feel it cruising through your veins.

Well, for me, I recently had an addition to my list of thrills for attending a live performance. I recently took three friends to the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance, two of whom were seeing a symphony concert for the very time. When they told me it was their first time, I remembered my first symphony concert attendance - I fell asleep about ten minutes into the programme. When I went back the second time, I managed to stay up a little bit longer, and now I’ll do anything to get a ticket! What I found amusing was the fact that people held their coughs and sniffs until the end of a movement. It turns out my friends also found this very peculiar, but now being the more informed one, I explained to them why.

Considering my first experience, I had warned my friends that sometimes the slow movements can hush one to sleep. I told them how they must dress and that they should not clap until the end, etcetera. I have to confess, I was expecting them to dose off at some point, considering the fact that we share the same background, i.e. of complete non exposure to such music. I was so curious about how they felt that I asked them if I could interview them for an article to which they agreed.

To my astonishment, both first comers, Jimmy and Nokwanda said they enjoyed the concert so much they would come back again. Jimmy, who was sitting next to me, could not stop starring at the pianist, Katya Apekisheva, who played Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, Opus 37 in C minor. He was simply taken aback by her performance. Nokwanda related that she loved the performance because it was not something she was used to. For her, it was the beauty of experiencing something different. Wilson, who said it was his third symphony concert attendance, said it was the sound of the instruments that took his breath away.

When asked what it was that they didn’t like about the concert, the first thing that came up was the fact that there were very few black people, both on and off the stage, an observation which I have also made throughout the years. To this my response was that it is not because black people don’t like the music, it is because for a long time it was reserved for a few and therefore most were never exposed to it. It is only now that more young black people are starting to get involved with serious music as the subject of music is introduced into more black schools and communities.

In conclusion, just as it will take a long time for South Africa to undo the damage caused by apartheid, it will also take a long time for black people to get more involved in serious or classical music, but the journey has already begun.

By Iggy Madalane
SABC Music Library

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