Saturday, September 4, 2010
Making History Unawares
To my surprise, they had little trouble with the Tchaikovsky. But the opening of Brahms 3 was an astonishing shambles. It dawned on me that the orchestra was sight reading music that they had never heard in their lives. After a few attempts, they began to grasp it very quickly but the first 15 minutes were terrifying....
To someone who grew up completely drenched in the classical repertoire this was a revelation. The members of the orchestra started saying to me, "Yes ... it's true. We've played Brahms 1,2, and 4 many times. But not 3." They started racking their collective brains. No one, not even the oldest members who have been around since classical music started being played in Thailand ... could recall ANY instance of ANY Thai orchestra performing this symphony.
I am scheduling some orchestra overtime so that they can really come to grips with this work. But it seems that, without meaning to, the Siam Philharmonic is again making history. When we do the Mahler symphonies, we know very well that we are invading new territory. This was meant to be a concert of very familiar romantic works which would not tax the orchestra too much after the strenuous work of Mahler 3.
To explore a great classic through the eyes of people who have never played or heard it before is an incredible privilege. I feel blessed that the Muses have given me this opportunity. It may not be a technically perfect performance on Wednesday but I am sure the "Spielfreude" will be very powerful.
I sincerely hope that all of you will come to the concert (Wednesday night, 8 pm, Thailand Cultural Center).