As far back as I can remember, music has been a part of my life. My earliest memory is, as I’ve mentioned before, the Jungle Book vinyl incident. However I also remember spending hours of my childhood poring over “Classical Composers and Recordings” – a book whose name, I feel, is pretty self-explanatory.
I never got around to actually reading about the composers or recordings themselves (seeing as I was only about 5 years old at the time), but the book contained a massive fold out page detailing all the instruments to be found in the orchestra. From violins to double bass, flutes to tuba I could sit for hours staring at that folded out page. Coupled with the records my folks would put on for me, from a fairly young age I was able to pick out specific instruments in each piece of music – a rather pointless talent seeing as I don’t work in the music industry.
By the age of six I found myself in piano lessons which, for children of that age, meant a lot of one-repeated-note pieces such as “The Train” (booooong, booong, boooong) and “The Ants” (ping ping ping piiiiiing). My participation in piano lessons meant entry into various recitals, where most of my performances ended in disaster – I was clearly never destined to be a “piano soloist”. Sitting watching the other performers at these events, I was “SSSSSHHHHHHH’d” often my by cringing father as I inquired at the top of my voice “DADDY? DID HE HIT A WRONG NOTE?”. Clearly I felt that this was the place where everyone just hit random notes on the keyboard.
Although by the age of 8 I had traded in piano for art lessons, the stage had been set for a lifelong passion for music in almost all its forms. My music tastes have expanded greatly since the days of staring at that folded out page of instruments, however I find myself returning often to where it all started for me – classical music.
The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO) kick off their Spring Season this week. After years of lack of funds and poor audience attendance, it is a minor miracle that the beloved orchestra still exists. They seem to have turned the corner in 2018 and have been at full strength, hosting a number of internationally acclaimed soloists and conductors so far this year.
While I no longer loudly quiz dad about the use of additional, non-specified notes in a piece (the JPO don’t hit a lot of wrong notes…), we do have a new game called “what’s the encore?”. You can rest easy knowing that, unlike my piano recitals, we play in hushed tones during periods of applause (“Daddy? Bach sarabande?”).
Do it for your eardrums
Whether you’re looking to stretch your musical preferences or you’re just interested to see who wins the hotly contested title for this season’s “lucky guess” encore competition, I can be found at the Linder Auditorium in Johannesburg every Thursday for the next four weeks. I am pretty sure that the JPO would appreciate your attendance too!
Concerts start at 20:00 and end between 22:00 and 22:30 depending on the length of the pieces. Tickets are available through Computicket and start from R150. Details for each program can be found on the JPO’s Facebook page.
Hope to see you there!