Cape Town Philharmonic Winter Season Premier

Cape Town City Hall – Culture Trip

Last night Cape Town Philharmonic 2019 Winter Season premiered at City Hall. The musicians did not disappoint! I reserved a seat in the upper bays – a great location for watching the orchestra in action. Over the years, I’ve seen them perform from just about every vantage point in the Concert Hall. One memory is sitting in the high balcony during a heavy storm listening to the sound of raindrops on the glass dome, as the orchestra performed below.

Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra City Hall – wikipedia.org

Robert Moody, American guest conductor, made his Cape Town debut last night. Moody is Music Director of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and the Arizona Musicfest.

The program included three captivating compositions:

Robert Moody Conductor – memphissymphony.org

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“Samuel Barber had the gift of writing sustained melodies that flow easily and have a high degree of expressiveness.”

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Robert Moody Conductor

In addition to Robert Moody’s positions with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and the Arizona Musicfest, he’s been associate conductor, resident conductor, and music director of symphony orchestras all over the world. Moody is “equally at home in the opera pit, with pops, and at chamber music and choral concerts”. His intense interaction – conducting without a baton – with the orchestra was impressive.

Cape Town City Hall Pipe Organ

Moody began his career as an “apprentice conductor for the Landestheater Opera in Linz Austria”. In 2018 he “completed an eleven-year tenure as Music Director for the Portland Symphony in Maine and a thirteen-year tenure as Music Director of the Winston-Salem Symphony in North Carolina”.

Cape Town City Hall – travelground.com

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“Antonín Dvořák was the first Czech composer to achieve worldwide recognition. He lived a rich musical childhood in Prague.”

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Ceiling Cape Town Concert Hall

Moody is a “champion” of Mason Bates, Composer in Residence with the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. He “commissioned / conducted Bates’ first full orchestral composition”. Moody has recorded CDs, collaborated with other artists, and participated in concerts to “aid the fight against multiple myeloma“.

Bryan Wallick Pianist – El Paso Pro Musica

Bryan Wallick Pianist

Bryan Wallick “gained recognition as one of the great American virtuoso pianists of his generation”. He was gold medalist of the 1997 Vladimir Horowitz International Piano Competition in Kiev.

He “plays regularly in the US, Europe, and South Africa”. Wallick studied at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Juilliard School of Music New York, and Royal Academy of Music London. He’s a “noted chamber musician, performing at Carnegie Hall and Wigmore Hall in London”.

Cape Town Orchestra Pit from Concert Hall Bays

Wallick has lived in South Africa for twelve years with his South African wife and their three children. With “mixed feelings,” he’ll soon return to the US.

In 2015 Wallick created Schalk Visser and Bryan Wallick Concert Promotions. He “performs with many of his artists in recitals around South Africa”. The audience loved his flawless performance of Barber’s Piano Concerto!

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“In Middle Europe, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 sometimes receives the nickname Fatum or Fate.”

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Program

My Homeland Czech Composer Antonin Dvorak

Composer Antonin Dvorak is a favorite of mine. His sonata My Homeland has two song themes. The overture was written for a patriotic play “depicting the beginnings of Czech theatre”. The folk melody became Czechoslovakia’s national anthem.

Samuel Barber Composer – Mystic Stamp Company

Concerto for Piano and Orchestra Op. 38 American Composer Samuel Barber

Concerto for Piano is an exciting, complex composition in three movements. Moody aptly described it as “a bit mischievous”. A New York publishing house commissioned Barber to write the piece – his first concerto. The composition premiered at Lincoln Center in 1962. In 1963, Barber won the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his concerto.

Symphony No. 4 in F Minor Op. 36 Russian Composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

The powerful, dramatic composition is sometimes described as a “reflection of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony”. Tchaikovsky’s movements vacillate from powerful bursts of brass to soft strings, a “plaintive oboe theme,” and delicate woodwinds.

Cape Town Philharmonic is dear to my heart. I was especially happy to hear an Antonín Dvořák composition during this memorable evening! Tchaikovsky and Barber were icing on the cake…