Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra 100th Anniversary World Tour 2014

A fantastic performance by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra led by conductor Eiji Oue featuring soloist Kyoko Takezawa. A refreshing change away from the usual classical repertoire.

The night started off with the hauntingly lush and majestically epic Bugaku by Toshiro Mayuzumi. The soundscape was gorgeous and I could totally see this as a ballet or a modern dance interpretation, and even a short film. Closing your eyes and listening to TPO, one's inner eye easily conjures up images rich in Japanese history. I can imagine Hayao Miyazaki incorporating it into one of his animations and it would not be out of place.

Miss Takezawa was sublime in Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D major, op. 35. I got goosebumps just from the her first few bars. Her interpretation of this popular classic was filled with soul and spirit, infusing the notes with her emotion. The orchestra backing her did not fail in leading her in and out of her amazing solos, always present and never overshadowing the featured instrument. Miss Takezawa graced us with a short encore of the elegiac Song of the Autumn by Tchaikovsky, and she was accompanied, to everybody's delight, by maestro Eiji Oue on the piano. Beautifully emotive piece.

After the intermission was Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. I totally enjoyed this very different sounding, non-classical, polyharmonic piece. It again aptly illustrated the image that Stravinsky himself had of the piece: "...a solemn pagan rite: sage elders, seated in a circle, watched a young girl dance herself to death. They were sacrificing her to propitiate the god of spring." Again, like Bugaku, the soundscape was lush in its grandeur (the timpani, woodwinds and horns were outstanding!), and somewhere between the strains one can detect a hint of sadness. A gorgeous aural pleasure!

We close the night with a rousing encore of a traditional Japanese piece, and everybody was on their feet by then!

Great night, great performance!


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