PJ Philharmonic Orchestra rolls out the big three – Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven – for its Classical Splendour show.
After almost a decade of playing semi-classical pieces and popular music in its Musical Splendour series, the PJ Philharmonic Orchestra (PJPO) will present a purely classical concert this weekend.
Classical Splendour will take place on July 20 at the Civic Hall Auditorium in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
“We do annual performances and usually, it’s for charity so we keep a low profile. This time, we decided to do something for ourselves. Most of the orchestras in Kuala Lumpur tend to cater to film music and crowd pleasers, so we chose classical music. It has precision, mood and refinement,” says PJPO’s conductor and co-founder Lam Siu Chong.
The 90-minute concert will showcase masterpieces of three famous composers, namely Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s overture to the opera Don Giovanni K. 527, Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.3 In C Minor, Op.37, and Franz Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No.101 In D Major.
The music written in the classical period reflected the changes occurring in society at the time. This was the first era in music history where public concerts became an important part of the music scene. Music was still being composed for the church and the court, but the advent of public concerts reflected the new view that music should be written for the enjoyment of the common person.
Unlike the renaissance or baroque eras, which had many important composers, the classical era was dominated by three: Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.
Most of the important stylistic advances that occurred during this period can be observed clearly in the instrumental forms: the symphony, concerto, sonata, and instrumental chamber music (like the Beethoven string quartets).
“These classical pieces touch the heart easily. They have pure melody lines with no complications. Style-wise, the public will be able to recognise the composers though not many orchestras would choose to perform these compositions,” adds Lam.
Guest pianist Loo Bang Hean will take on the soloist role for the Beethoven piano concerto. Loo studied at the Royal College of Music, London, where he won numerous prizes and graduated with first class honours. Since returning to Malaysia in 1995, Loo has made regular appearances in solo recitals, chamber concerts and concerto performances. A keen collaborative pianist, he is often invited to play with members of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra in their chamber series.
Preparations started six months ago and members are busy fine-tuning their skills as the concert date approaches.
“Haydn is probably the most difficult to handle. Technically, the members enjoy it but we have to play it loud because of the way the auditorium is laid out. We have a lot of trouble balancing the sound of the instruments,” says Lam.
Haydn’s symphony is popularly known as The Clock because of the “ticking” rhythm throughout the second movement.
PJPO, formerly known as the PJ Youth Chamber Orchestra, was formed in 1983 by a group of talented young musicians gathering together to share a common passion for classical music. Today, the orchestra comprises more than 90 members under the able leadership of Lam, who is presently the principal of L & J Conservatory of Music in Petaling Jaya.
Lam believes that when a person plays a single musical instrument, the scope of music, interpretation and appreciation is good, but is limited to oneself and therefore, narrowed.
“When people with a common interest gather to produce quality music, the area of attempting larger repertoire of music can be broadened. Many challenging repertoires can only be achieved by a group of people with the same musical interest,” he says.
Anyone who plays an instrument can join the non-profit community orchestra, which is run by volunteers. Membership is open to musicians regardless of age, talent, musical knowledge or level. Senior members (in terms of music skill) will guide the junior ones along.
“The youngest member is 13 and I’m probably the oldest member at 66!” says Lam, laughing.
> Classical Splendour will be held on July 20 at 7.30pm at the MBPJ Civic Hall Auditorium, Jalan Yong Shook Lin, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Admission is by donation. For enquiries, call 019-383 8573 or 012-619 1993.