SSO Presents: Brahms' Second



By Samantha Lee

Last Friday night, at the Victoria Concert Hall, audiences were treated to an enlivening performance by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO).

Under the lead of German conductor Claus Peter Flor, the orchestra beautifully delivered two symphonies of Haydn’s and Brahms’ that lasted for almost two hours.

Austrian composer Haydn had a remarkable profligacy as a composer and over the course of his 106 symphonies, he had been known as the “Father of the Symphony”. His most celebrated pupil was none other than Beethovan. ‘The Clock’ was inspired by Haydn’s visit to London and the English audiences. Back in the old days, London audiences were infamous for their ill manners and disregard for punctuality. They would talk loudly across the concert hall with their drunken lips and invariably arrived late citing the most common excuse at that time – an extended dinner.  Worse still, most of them would be “gripped by the magic of the music that they promptly fell asleep”.  In order to amuse his audience, or at times give his orchestra the chance to enjoy a joke at the audience’s expense, Haydn introduced little tricks and humour into his music. For instance, the second movement was a dig at the lack of punctuality with the music imitating the ticking of the clock.

For the second half of the night, they performed Brahms’ Symphony No.2. Composed during Brahm’s time in Pörtschach, the piece encapsulated the pastoral environment at Pörtschach – clear blue skies, sunshine and cool green shadows. The first movement started off with a gloomy tone and as it progresses into the second and third movement, the mood metamorphosed into a lyrical and cheerful one. Ending off in the fourth movement was a dramatic and high- spirited outpour of joy.

As the night came to close, the audiences at the Victoria Concert Hall broke into an unceasing round of applause. It was truly a remarkable performance and everyone there that night could surely vouch for that.