SSO pops concert: spirited away – the music of joe hisaishi (15/02)


conductor: joshua tan
piano: shane thio
cello: ng pei-sian

oriental wind, for orchestra
my neighbour totoro, orchestra stories (narrated by william ledbetter)
departures, for violoncello and orchestra
saka no ue no kumo, for orchestra
one summer’s day (spirited away), for piano and orchestra
kiki’s delivery service, for piano, percussion, and strings
summer (kikujiro), for piano and orchestra
water traveller, for orchestra

one summer’s day
my neighbour totoro

i hate to say this but it was actually rather disappointing. this is because i sincerely believe that the venue was not the best venue to hold a concert for an orchestra, even though they were supposedly playing pop songs. the dynamics were not clear; mostly microphones and speakers were used to project the sounds in order to reach an audience of 3,800.

what i liked was the interaction between the emcee and the conductor. it felt slightly contrived at times but at least gave an insight to the personality of the conductor, who otherwise is always a silent figure. he turned out to be a pretty funny person, which was pleasant to discover. 

ng pei-sian played the solo for departures, and what struck me the most was the emotions he put into the piece. at times i wondered if his fingers hurt from all the effort of playing; i also thought about how he cradled his cello as though it were his lover. and i thought, that was so beautiful. i could sense his emotions from the way he played, and as an ex-musician, it moved me greatly. he is a very talented young man. the other pieces that i liked were actually just one summer’s day and summer. they were my favourite hisaishi pieces to begin with, and it was delightful hearing them live, especially with a great pianist. the dynamics were much clearer and i guess it was because it featured primarily the piano.

overall though, not as good as i had expected it to be but at least it was hisaishi and it made it slightly better i guess…


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