William Walton described his Johannesburg Festival Overture as a "non-stop gallop" - and that fits perfectly with this performance of the Overture by the Bundesjugendorchester (National Youth Orchestra of Germany) conducted by Alexander Shelley. The peppy, upbeat concert took place at the 2019 Young Euro Classic festival at the Konzerthaus Berlin.
Sir William Turner Walton (1902 - 1983) composed his Johannesburg Festival Overture in 1956 on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the South African city of Johannesburg. The wish was that the commissioned composition should include "African themes". Walton, who was a master of orchestral music and had also written film scores, fulfilled the commission, among other things, by using the main theme of the piece Masanga in his concert overture ( 04:06 and 07:01 ). Masanga was composed by the Congolese composer Jean-Bosco Mwenda (also: Mwenda wa Bayeke), who was popular in many African countries at the time. The premiere of the Johannesburg Festival Overture took place on September 25, 1956 at the City Hall in Johannesburg. That same year, the catchy Johannesburg Overture was also performed in Walton's native Great Britain. He subsequently reworked it several more times.
The Bundesjugendorchester was founded in 1969 by the German Music Council. Talented young musicians between the ages of 14 and 19 are chosen to play in the orchestra. Together with world-famous soloists and conductors, the young musicians work on both standard classical works and also contemporary repertoire. Since 2013, the German National Youth Orchestra has been sponsored by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Young Euro Classic festival takes place every summer in Berlin's Konzerthaus am Gendarmenmarkt. It is an important platform for young European classical music talents. This is where the classical musicians of the future meet.
© EuroArts Music International
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