When the earth shook in Tokyo this afternoon, there were two orchestral concerts scheduled for the evening.
The Japan Philharmonic Symphony was playing at Suntory Hall with chief conductor Alexander Lazarev a programme of Stravinsky’s violin concerto (soloist Yano Ryoko) and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet suite. Not much is known to me of this event except that, despite a paralysis of public transport. it went ahead without incident.
The New Japan Philharmonic, with guest conductor Daniel Harding, were performing Wagner’s Parsifal prelude, followed by Mahler’s fifth symphony at Sumida Triphony Hall. Barely 50 people managed to attend out of an expected 1,800 but Harding reported a ‘wonderful atmosphere’, with one elderly man walking four hours across town to get there.
Getting home was another matter. The orchestral musicians bedded down on the floor of the concert hall, unable to get home. The conductor was driven back to his hotel at snail’s pace, covering five kilometres in two hours. He posted a picture of the traffic jams taken from his bedroom window
and settled down to watch England play cricket on the telly against Bangladesh.
Spirit of the Blitz? Alive and well.
Tomorrow’s concert will go ahead, public transport permitting.