Vincent’s Picks for SSO 07/08 Music Season‎

Last week just got my subscription tickets for the 07/08 season. Glad to share with you those concerts to look forward to.

Compared with this season, I would say the coming one is much more starring. Familiar faces return and new stars debut with SSO.
The full season programme can be found here:
from which I’ll pick up those I’m going.

Jul  27   Inspirational Notes
China’s young piano stars are not only Li Yundi and Lang Lang. Chen Sa is considered other rising one. Though I’m not really a piano fan, Ravel’s works are interesting and Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5 won’t be disappointing.
Sep 1    Flights of Fantasy
Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique is one of my top three favorite symphonies. Last month I went to KL to catch LSO’s benchmarking performence of this work. I believe SSO’s version would be very interesting as well.
Sep 14   Pictures of Passion
Pierre Amoyal’s return and Pictures at an Exhibition makes this concert a must go for me.
Sep 29   Remembrance of Things Past
Elgar one of my favorite composers, cello my favorite string instrument. Wang Jian’s return combines these two nicely.
Nov 3     Elgar Anniversary
Not really interested in Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance. I’m crossing my fingers for an encore of "Nimrod".
Dec  1    Messiah
Most opera or vocal classical are in Italian. Thank God we have this baroque piece in English version.

Jan  12   SSO 29th Anniversary
To celebrate the birthday of my beloved SSO.
Jan     18   Russian Rendezvous
To hear a musician "who looks set to dominate the pianistic world for a long time to come”Trpceski on Rachmaninov – Piano Concerto  No.1.
Mar 28  A Season in Dresden 
Every piece of the programme are in my favor.
April 12  Sweet Sorrow
The title of the concert is in my favor. And Kam Ning a local violinist worth to hear.
19  Echoes of China
Hear the sound from my motherland whose soil and water bred me up.
May 24  Rozhdestvensky Russian works
Looking forward to a nice "Winter Daydream" in a hot Singapore summer.

As you see, Sep and Oct 2007 are most mouth-watering months for music lovers. And don’t forget Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra(under name Vienna State Opera Orchestra) and Russian National Orchestra are visiting Singapore in Sep and Oct too. I realize I must starve for these two months already…

Feel free if you need any information or suggestion on subscribing for the whole season or going to a single concert.
As what I said time and time again, classical music isn’t far from anyone. Everyone would love it if they were given a proper chance. And I’m always a free consultant by your side.

Play! the Video Game Symphony

算是Singapore Arts Festival的压轴之一,也是亚洲首演。
  • HALO®
莎木的作曲人来到现场了,并现场钢琴演奏。想听的Silent Hill却没听到….
创意 8分 游戏音乐慢慢已经接近电影音乐的地位,从Play在全球受欢迎程度就能看来。
演奏 6.5分 虽然个别领奏是SSO player,个别熟人也在里面。但明显个别乐器组有缺陷,整体和谐度也差很多。
多媒体效果7分 投影屏幕不是宽屏,尺寸也稍有点少,另外画面和音乐互动不足。
市场运作 9分 新加坡两场均Sold out,各年龄层的听众都有来,其中能看出来大部分很少去古典类音乐会。
Play这种类似音乐会我向来推荐的,尤其是对古典有兴趣的朋友。A good gateway~

My two cents on Tan Dun’s new works and SAF

Last Sunday I went to the highly claimed concert in this year’s Sinapore Arts Festival(SAF) programme. I say it’s highly claimed coz it’s the only serious classical music event in this year SAF, the 30th anniversary of SAF. Next week I’m going for the Play! Video Game Symphony. What a ironic, this year my SAF ends up in first two weeks. Last year I could at least go for some decent orchestras and works. Now I can only recall my musical trips to KL and expect the Oct Sun Festival to come.
Last evening, Dr. Tan conducted two of his new works "Paper Concerto for Paper Percussion and Orchestra" and "The Map, a Concerto for Cello, Video and Orchestra".
For the "paper concerto", what I’d like to say is: in terms of creating effects, classical music is by no mean camparable to computer or electrica music. I can’t agree this a good way to draw more audience to classical music. Instead, it may lose those old fashioned classical people like me…The paper playing did remind me some of the old memories. But more to me is like some bad manner audience playing with plastic bags during a concert..
For "Map": I’m very happy to see Dr. Tan exploring the Chinese folk music resources, as I’m from China. I love my motherland, whose the water and soil bred me up. However the way he interprets the music I can’t really appreciate. I may say it’s interesting, but not really euphonious. For mixing west with east, I still prefer the Butterfly Lovers.
It’s cruelly true that somebody like Tan Dun can have a work played for memory or fun. However it may not be to everyone’s taste. At least not to nobody like me’s taste.

Saturday with A Phantom & An English Genius


于是在一个并不应该清闲的周末,整整一天都泡在了esplanade里。先是看了The Phantom of the Opera的matinee,中间在图书馆借了几张唱片后,晚上又听了一场纪念Elgar诞辰150周年的音乐会。在挤paper、准备考试的紧要关头,我还是多少有点负罪感的这样过了周六。

对于TPOTO,我并不惊讶于她超越cats成为世界第一卖座的音乐剧,而是疑惑的看到新加坡人对其疯狂,居然连续上演50多场。平时每周一次的SSO音乐会都少见sold out啊。多亏Samuel帮我搞到一张,谢。



上周听的是Elgar几个短作品,轻松愉快。而今天的第二交响确实是部极艰巨的作品,无论对听众还是演奏的音乐家们。由于又是赠票,位置稍微离舞台近了点,这部作品听起来很累,甚至有点混乱。当第四乐章结束时,我甚至有点解脱的感觉,因为我期待encore能听到Nimrod。可惜谢幕四次后,我意识到这乐季估计是没机会听现场演奏了。于是在post concert chat中和艺术总监水蓝谈起这个小小的愿望,遗憾的是我被告知下个乐季演出安排也已定,虽然他也很喜欢Elgar却至少要等到下下个乐季才能安排,他也很希望安排迷变奏全曲。

How I miss it?

Jan 19th, Friday evening

22:27pm: 下午交完报告喘口气,看看闲书,翻翻周六要用的slides。

22:30pm: 一个SSO的朋友上线,想到她们团今晚有演出,于是打算询问下演出情况。

22:30:04pm: OMG,我订了今晚演出的票,居然忘了去!

22:30:10pm: 拿出音乐会Calendar;确认了一下昨晚确实是Jan 19th;拿出装票的信封确认一下确实订了票。。。。。哎,how I miss it?



不管怎样,must work hard play hard了

From London with Prestige

Jiří Bělohlávek, conductor,Nikolai Lugansky, piano    30 October 2006 (Mon) Esplanade Concert Hall

MOZART Piano Concerto in C, K467
JANACEK Suite from The Cunning Little Vixen
SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No 6 in B minor, Op 54

A fortnight ago, I went with two friends for the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s debut in Esplanade, meeting another two friends there. Attracted by the prestige and fame of BBC as many of the others, I luckily got a much discounted ticket at the last minute, with a little help from my friend.

Founded almost a century ago, BBC SO has become one of the leading orchestras in UK bearing its name around the world. I was quite pleasantly surprised and expected to hear some authentic English works when three months ago I knew they are visiting Singapore. However, this turned out to be a big disappointment when I saw the repertoire, which was a more compromised program with Mozart and Shostakovich as if a birthday man party.

As the melodramatic tone of Don Juan started off the concert, the incisive string and brilliant brass were implying the BBC SO’s world class skills. Though few mistakes before the tune-in, this piece was still sound enough to capture the audience.

Nikolai Lugansky’s interpretation of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 highlighted the concert with his musical simplicity, though a little bit lack of accompanying and contrast from the string. Three rounds of applauses didn’t bring him back with an encore on the Steinway.

The second half commenced with a contemporary piece from the conductor’s motherland Czech. This time BBC SO was fully energized with its rich tradition in interpreting the modern works. Under Belohlavek’s baton, the orchestra brought the audience into the mother nature with lovely animals and forests with its dramatic and skillful presenting.

The last piece on the programme was Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 6. I can’t recall much from the unemotional performance. Or in another words, it’s not impressive. And I was told SSO done a better one in the same hall two weeks before.

When the maestro back on stage with the first encore, I realized that they just came for pleasing the Asian audience instead of bring some English music tradition. I am sure everyone had heard this piece even if he never been to a classical concert hall or owned a classical album. BBC SO did do a good job when playing this famous English piece. Audience roared and applauded before they hit the last note. This also brought back the conductor for another encore with Dvorak’s dance piece which scattered my bubble dream of hearing Elgar’s Nimrod from Enigma Variations.

After the performance, I asked the maestro Belohlavek in the autography session:”BBC SO has just found its new steersman, where you maestro will lead it in the future? More baroque or classical or romantic or contemporary?”. The music director and conductor immediately told me: “Classical and romantic. Coz the contemporary will always be there itself”. So let’s just see where the BBC flagship is going to.

On the way back home, my friends asked me to give a mark for the concert. As generous always, I gave an 8 out of 10 for the performance. I was satisfied with their skills, consonance and the twenty dollars I paid for. Another friend of mine phoned me she would give the performance 6 marks. At first I thought she was too stingy for flattering, soon I realized she paid at least fifty for the concert. While, most probably I would give 7 if I paid fifty; or 6 if I got the first class with three hundreds dollars. Just as one of my friend’s review title “BBC’s musical buffet leaves one hungering for more”.

咱也上流一次. Musica Antiqua Koln in Victoria Concert Hall

为了纪念成立30周年,Musica Antiqua Koln展开了全球巡演。我也才能有机会如此近距离感受最喜爱的乐团之一。
今天前排预留的位子没来什么人,工作人员允许后排的挑前面的位子坐。作为一个穷鬼"下流人士",我毫不客气地选择了头排中间的座位,看了下上面的预留信息,原来这位子是给泰国驻新大使预留的。左右两旁是给两个部长的,记得其中一个是Minister of Information, Communications and the Arts,也就是传媒艺术部长吧。连主管艺术的都不来,其他部长显然更不会来了。
这次巡演MAK一共来了5个人,其中2个人算是core member,也就是大提琴和羽管键琴。只是Reinhard Goebel没来太可惜了,网站上说是健康原因,bless一下。
音乐会的曲目全部是德国十七十八世纪巴洛克,比较平和、严谨,技巧性并不突出,但MAK音乐家还是表现出了深厚的功底。希望有机会能听到他们演Lully 和 Couperin的作品,我更喜欢那种法式巴洛克的和谐与优雅,就如同他们给Le Roi Danse配乐那张大获成功的唱片。
另一个有点意外的是,Leon Berben 用了clavichord代替harpsichord,虽然这两种乐器听起来非常相近,不过音乐会上的clavichord也算是我见过的最小的了。
音乐会结束后,我跑上舞台请教Leon Berben为什么没有用harpsichord,他回答说太大了,不方便空运,还问我是不是会弹harpsichord,呵呵。我答:"I’m trying to.",没想到他微笑的说"I’m also trying to"。 要知道人家可是Gustav Leonhardt和Ton Koopman的弟子,我连自娱自乐的水准都没达到T_T
German Chamber Music from 17th and 18th Century
Samuel Scheidt (1587 – 1654)
Pavane in a 1624
for two violins, viola and Basso continuo
Johann Philipp Krieger (1649 – 1725)
Sonata F major
for two violins, viola and Basso continuo
Allegro – Soli – Ciacona -Allegro
Georg Philipp Telemann (1681 – 1767)
Quartet B flat major TWV 43:B 2
for two violins, viola and Basso continuo
Spirituoso – Grave – Allegro
Georg Friedrich Händel (1685 – 1756)
Quatuor G major op.5, No.4
for two violins, viola and Basso continuo
Ouverture – Passacaglia – Gigue – Menuet
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)
Ouverture No.5 g minor BWV 1070
for two violins, viola and Basso continuo
Ouverture – Torneo – Aria – Menuet I & II – Capriccio

SSO@The Racecourse

上午绕Jurong Lake跑17KM。
这种环境也就听个热闹,The Beatles goes classical还不错
Sun, 1 Oct 06
7:00pm Parade Ring, Singapore Racecourse (at Kranji)


Lim Yau  conductor

Repertoire/ Programme:

STRAUSS, J. II – Overture to Die Fledermaus
MASCAGNI – Intermezzo to Cavalleria rusticana
ALFORD, KENNETH – Colonel Bogey March
STRAUSS, J. II – Eljen a Magyar Polka, Op. 332
ROSSINI – Finale from William Tell Overture
TYZIK, JEFF – Beatles Hits Medley
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV – Capriccio Espagnole, Op. 34

The Singapore Racecourse comes alive with music this October! Come and join us with your family and children, and celebrate Children’s Day with a difference. A galloping great time awaits you with special treats* in store for the children, and a delightful concert as the Singapore Symphony Orchestra performs tunes ranging from the familiar to the nostalgic.

Back to Victoria with SSO

舒伯特的’Tragic’ Symphony是个比较冷门的曲目。我一向有’悲剧情节’,不过这个小调曲目到真没听出悲来T_T
Fri, 8 Sep 06 – Sat, 9 Sep 06
8:00pm Victoria Concert Hall

Lan Shui  conductor
Nancy Argenta  soprano

Repertoire/ Programme:

BEETHOVEN – The Ruins of Athens: Overture, Op. 113
MOZART – "Voi avete un cor fedele", K. 217
MOZART – "Un moto di gioia", K. 579
MOZART – Don Giovanni: Overture, K. 527
MOZART – Exsultate, jubilate, K. 165
SCHUBERT – Symphony No. 4 in C minor, D. 417 ‘Tragic’
Renowned soprano Nancy Argenta joins the SSO to sing two of Mozart’s lovely concert arias as well as his ever-popular sacred work Exsultate, jubilate. The evening opens with Beethoven’s grand overture from his incidental music to The Ruins of Athens, and closes with Schubert’s Tragic Symphony, which was composed in 1816, a particularly fruitful year in his creative life.

Pipe Works 2006/07 Joanna Paul

我说怎么看着面熟,原来上次Jane Smith Parker音乐会上是她帮忙回答我的问题.
btw,最后一曲Henri Mulet 的作品和他老师Widor的实在太像了…

Thursday, 31 August 2006, 8 pm
Orchard Road Presbyterian Church, 3 Orchard Road

 The Pipe Works organ recital series will be launched this year with a special treat for audiences, as Joanna Paul brings us a unique combination of vocal and organ artistry! A Singaporean herself, Paul mainly resides in the U.K, where she leads her career as organist, soprano soloist, music teacher, adjudicator and choral conductor. She has given recitals at St. Paul’s cathedral, Westminster Abbey and throughout the U.K, as well as Canada, Norway, Salzburg, Germany, and throughout Southeast Asia. She has also appeared as soprano soloist in major works such as Bach’s St Matthew Passion, Haydn’s Nelson Mass and Mendelssohn’s Elijah.


Vocal Works

Pelham Humpfrey (1647-1674)
A Hymn to God the Father

Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel (1690-1749)
Bist du bei mir, BWV 508

Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904)
The Lord’s My Shepherd (Biblicke Pisne Op. 99 No. 4)

Samuel Liddle (1867-1951)
How Lovely Are Thy Dwellings

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
Hear Ye, Israel, And Be Not Afraid (Elijah Op. 70 No. 21)

Organ Works

Johann Sebastian Bach (1686-1750)
Komm, Gott, Schöpfer, heiliger Geist, BWV 667

Johann Sebastian Bach
O mensch, bewein’ dein’ Sunde gross, BWV 622

Flor Peeters (1903-1986)
Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott, Op. 69

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Herzlich tut mich verlangen, Op. 122 No. 9

Max Reger (1873-1916)
Gloria in excelsis, Op. 59

Seth Bingham (1882-1972)
Rock of Ages, cleft for me (Toplady)

Henri Mulet (1878-1967)