Saturday, April 29, 2006

Simple Pleasures

Isn't it amazing how the oldest music never fail to amaze us with their stunning beauty?

It has been a tramatic week filled with non-musical work and tramatic happenings. I shall do away with the details, but thank God, the week ended peacefully. For the first time in the week, I have the time to sit down and study a score in peace. Since the sheet music for J.S Bach's Flute Sonata BWV 1034 arrived this week, the desire for all things new drove me to make it the subject of my study on this beautiful Saturday.

The numerous themes which Bach had used in the crafting of this 4 movement (slow-fast-slow-fast) work are wonderously pure, weaved into one whole seamless musical fabric with such mastery. After studying the score and being moved by it immensely, it set me thinking. Bach's living conditions were far from comfortable, yet all of his pieces of music are filled with either joy, peace or hope, and every single masterpiece shows his yearning for the ideal state of life, where he could be at peace with the his Almighty Father. It's just how miraculous how every single work can be so mightily charged with a strong spiritual meaning. Our beloved Father has been truly gracious to leave humankind with such stunningly beautiful masterworks through His faithful musical servant. Amen.

5 weekdays facing the ugly sides of human nature before finding peace with God through His Word and music. The peace which eluded me for the past 5 days is sure a welcoming phase in my week. I shall be working doubly hard to infuse a Bach masterpiece into my repertoire.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

West Side Story

When first premiered in New York in 1957, West Side Story marked a new milestone in American theater history. Based on a modernised adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, the musical is set in modern New York as a clash between two street gangs. On top of that, the story also highlighted the social problems which plagued the society at that time.

This year, this musical is brought into Singapore. A totally phenomenal performance, and the score by Leonard Berstein is nothing short of brilliant. Directed by Joey McKneely, one of the only three directors authorised to stage this most captivating musical, this musical is brought alive with the heartwarming story, powerful music and remarkable choreography.

This season, we have a group of cast and remarkably energetic cast performing here. Josh Young stars as Tony and Kirsten Rossi as Maria. Truly magical partnership and vocal skills. Both sung their parts splendidly and Kirsten Rossi sure got her Puerto Rican accent out well. The only problem is that her highest registers comes across as overly shrill. Other than that, the other aspects are just marvellous.

Would definitely consider this rare theatre performance nothing short of spectacular.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


I was taking a train to a place that particular evening when I heard an orchestral version of Manuel Maria Ponce's famous composition - Estrellita (A Little Star). I couldn't quite get recall the title at first until I realised that it's a transcription of a guitar work which I've worked on before. Anyways, as the nostalgic music played on, a lovely couple caught my attention. The way they stared into each other's eyes, oblivious of all the people and noise around them, coupled with this special piece of music playing in my earphones, threw me into one of my introspective moods. Once again, I was overwhelmed by the flood of mental images in my mind.

It has been two years and yet, the events are still firmly etched in my mind...

It was one of the most special and memorable nights in my life. I was out with this most beautiful lady for dinner, after which we walked towards the cinema in the city to catch a romance movie with a sweet and lovely plot. What left a deep impression wasn't the events but was the intimate emotional rapport we shared which was more than that of mere friends. As the events and conversations played through in my mind, I was attempting hard to recreate the sensory and emotional affinity I had with the lady that night. Definitely isn't as satisfying, but it was sufficient to cast me into the intense nostalgic mood, with a longing for close companionship.

The mental images ended with us parting outside her house after midnight. She faded into the background, just as the C maj chord is arpeggiated in the sweetest possible way to conclude the piece.

I took off my earphones and broke into a silent prayer for her after that...