Monthly Archives: February 2013

Buenas Noches

Music of the Night

RAVEL – Introduction and Allegro
DVOŘÁK – Serenade in E major, Op. 22
FALLA – Nights in the Gardens of Spain
MOZART – Symphony No. 35 in D major, K.385 ‘Haffner

SSO
Okko Kamu conductor
Thomas Hecht piano
Gulnara Mashurova harp

(Concert information courtesy of SSO)

In a strange series of events, I exchanged tickets of another show (which had its programme changed) for this concert, and very fortunately, it proved to be a magical night.

Opening the scene with (one of) Ravel’s landmark chamber piece(s), the Introduction and Allegro shimmered and shone. A passionate cellist and finely emotional (guest) first violinist played the foil to a slightly aloof but supremely refined Mashurova (harpist), and a pair of woodwinds (flute & clarinet) and yet another violinist rounded out the intimately blended septet.

The star of the night, however, was undoubtedly the evergreen Serenade, with a fresh breath of life instilled in pleasantly surprising fashion by the trademark ebb-and-swell of Kamu’s and balance of Lu Wei’s presence. Apart from a slightly flat note from the lower strings at the first few chords,  the remarkably responsive and moderately echo-y acoustic synergised with the gusto and sensitivity of the orchestra turned an almost over-heard piece into a melodious journey spanning vast tracts of emotional ground.

It was somewhat curious then that the curtain closer was a Mozart symphony. A deceptively cool smoke-against-the-fiery-background Falla preceded the symphony, with a matchingly suave Hecht setting the atmosphere and playing the sparks to the smoldering embers of the tutti, igniting them ever so often and unexpectedly.

The finale of the “Haffner” carried the hangover of later styles from the other works in the programme, yet maintained a cleanliness and a notable degree of cohesion that makes good Mozart great, jokes about cheesiness and immaturity aside. Despite not being the finale that a Dvorak fanboy like myself would have liked, the symphony ended the concert like a fresh white does a memorable dinner.

 

Manuel de Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain Part 1 and Part 2 – embedding disabled by request

Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro, 1923 Recording

Dvorak’s “American” Quartet (recorded by Prazak Quartet)

Reflecting Fool

and I left two doors open
prior, open in the hallway I wandered along
which was first is of little comfort
nor meaning

they gazed into the mirror at the end
at the end of the labyrinth
the maze of my idiosyncracies
staring back at me

and a sweet smell
Oh, how sweet it was it glided on the wind even
after you were gone and
my mind was closed again

“When not committing slippery-slope fallacies, Khong and his staunchest supporters make poorly substantiated claims intended to persuade through irrational fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Regardless of one’s point of view, we must address the pressing issue of religion and its role in this debate.”

The Liberal Arts in Singapore

windows

By Wei Jie Koh, Yale-NUS ’17 – See bio

This post is about an ongoing saga involving a megachurch pastor, a network of more than 40,000 Christians, and the LGBT community in Singapore. This series of events has re-ignited a heated debate over local LGBT issues. The outcome has the potential to affect not only LGBT people, but also the role of religion in the public sphere.

Religion and Politics in Singapore

What should the role of religion be in Singaporean society and politics? Simply put, Singapore is a secular nation. The government is separate from religious institutions. Policies should be constructed without influence from religious values and should not unfairly discriminate against or benefit any particular religious group. Article 15 of the Constitution also guarantees every person “the right to profess and practise his religion and to propagate it”. Religious groups have the right to free exercise, but they…

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Eulogy #1

Twilight was my
favourite, I would
love the wind in the
streaks of red
flashing orange and violet when
my planetary gaze
wandered off in search of sights planes above my
Earthly pavement, my shell, my dust that was my
body.
Stardust, all of it,
held together by sand, as sand goes
to sand and dust –
a speck finds my eye and thin lashes flutter
while time stands still. I blink

The darkness slams shut all that lights the land and the crush of night swells swiftly from the edges of the gloam and swallows indiscriminate
The dawn breaks screaming to the cry of the Sun
but
offers
no feeling of life

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