Thursday, September 02, 2004

Respite -- Sort Of

Okay, if you haven't already heard from various sources, yes I passed the exam. :)

Here's something else you may have heard: I'm totally exhausted. After months of preparation, followed by 2 weeks of intensive studying and 1 hellish week of actual face-to-face interaction with our panel of examiners, I returned to work less than 24 hours after receiving my results, and haven't had a day off since. I didn't blog because I COULDN'T. And this sensation of something that resembles euphoria ( but isn't quite so ) gave me insomnia, which is the last thing I want right now, aargh!

Remember that scene in What Lies Beneath, when Michelle Pfeiffer's left hand clutches the side of the bathtub as she struggles to get up after being drugged and almost drowned by Harrison Ford? That's exactly how I feel. Talk about inappropriate affect.

Gil Shaham's Performance With The SSO

This was an unexpected move on my part. After an incomprehensible evening listening to Stravinsky and Britten being pounded out by the London Symphony Orchestra earlier this year, I thought I'd sworn off all classical concerts, until a fellow colleague and friend persuaded me to check this one out. Good thing the ticket prices weren't insane for once, or I definitely would've passed on the opportunity.

Thankfully, I enjoyed myself this time round. The atmosphere was a lot more relaxed, and the music actually palatable, featuring Rossini, Tchaikovsky, and a beautiful rendition of the Butterfly Lovers Concerto -- a piece my companion is very familiar with, and kept telling me is "really really nice" ( yes, you're absolutely right! :)).

This is the first time I watched the full SSO in action. Honestly speaking, I thought they were pretty good. However, if they play anything "experimental", I'll still stay away.

Gil Shaham turned out to be a very lovable personality. Plumpish and always smiling -- he tends to beam at the conductor and the audience when he's resting in between solos -- he's also very friendly, as evidenced by his patience and considerate greetings during the after-show autograph session.

Skills-wise ( I'm not a violinist, so take this with a pinch of salt ), I was duly impressed. This was my first solo violinist performance, having only watched the likes of Nigel Kennedy, Itzhak Perlman and Joshua Bell on television. I can't break down and analyze something as subjective as music appreciation, especially when I know next to nothing about the itty-gritty stuff, and can only go with my gut feeling. But again, all I can say is: I loved it, so in my book, I'd rate that as an excellent evening. :)

On a lighter note, my friend and I had some good laughs along the way. For example, during a bit in the Rossini piece, when the piccolo player got a little high-strung and hit a few wrong notes. They were reportedly recording that, so maybe a little bit of digital tweaking is in order, heh heh. :D
Then, somewhere towards the end of the Butterfly Concerto, the percussionist got a little ahead of himself, so everything sounded slightly rushed. Not to mention Shaham's posture at one point, which threatened to topple him over.

We also had some finger-pointing sessions: "Ooh, cute male violinist! Looks Japanese." ( checks programme for list of orchestral members' names ); "Eh, that girl's quite pretty." "No lah, that one's cuter." ( checks programme again )


Also bumped into Shzr Ee, my RGS classmate who's now an Arts correspondent for Life!, and who's going to London for a few years on a PhD programme in music. We managed to catch up with each other for only a short few minutes, but it was nice to see her again after so many years. All the best! :)

I'm on night shift and my rest-time is ending soon, so I have to stop here. But... I'll try to write more frequently from now on, with a few VCD/DVD reviews in tow.

Before I sign off: Keanu Reeves looks HOT in a doctor's coat! :D ( Check him out in "Something's Gotta Give". Woo mama. :))

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