vietnamese watercress salad

zoom in of watercress salad with

Another of my favorite vietnamese dishes. Instruction below courtesy of my sister-in-law, with a slight modification. I had to go shopping for olive oil, vinegar, and filet mignon for the first time in life too.. only because previously they have always been handled by little sister who either had the ingredients or used the former hausmate’s.

1 bunch of watercress
1/5 to 1/4 kg of filet mignon
20 grape tomatoes
1 small white onion
3-4 garlic cloves
fish sauce 🙂
extra virgin olive oil
black pepper

1. Thinly slice the beef
2. marinate with some sugar (1 tsp), fish sauce (1 tbsp), black pepper, minced garlic for 1 hour
3. At high heat, stir fried the beef for about 1 minute, add white onion, turn off heat
4. remove meat from pan to prevent over cooking the beef.

Dressing: (this one I follow strictly her measurements… had to sort out those tsb and tbsp…
In a container: add
– 2 tsp sugar
– a tiny bit of salt
– 2 tbsp of vinegar
– 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
stir until all is well mixed.

Put in the watercress, cut approximately 1/2 length of finger in length (we measure things with finger length in Vietnam), cut grape tomatoes in 1/2, put meat + white onion on top, then add dressing to taste.

First picture was from my sister 6 years ago. BElow is mine. super tasty!

radio broadcast alert

Edit2: Another Bach St Matthews Passion, this one from Budapest, with René Jacobs, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, K.Hammarström, Saturday 15/Apr at 1730GMT , 1830 London, 1930 CET, 1330 EST.
In addition, there’s this one (video) from München on 12/April/2017 with Concerto Köln and Karina Gauvin. I quite like the sound of this more than the one from Rotterdam, but I think it’s the difference between having a baroque (here) versus modern (Rotterdam) orchestra? Also, this is quite a tighter group than what N. Stutzmann has. I found the sound there a bit “diffused” and some of the musical phrasing by the soloists “blurry”. It could just be what i’m “used” to hear, but i quite like the version from Munich. The “evangelist” and “Jesus” were quite focused in sound.
Edit: for an informed note, please refer to Anik’s live experience of Vivaldi’s work in the form of a live concert. That concert resulted in a cd, which is also available on yt (very easily searchable by the work’s title.)
Today, Thursday, 13.Apr.2017

1800 GMT, 2000 CET, 1400 EST
From Torino, Vivaldi’s L’incoronazione di Dario, with Mingardo and Galou, on (expected to be) suspicious quality Rai radio. link.

1730 GMT, 1930 CET, 1330 EST,
From Rotterdam, N. Stutzmann conducting Bach Matthews Passion. link.

2300 GMT 0100+1 CET 1900 EST,
From the MET, Rosenkavalier, with Garanca and Flemming. link.

Friday, 14.Apr.2017
1830 GMT
From Rome, Bach’s St. Johns Passion, with A.Hallenberg. link.

Sunday, 16.Apr.2017
0000 GMT (This means it’s Saturday night for us in the US)
From Boston, Mitsuko Uchida plays Mozart piano concerto No.20. link.

1800 GMT
From Chicago, V. Genaux’s Vivaldi, Porpora and Broschi recital. link. (But I’m confused.  She’s at Opera du Rhin now singing in Cavalli’s La Calisto.. so either she’s jetting over or this is likely a rebroadcast? ahh, ok, no no, Calisto won’t start until 26/apr, so this should be a live concert, i think.)

canh cà chua sườn

Highly motivated after watching Orphée, and determined to eat better to recover from this damn pollen season, i finally bought some ribs! (first time in life!) and wrestling them in the kitchen (first time too!) But there were precedent: little sister had visited 5 years ago to make one of the fav dishes, and on my trips to visit her during December last year as well as this past month, she made this soup again, so i kept close eyes on how to treat them ribs. So, here’s another fav soups of ours, which can be combined with noodles to make a noodle-soup dish out of it.

ingredients, to make 14L
– fish sauce
– 1,8kg baby back ribs
– 13 roma tomatoes
– 13 shallots , the biggish type
– scalions
– cilantro
– salt
– sugar
– black peppers

1. start boiling a big pot of water
2. put the ribs (cut along eyes) into the 14L pot, marinate with fish-sauce, sugar (not sure how much, i put some, i actually didn’t have sugar at home!), black peppers, thin slices from 3 shallots, let sit until the other pot nearly boils.
3. put pot with ribs on high heat, stir occasionally, let the rib seared (should take 5min? 10min? took me sometimes to stir…)
4. pour the 1st pot of boiling water in, bring to boil
5. scoop out all the goey foams at surface
6. put in diced tomatoes + peeled shallots
7. It should boil for 45min total.. i have never cooked ribs so didn’t know they don’t float :D, and kept waiting for them to come to surface.. hence the tomatoes got overcooked a tiny bit

(have your sisters and sister-in-law on chat lines to verify various steps can be very helpful!)
8. marinate to taste with fish sauce, turn off stove, put in green scalions, as shown at top figure

9. boil thin rice noodles. My sister bought these from 5 years ago, i love them, hollow on the inside.


10. 1 serving: with scallions and cilantro.  yum. works very well with Thai chili peppers.

music for calmness

my absolute fav section of the entire dvd! i’ll need this to stay very calm and collect for the next 8 hours, to write the (*&#@)^%#@ report… wasted 7 hours last night.. and i have to re-start again now.. but it will be done! YES IT WILL. with VK’s floating notes, ahhhh.

probing conducting, rambling

yes yes, i’m supposed to be typing the Result section 3.1.. but writing time always coincides with music discovery.. and this time, it has been Gluck’s Armide. I’ve been siting through… I think must have been 7 rounds at least of that Riccardo Muti’s live broadcast (with ACA, of course!) , and 3 rounds of Marc Minkowski’s full version in Wien this past October. My preference: Marc Minkowski’s orchestration. Simply because i’m an early music addict and the sound of theorbos strumming will conquer! But in listening to the two conductors in succession, one can’t help but notice the vast difference in the approach and the mood it creates. So, how about an intro to Gluck’s Armide with Armide’s first aria. This one has all the various mood changes (color-coded! and time-tagged.)

Clip1 (time-tag to the moment of the _rush_ in (4) below)

Clip2 (no time-tag, to hear the opening orchestration)

1. an opening of orchestration, which one can only hear clearly in Minkowski’s take,
C1: 00:00:00–00:00:19 , C2: 00:00:00–00:00:21

2. a “grand” entrance of recitative. At this point, I will also point out I think Anna Caterina Antonacci is an exceptional singer, in her accentuation of the words within the musical phrase. I wonder if Gaëlle Arquez, being a native French speaker, might have overlooked how the recitative would sound? Simply listen to the word “Enfin” to start for example, and the first phrase.
C1: 00:00:19–00:01:10 , C2: 00:00:21–00:01:18

Enfin, il est en ma puissance
Ce fatal ennemi, ce superbe vainqueur
Le charme du sommeil le livre à ma vengeance,
Je veux percer son invincible coeur.

Par Lui tous mes Captifs, sont sortis d’esclavage
Qu’il éprouve toute ma rage.

3. a slow burner of recitative
More drooling for fans of recit:
C1: 00:01:11–00:02:53, C2: 00:01:18–00:02:28


Quel trouble me saisit qui me fait hésiter?
Qu’est ce qu’en sa faveur la pitié me veut dire?
Frappons …

qui peut m’arrêter!
Achevons …
je frémis! vengeons-nous …

je soupire?!
Est-ce ainsi que je dois me venger aujourd’hui!
Ma colère s’éteint quand j’approche de lui
Plus je le vois plus ma fureur est vaine
Mon bras tremblant se refuse à ma haine.

4. a VERY FAST mood change, a RUSH, which one hears immediately in Muti’s take along with how Antonacci switches gears (in just a moment of prolongation, then go at “il n’a pu trouver“). In almost a complete contrast, Minkowski created a veeeery quiet orchestra and Arquez making it a very internal conflict moment:
C1: 00:02:53–00:04:37 , C2: 00:02:28–00:04:24

Ah quelle cruauté de lui ravir le jour!
A ce jeune héros tout céde sur la terre.
Qui croiroit qu’il fut né seulement pour la guerre?
Il semble être fait pour l’amour.
Ne puis-je me venger à moins qu’il ne perisse?
Ne me suffit il pas que l’amour le punisse?
Puisqu’il n’a pu trouver mes yeux assez charmans,
Qu’il m’aime au moins par mes enchantemens,
Que s’il se peut, s’il se peut je le haisse.

5. a ramping up to the finale. Again, one hears it more in Muti’s take how quickly it changes. I do love Minkowski’s take of just a slight prolongation of the first note, before the _rush_ and quite more depth in the orchestra, compared to the “drive” forward in Muti.
C1: 00:04:38–end , C2: 00:04:24–end

Venez sécondez mes désirs,
Démons transformez-vous en d’aimables Zéphirs.
Je céde à ce vainqueur, la pitié me surmonte;
Cachez ma foiblesse et ma honte
Dans les plus réculés déserts
Volez, conduisez nous,
Au bout de l’univers

In general, Muti’s take is, i used the word “hurricane” before, you either go with him or he’ll leave you in the dust! ACA gave a comment in one of the interviews i linked 2 posts ago, that she was (am paraphrasing) “very intimidated” by him and how he created this “atmosphere” in the music that she worried she would ruin it all.. In listening to Minkowski, one never has this impression. There’s simply plenty of breathing. But I don’t deny Muti’s take along with Antonacci’s vocal expression, is what actually got me into this opera in the first place. I think you could listen without the libretto and hear all the mood changes. The only thing one misses is the “deeper look in the internal” conflict which Minkowski leaves so much room for. Very nice and interesting :-).

Ann Hallenberg to start early morning of more typing

On the menu for today:
1 milk tea
Results: Section 3.3
Discussion: Section 4
Summary: Section 5.

I ambitious! this _will_ get done, with the right music! I have the *entire* radio broadcast of Agrippina with Ann Hallenberg 2 years ago, with K.Hammarström and R.Pokupic! (but am also a bit addicted to Gluck’s Armide).. surely there will be time for all of that in the next 6 ambitious hours.

music for the working night

Since getting back from San Francisco, I have had a new appreciation for Anna Caterina Antonacci’s singing, if you can believe that. Anik was very nice to point out a tribute Parterre wrote up on the occasion of her appearance in SF this year.. which prompted me to dig up this spectacularly intriguing program (the same one in the tribute above) that i really wish she would sing more often. More importantly, I *did* sit through Gluck’s Armide in Wien last October, though admittedly still quite jet-lagged and not knowing the story at all. But of course this curated show did nothing but further stirred my interest..

I already was aware of the existence of various clips on youtube of ACA singing the role to great acclaim back in 1996 and 1999.. There’s also the entire version on youtube (just audio), though I’m afraid per usual, somehow during the processing, the poster damaged the quality of the audio, I suspect… Major ringing + headache inducing.. But no fear! I’ve just found a SUPBERB audio version, wav format, of the entire thing. So, here it is, a clip, the music to finally start the morning of (more) paper writing.

La chaine de l’Hymen m’étonne,
Je crains, je crains ses plus aimables noeuds:
Ah! qu’un coeur devient malheureux
Quand la liberté l’abandonne!


(ps- on the note of SF, she gave two really nice interviews with them. The first, hilarious comments on actresses versus singers 🙂 , and the second providing more info on her background. I’m beginning to love San Francisco more and more.)
(ps2- yes, the Juditha Triumphans write up *will* come, _after_ i finish these 2 manuscripts + 1 final project report + 1 review + 2 proposal edits…, because they must be done prior to me heading off to see more contraltos.. )