more random

music that was subconsciously singing in ears while i fought with nose for 3 hrs last night in semi-conscious state…
[audio https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/49847735/phamduy_baihatnghinthu_thaithanh.mp3]
can’t say i fully understand the lyric, not that i’d put great emphasis on it.. but the music and her voice are quite soothing, brought back childhood memories 🙂
this should hopefully mark my emergence back on the grid… and back to listening to music..

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(kernel) panic attack

"spring" view outside window yesterday

“spring” view outside window yesterday

all is settled. i’ve been checking mail and card charge last month, and already suspected the bayerische staatsoper won’t give me any tix for the harteros+kaufmann show… today they sent confirmation, shows are too much in high demand… On rather very related business, the conference has assigned a time such that FOR SURE i’d miss Nina Stemme’s Marschallin’s monologue if not more, GRRRRR. You know i got tix _not_ just for VK’s take… anyone know if they’d let you in at all if you arrive *late* at the Zürich opernhaus? (while we’re at it, allow me to vent: to all organizers of conferences (and may be weddings :-D), i’d really love it if you just hold it in a MAJOR city with BIG airport, not on some countryside remote towns.. may be it works for people from europe, but from USA, you arrive after very long hours with many connections, already pooped from jet-lag, then have to sort out trains + buses in foreign country for few more hours to some damn resorts… and yes, at (*&#%# resort, i have been assigned exact date of Der R’s performance, at an exact time when i should be heading for the train to Zürich, ggggggggggrrrrrrrrrrr)

ok, i nearly done ranting. in term of priorities, i’ve never put opera above work before… but it’s sooo tempting… but it’s work, c.a.n.’.t. s.a.c.r.i.f.i.c.e…. (still have a few months to internally discuss with double self!!)

Mendelssohn's violin concerto @ NEC

Mendelssohn’s violin concerto @ NEC

ok, other than that, the week has been extremely productive (aside from the daily frantic kernel panic crashes… the mac is now in its hospital, i back to ubuntu for a few days…) Last week, i did trek across the river in quite crappy weather for this very very nice Mendelssohn’s violin concerto at the NEC, suuuuch great fun. The first movement somehow seemed a bit disconnected, not sure why… but this must be the first time i realized there has to be some connection between the soloist’s music and the orchestra’s, shouldn’t there be?
Anywho, it wasn’t soo evident until the transition into the 2nd movement. And by the 3rd, the soloist yoyo-ingly tossed a little tune to the orchestra to have it swinging fully back, the whole show rocks. loads of little chase, give and take, giggles, and the final run had me truly grabbing on to the handle bar of the seat. great fun! (and what a HUUUUGE contrast to Tchaikovsky’s 6th symphony that followed, talk about mood issue, one better be stable in the mind listening to that piece. it apparently had also a memory overload effect coz i once during coming out time listened to this piece everyday, serious stuff i tell you 🙂 . there’s also some discussion about the “odd” timing of the valse movement (4/5 or 5/6 or something of that nature…), sounds really good to my ear, but already there you can tell it’s not the valse that provides uplift to the spirit but rather one to tell you to best just drop the shoulders and give up..). Anyhow, here’s a link to the NEC’s concerto performance, they record a lot of theirs live for relistening.

NEC Philharmonia, Biss / Rouse, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky.

more broadcasts…

first up, music for the evening:

that was the tune that immediately hooked me to “opera” path… actually the more i listen, the more i’m amazed with her tone.
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an all Harvard affaire

well, after an almost 1.75 month of craziness which resulted in my health taking a plunge, i beyond relieved to have a quiet sunday afternoon to myself while hopefully recovering. so, i did manage to miss yesterday’s Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes performed by Boston Baroque. oh well. in return, i did have a nice evening with wonderful company, so one can’t complain too much.

So, this is a write up of two consecutive performances I attended a week ago at Harvard:
1) John Adam’s “On the transmigration of souls” and Beethoven’s 9th at Sander Theater, and
2) Handel’s Messiah at Harvard Memorial Church

There’s a kind of rivalry between my school and Harvard and normally we wouldn’t praise “them” for anything :-D. But, i had suuuch great time attending both of these concerts. The first one was by the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra, Radcliffe Choral Society, and Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, and the Boston Children’s chorus. I’m a bit unsure about the timing of remembrance of the 9/11 victims on this particular day, but it was nice nonetheless having the opportunity to hear John Adam’s “on the transmigration of souls“. The program set me a bit uneasy at first because my last time attending Beethoven 9th was exactly on the 9/11 occasion back in LA. At that time, it left both I and my friend feeling out of place in an overtly patriotic and militaristic crowd waving and wearing american flags. Luckily this time, John Adam’s take is much more on the inner reflection of such an event. Thanks to my brief exchange with DtO earlier this year, I wasn’t surprised by the presence of the various amplified instruments on stage including recorded voice coming off loud speakers and electronic keyboard. This is not a piece for the light hearted. I wouldn’t be surprised to not hear any applause whatsoever when it ends given the uncertain feeling it gives. Much of the music somehow reminded of me of this scene at the end of one of my favorite movie “Ran”, where war was raging, people with good intention died as casualty, and a blind man whose parents were killed during the war is found fumbling on a cliff dropping his only grasp of life comfort (a buddha image). anyhow, here’s an except of the piece from youtube:

After “Nixon in China”, this is only my 2nd exposure to John Adam, but I enjoy listening to his music. The second half was Beethoven’s 9th. The contrast of mood compared to the first piece was so huge that I had a hard time at first switching my mind set, sort of a conflict in priorities and interests in the face of tragedy. In any case, I’ve heard the same piece by the same music group (namewise) at the same theater back in 2005, but this time around it was much much more enjoyable. surely a nice concert companion helps, but it was also largely a result of where we sat: first row near center on the balcony, otherwise known as the best seat in the intimate hall both visually and acoustically. I have nothing but praise for the huge numbers of singers and musicians (mostly students) on the stage. They were very sharp and energetic. after a 2nd movement that was the fastest i’ve ever heard, the 3rd movement was breath taking. this movement always takes me back to the image i had of the grass fields in Vietnam which i saw from school books. Thanks to the great view, I also realized how active the woodwind section is in the whole piece. Anyhow, it’s quite a well known piece, i’m sure everyone has heard plenty. here’s a re-post from my favorite recording with period instruments. I’m also glad to hear the friend who came along is now enjoying re-listening to this piece multiple times :-).

Before I had time to reflect much on this concert, Handel’s Messiah came up less than 24 hr later.  This was a free concert performed by the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra and Harvard University Choir.  I didn’t know Harvard has such a cool orchestra!  It’s simply amazing to be so close to the music and seeing the joy in the musicians’ faces.  In contrast to LA where I lamented nonstop about being miles away, here in Boston I’ve been almost in direct sight to the instruments, musicians, singers, conductors. I’ve been avoiding Handel’s Messiah in the past mainly because of its overly religious content in a language I understand.  However, given my recently found passion for Handel, in particular for the mixture of the lovely baroque instruments and solo voices and choirs, I’ve made a conscious effort to attend everything of his here, especially when it’s FREE!  Though I had to leave early, the experience of hearing soprano Dominique Labelle, who was 3 meter away from me, singing “rejoice greatly” left me in suuuch lifted spirit.  Too bad i can’t find a link on youtube of her singing this, but here she is singing Bach’s Matthauespassion and Handel’s Arminio (in the same recording with Vivica Genaux).

and lastly, a link to “rejoice greatly”:

musik von freitag

spending my early friday afternoon here listening to Mitsuko Uchida.  would really love to catch her live in the next few years.

“you live, you’re born, you die, and in between, you feel it, as best as you can”:

“the beauty of the freedom of choice… and that’s why I’m in London”:

you can see many of her links on youtube, it’s beethoven 5th today for me before i head out to enjoy the evening sun light of Munich:

happy friday.

concerts in March 2011

need to put this schedule together for myself, else i’ll get lost…

2011-Mar-08 Dvorak’s cello concerto, NEC Philharmonic, 20h, Jordan Hall, free
2011-Mar-10 NEC chorus (Haydn, Bizet, Verdi, etc.), 20h, Jordan Hall, free
2011-Mar-11 Handel-Agrippina, Boston Lyric Opera, 19h30, Shubert Theater, $19.50 via bostix
2011-Mar-12 Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Bach, Handel, 20h, Jordan Hall, $46
2011-Mar-13/14 NEC opera scenes (tancredi, Le nozze di Figaro, Alcina, Rigoletto), 16h/20h, Brown Hall, free
2011-Mar-18/20 Bach Mass in B minor, Cantata Singers, 20h/15h, Jordan Hall, $13 via bostix
2011-Mar-19 Bach Mass in B minor, Freisinger Chamber Orchestra, 20h/15h, Old South Church, 645 Boylston St, $6.50 via bostix
2011-Mar-18/20 Beethoven 5th, Handel and Haydn Society, Symphony Hall, $28 via bostix
2011-Mar-20 Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Chorus pro Musica, Old South Church, 645 Boylston St, 15h, $17.50 via bostix
2011-Mar-25 Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto, Bach Society Orchestra, 20h, Sanders Theater, $12
2011-Mar-26 Boston Gay Men’s chorus, 20h, Jordan Hall, tix price TBA

I’ve just discovered on top of the $20<40 program by the BSO, there's also bostix.org which offers 50% off tix prices to almost all events that costs money above!! starting with Handel’s Agrippina’s this coming friday! i truly love this town!