About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

14 November 2012

Finale - JPO's 4th 2012 Season 6th Concert

The final week of the 2012 season, started on a very emotional note; as one of the orchestra members made a short speech on the hardships of playing without being paid; and why they continued to do so. It was a stark reminder, that this could very well be the last ever concert; not just the last of the season. It ended up being one of the most enjoyable JPO concerts I have been to - it seemed like every orchestra member was there to play their part; and played with their hearts. It was not only the music selection; the performance itself was at a different level.

The concert started with a short piece - Glinka's Overture of his opera Russlan and Ludmilla. It was an upbeat, fun piece; something to push back the very somber cloud of the orchestra. Following the overture, was Saint-Saëns' Second Piano Concerto, played very flamboyantly by Israeli-American Inon Barnatan. The concerto was amazing - in the showcase of the piano as an instrument, the orchestra and the performance itself. It was the perfect mix for the evening - the dark and somber was equally contrasted with the very playful and upbeat. It was a performance thoroughly deserving of the standing ovation. He did a very interesting encore with Debussy's Clair de Lune, which was equally well received.

The symphony for the evening was Dvořák's amazing 9th Symphony (From the New World). I have heard the JPO perform it before; and I have heard various movements on the radio - but tonight's performance was something special. Every musician seemed to make some kind of a special effort; there was some thing extra - hard to know; but easy to feel. It was one of the best performances that I have ever attended; and it got a very well deserved standing ovation.

I really hope that the JPO survives, and the music continues. And there is at least one concert left (tomorrow 15 Nov); and I saw an advert from a Christmas concert featuring the orchestra at the end of the month. But if, for whatever reason it doesn't survive; it can hold its head up high that it went out with one of its best performances.

11 November 2012

Movie: Flowers of War

The multi-lingual movie is set just after the fall of Nanking, during the China-Japan war in 1937 - what would be later called the "Rape of Nanking". Starring Christian Bale (who also starred in another China-Japan war, Empire of the Sun), who plays a drunk mortician stuck in a cathedral with some convent school girls and some prostitutes; as the horror of the war overtakes everything. It is ultimately a movie about sacrifice; but it is a brutal yet visually stunning showcase of the horrors of war. It is brutally effective - particularly because this is not a story told from the perspective of a soldier; or even that of the mortician - but rather a surviving school girl; and the movie catches the story teller's innocence, determination, terror, and ultimately appreciation and love for her saviours perfectly.