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).

23 March 2013

Movie: Oz the Great and Powerful

I have watched the original Wizard of Oz numerous times; and it is a movie that has stood the test of time. I was intrigued by the concept of a prequel to the series but did not hold out any hope that it would be as good as the original.

The new movie does have a few things going for it. There are a lot of references to the older classic, and overall the story ties together - including how the wizard came to be in Oz (a balloon in a freak wind), to granting gifts and some of the contraptions that the supposed wizard will come to use in maintaining his mirage. It also has some fantastic visualisations of Oz, enhancing its fantastical nature. 

That said, the script was very cheesy, and the movie felt like it dragged on for too long. While it is a perfectly entertaining movie, it is hardly one that will stand the test of time.

21 March 2013

All Russian - JPO's 1st 2013 Season 4th Concert

Alexander Lubyantsev was back as the soloist, performing one of the most difficult piano concertos - Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No.3, to a standing ovation. Like last week's concert, Lubyantsev was a study of concentration - staring at the piano with occasional glances at the conductor; and paying no attention to the audience. It was an amazing performance to watch, especially when his fingers were a blur racing across the keyboard. I haven't hear the full piece before - and it has an amazing combination of orchestra and piano - with both having starring roles. There were two encores - the first I didn't recognise (an etude perhaps) while the second was Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumble Bee, which is always amazing to see it performed live - simply because of the speed of the piece.

The first performance of the evening was Rachmaninoff's Vocalise, a piece I have heard many times before - especially in movies/TV series. The concert finished with Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5, to which the audience was warned that "it doesn't finish where you think it does", and that one should "wait for the more knowledgeable to first applaud".

Given the length of the pieces, the concert was a good 30 minutes longer than usual - which was fine, given today is a public holiday. The future of the JPO remains uncertain - hopefully it will survive; but the business rescue documents, unfortunately, do not give much hope.

18 March 2013

Ultimate Bucket List

South Africa is a great tourist destination, and Forbes Magazine has an article proclaiming South Africa as the ultimate travel destination. It covers a wide variety of attractions around South Africa, and is one of the most complimentary pieces I have read on South Africa's attraction. And, not a word on crime ...