Martha Argerich in Concert

Maybe its true that one can be rewarded for not wanting something.

Three days ago, Lynnette said that she had a spare ticket for the closing concert of the Singapore International Piano Festival, and would I like to have it. I’d been living under a rock for quite a while, and therefore had not attended the SIPF at all, let alone know who the pianists were for the 2018 edition. I exclaimed WHO??!! when Lynnette told me that the featured pianist for the closing concert was Martha Argerich. Yes, the legend herself, on her first concert in the Asia-Pacific region outside of Japan.

The next day, disbelief turned to disappointment when the spare ticket was claimed by the person for whom it was originally intended. Getting another one on my own through the box office was going to be impossible, because tickets had been completely sold out a long time ago. Oh, well. I’d never imagined that I would be able to attend an Argerich concert anyway, so I left it at that.

Then yesterday morning, Lynnette said that there was a return ticket for the gallery, and she’d bought it for me. So yes, I did get to go after all, to see and hear for myself why Martha Argerich is a piano legend. I was very fortunate to be seated where I could see her hands and her feet.

The SSO was conducted by Darío Ntaca, himself one of the SIPF pianists. Lynnette was leading. Here is the programme:

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Ntaca was the pianist for the Mozart #17, and conducted the orchestra from the piano. Argerich may now be 77 years old, but age has not dimmed her skills at the keyboard.

Argerich was presented with a bouquet of flowers during the first standing ovation. She managed to pluck out one pink rose and presented it to Lynnette. After two curtain calls Argerich sat down at the piano to play an encore (Scarlatti). During the subsequent standing ovation Lynnette answered ‘yes’ to Argerich’s question about whether she should play another encore. The audience roared its approval as Argerich turned around and walked back to the piano. So there was Debussy. One more standing ovation, and the concert was over.

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The Singapore Symphony Orchestra plays West Side Story

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On 13th April, my friends and I attended a truly dazzling film and music evening at the Esplanade Concert Hall. We watched the 1961 movie production of West Side Story, with the SSO playing the score, live. The orchestra was conducted by Joshua Tan, and led by Lynnette Seah. Read the programme notes.

Lynnette Seah Gives a Treat

On Saturday 27th January, my friends, family and I were treated to a mini-recital by Lynnette, accompanied by Shane Thio, the SSO’s pianist. On the programme:

  • Gluck: Melodie
  • Beethoven: Romance in F
  • Kreisler: Praeludium & Allegro
  • Rachmaninov: Vocalise
  • Kreisler: Londonderry Air
  • Massenet: Meditation

Lynnette & Shane have been playing together since 1985, and it showed.

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After the mini-recital we had a taste of Lynnette’s other talent, cooking, specifically Peranakan cuisine from Lynnette’s Kitchen.

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Don Gomes Visits

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Yesterday afternoon. Don’t ask me how it happened; I’m just glad that it did. Don is simply delightful to talk to. When I shyly asked him to play something on the piano he obliged with an improvisation on When You Wish Upon A Star from Disney’s 1940 movie Pinocchio.

Over a cup of coffee we chatted about:

  • What jazz artists listen for and aim to achieve when working in the recording and mastering studios;
  • Tuning and temperaments (I showed Don how Verituner works, and why it is worth learning how to wield a tuning hammer);
  • The difference between jazz piano and classical piano, and about learning to play jazz piano.

 

Don Gomes & Aya Sekine in Concert

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Last night I attended a concert by the jazz pianists Don Gomes and Aya Sekine, held at Emmanuel & Son’s music salon. Mr Kwan very kindly invited me to attend, even though the event was sold-out. Among the audience were the Australian high commissioner, and the Brazilian and Egyptian ambassadors. Don played on a Fazioli F278, while Aya played on a Fazioli F212. As you’d expect the pianos were beautifully prepared by Mr Kwan and his staff.

There is a pretty active jazz community here in Singapore. This I learned from the delightful Karen de Silva of the non-profit We Love Jazz SG. Visit their Facebook page and blog. Some photos by Bon Goût Music.

Help the Disabled, Poor & Needy

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For the coming holiday season, please help the less fortunate by buying gifts from ACTS Market, a social enterprise startup based in Singapore. It is an online marketplace for non-government organisations to sell handicrafts and other goods made by the disadvantaged people they help:

  • Former child slaves
  • Disadvantaged women
  • Impoverished families
  • Orphans & needy children
  • People with autism
  • Recovering mental patients
  • Rehabilitated street-ladies
  • The hearing-impaired
  • Victims of human trafficking
  • Widows & single mothers

If you live in Singapore, then you can use the coupon below to enjoy free local delivery for purchases of $100 or more.

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Efim Bronfman & the SSO Play Beethoven & Bartok

My friend Lynnette passed me a complimentary ticket to the gala concert by Efim Bronfman and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. On the programme were two concertos–Beethoven’s 4th, and Bartok’s 2nd, preceded by Rossini’s Thieving Magpie Overture. Bronfman and the SSO were stunning, resulting in six curtain calls and two encores. This concert was possible only because Lang Lang had cancelled due to inflammation in his left arm.

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Efim Bronfman & the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, 30th Nov 2017