Category: Uncategorized


Well, I suppose it’s goodbye from this blog.

Not that I have lost my love for baroque music, but now commitments, especially my enlistment into the army last June, and the starting of my new blog, has made keeping up with writing here quite impossible.

I am sorry if you are disappointed, but then again, my posts are still here for all to see!

Even though many of the Youtube links are actually already dead.

In any case, here’s the link to my new blog!

Thank you so much, readers, for your support 🙂

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Apologies for the belated post. Distractions are fatal tools for one to procrastinate…especially for me.

In any case, at last.

~

I love brass, just as I love the harpsichord. Insofar as I am concerned, while the latter represented a degree of class and style, the unabashed way brass was played back then pointed to the glory of anything and everything it was meant to represent. What better way is there to announce one’s entrance than to have 5 trumpets screaming out your grand arrival?

Better still, I have used such music to great effect in my life these past few weeks. Doing something mundane like household chores became a glorious undertaking. Death streak on Battlefield 3? More like dying a hero’s death…repeatedly.

You have been gloriously martyred...again!!

Normally I would rail on about baroque brass at this point but, after some inner reflection, I feel it best for the music to speak for itself. Apparently, too, Louis XIV of France’s reign seem to have produced some of the most stunning of the lot. You can apply this music to any situation, and will even make watching the paint dry on your bedroom wall feel as though you are witnessing some colourful miracle.

No.1: Marche de Triomphe H.547 by Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704)

No.2: Airs de Trompettes by Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687)

Otherwise, however, I guess my life has been rather vanilla-plain. That should change in a few months’ time…when I join Singapore’s military. More on that when I enlist…if I ever have the time.

I need an expansion in my social calendar. And I need to give tuition to put an income in my kitty. Life here has its ways to mend such issues, but I won’t do so just by sitting on my posterior and waiting.

I have been planning a lifestyle change to restore my flagging fitness in time for Basic Military Training, and hopefully this will score some brownie points with my parents…and my disapproving self. Sleeping half the day away won’t solve much, neither is doing little or nothing in the other half.

So there. My current life in a nutshell. Not very interesting eh? This is when brass music takes living life to a whole new level of (for a lack of a better word) awesomeness.

Till then!~~~~

I’ve watched the video. To me it was half an hour well spent.

It tugged my heartstrings, and appealed to my inner activist. Joseph Kony has laid to waste the lives on tens of thousands of children, and this is made more personal by the story of one of them – Jacob.

And so, for a short while, I was swept off my feet by the hype: I tweeted, retweeted, and posted on Facebook fervently on Kony for an entire day yesterday. I signed my pledge on Causes, and even contemplated the possibility of me acquiring an Action Pack. It was almost a no-brainer – make Kony famous. And everyone seemed to be on the bandwagon.

A friend of mine, however, provided me with a link to a blog post which suggests that what the Invisible Children are doing is a bit of a scam, that the ideals they espouse are a break from the realities gripping central Africa. That article has given me a fresh new perspective on how such causes, however genuine in their purpose, can be greatly misguided. This can be found HERE.

I can agree that aid to Africa has crippled it with a I-will-receive-it mentality, bred by decades of endless free aid packages. Corrupt governments have spawned to take advantage of these freebies, and only created, in general terms, a dependant Africa. Invisible Children diverts more money to its media machine than to the trouble-hit areas.

EDIT: Aid in food is one thing, and this is the excess I actually disapprove of. But when funds are diverted into education and skills, it gives the afflicted the opportunity to help themselves bring about a newer, brighter Africa. Yes, it’s complicated, and it might take many decades, but this pays far better dividends than just giving food (in general terms, again).

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
-Chinese Proverb

But isn’t this their objective, to make Joseph Kony more visible to the world? In this respect, it would not be outrageous to suggest that they are funding their media campaign to aggressively make him a household name, so that the people in the corridors of power can continue to have advisers down there to assist the Ugandan army in finding this still-dangerous man. The power of the people has made this possible. These voices will give the aggrieved justice.

The idea of Kony wasting away in the wilds of the Congo (while many more kids from neighbouring states continue being abducted) will do little to bring peace to the hearts of those already affected. Justice will fail if that eventuality comes into fruition. The voices will amount to nothing. Perhaps it will, at long last, end the atrocities of the LRA. Or, like an al-Qaeda which has lost bin Laden, it will continue in its bloodthirsty mission.

Apparently, peace talks are underway. I applaud that; Ugandans can perhaps finally move on to weightier issues now plaguing their nation – trust me, they are far weightier. But given Kony’s temperamental history, this may not go down well. It may, heaven forbid, be another attempt in his quest for lifelong (however long that is) power. Nip the problem in its bud, and this will go away.

I cannot deny the passion and conviction with which Invisible Children are executing this move, but that article I have read has made mine rather tempered. As such, I will not contribute a cent any money, but I will make the awareness of this issue known. This man requires justice, but one needs only voices, without the money, to make this possible. And it is already self-propagating.

EDIT: As added information, read this clarification note from Invisible Children. It puts to rest many misconceptions that have been hurtling through the web about what they do there, including that of the posed “mercenary” picture that has gotten many heads spinning.

The video is right to note the power of mass media. It is indeed a double-edged sword, and misleading viral causes and statements can make things go pear-shaped real quick. But this is a worthy cause, albeit late, and I willingly lend my voice to it. He will be greatly known as one of the most evil beings on this planet.

Here you go. My two cents’ worth. French baroque will feature later today. 🙂

Till then!~

Many apologies.

The last few months have been hectic. Exams and internship are a potent mix, but at least that meant I was able to do something incredibly useful. I am missing my colleagues back in Moody’s, which had been my workplace for three months. Job and university applications are under way, now that there is plenty of time to go before my enlistment by the biggest employer in Singapore (thank you MINDEF). Lots to do, so little time.

I will get back to posting some music shortly for it has indeed been awhile; French Baroque seems to be back on the list (trumpets, hint hint). Also you may (or not) have noticed that a few videos are no longer playable. That’s because one of my fave posters had violated some copyright laws – perhaps an allusion to SOPA and PIPA – and had her account shut down. The wonderful music she had lovingly posted have gone with her. Pity.

I should be posting something out within the next couple of days, so watch this space (again)!!

Once again, my humblest apologies.

Till then~

CCI – Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach

In between playing games and finishing tutorials, I though I’d post this. No diatribe, I’m just going to, erm, harp on one of the greatest composers ever to have his music grace a music hall.

If one name was to spring to mind if Baroque was mentioned, hands down, Bach (Johann Sebastian, more precisely) would most likely be the first to be hollered out. His greatness can never be understated, because his music is also the likely basis for many heavy metal bands of the 80s and 90s. Who would ever have thought that?

Even then, there are pieces are just for easy listening. Amongst them, and possibly one of the greatest masterpieces ever to be heard, is his magnum opus, the Brandenburg Concerto.

There are many pieces and movements to be heard, and together they constitute some of the best pieces ever to have been written by this maestro. And here, I shall highlight two in particular.

The first is truly for easy listening; this to Bach would be Eine Kline Nachtmusik to Mozart. It soothes and frayed nerves and calms boiling tensions (well, to an extent), so this is great for someone living a very hectic life, as I would soon enough, once my internship begins.

Presenting the Concerto No.3, 1st Movement.

Great for a night by the fire with a warm cuppa. Too bad this is Singapore, so a glass of water by the settee should do.

Next to be presented is also easy on the ears, with a flute thrown in for good measure. Another great piece for ultimate relaxation…and just listening to makes you feel like a millionaire. Seriously.

Harpsichord, violin, flute all playing in perfect sync and harmony. Really, what more could one ask for? That is, unless you are my sister. In that case, fall asleep within the first minute.

(N.b. My sister really really really hates classical music. Any piece from any genre will put her to sleep. And she is kind of a rarity.)

So go on, put that headphone on, and play that thing! I’m sure you won’t be disappointed (sans my sister or sister-equivalent).

*Concerto No.5 BWV 1050, 1st Movement.

So there, two great pieces from one brilliant composer. Bach is truly a musical genius; few will oust him from this grand title.

Meanwhile, term 3 has begun back in reality, and I once again begin slogging along like every other student in this island-nation’s “holistic” education system. Great. Projects, exams, tutorials, bring it on.

I guess the only time I really unwind is when I play Dodgeball on TF2. Thanks to all the shenanigans that happen there I sometimes forget completely that I was ever stressed.

Thanks guys. 🙂

And here’s to more posts to come! Au revior. 😀

CC – Peace.

Yes it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. And right now I’m well into my midyear holidays so, I guess I can post more frequently?

Well, it’s only just a guess.

Three weeks back I started playing Team Fortress 2, and I am hooked. The modes I enjoy most are:

  1. Dodgeball
  2. Saxton Hale
  3. Payload

Looks like this will be a trend for some time to come. I’m still a learner, so there. I am neither a pro nor a noob, but I’m getting pretty good at it!

I’m also getting myself more involved this holidays, with my siblings’ preparations for their end-year exams, as well as some extra moneys in the form of English tuition. $25 an hour for an initiate like me is pretty good! Meanwhile, gym has become a priority, since NAPFA is just 2 months away. Scary stuff (but also to impress the girls. Haha. I digress).

Ok, on to my 200th post proper. “Peace” is such an abstract term (no, you don’t get “peace” in TF2, I promise you), but somehow music, more than words, seems to be able to encompass all that it stands for. It can lull you to quiet slumber, or turn you into a hippie (again I digress), but most importantly it is so appealing because we lack so much of it in this world. Death, death on newspapers everywhere,  but barely a few passages on the happiness of this world.

Or maybe we’re just being moribund. Maybe.

If there can be a completely liberal SAT essay on what peace is about, I’d use music, not so much in what the lyrics are but how the melody harmonises oh so brilliantly in serendipity. And if there’s a piece I can quote, it would be John Rutter’s A Gaelic Blessing.

There’s something about the piece, and the voices (courtesy of the Cambridge Singers) that just coos “Peace”. The last few chords could just make you feel that beauty, true beauty, still exists in this world.

Not convinced? Here it is.

Aww, isn’t that sweet? Standing ovation.

If you ever feel frazzled (and I know there will come a time when you do), give this a listen, and feel the weight in your mind just lift away…

Before I sign off, here’s wishing you a happy holiday (to come, if books are still your thing)!

Till then!~

When one is asked of what works of a particular composer he or she knows of, answers are typically (and so, unsurprisingly) standard.

Handel, for instance, was most famed for his later works, largely for his last patron, King George II, with the likes of his Music for the Royal Fireworks and his Coronation Anthems. His earlier works, Water Music aside, are largely second-rated in place for his more popular tunes which were distinctly Hanoverian.

The eminent composer was however, composing for more than simply George II, or even George I, who were indeed Hanoverian. He had created music dedicated to a sovereign-predecessor, who was the last monarch of a dynastic line directly descended from the kings of Scotland: Queen Anne.

Handel had indeed composed a piece, worded by Ambrose Philips, for the Queen’s birthday in 1713; it was one of his beginning pieces for Britain, where he will live for the next 46 years. Aptly it was called Eternal Source of Light Divine, prepared for the contralto.

Today there are many beautiful versions, but in my opinion the purest and smoothest voice was provided by Elin Manahan Thomas, who sang this one octave higher than in the original piece. The result is that it is as though you were listening to an angel sing (and I do not mean Supernatural’s angels); you almost want to forgive the world for all its sins.

Amongst other pieces, this has enabled me to soldier on with my endless projects and report-drafting, which would otherwise likely be impossible to complete. There’s still loads to go, and with exams coming up, music such as this will help loads in lightening the workload in the weeks to come.

So, for your listening pleasure:

I am also thankful that my application to work at Moody’s has come into fruition. I start in December as an intern (and unlike most other interns in local companies I will learn real, work-practical stuff) for $1,200 a month! I will definitely need to think of a post-graduation holiday destination and, hopefully, I can work there full-time for sometime to come afterwards! 🙂

Please, holidays, come quick! My brain is overworked……..

Till then!~

CXCVIII – More Mozart

A few years back, during my grandmother’s funeral, I played a few otherwise repetitive pieces from an old disc I had (yes it’s gone now), and among pieces from Tchaikovsky, Beethoven and Mozart that was one that truly tugged my heartstrings. And at such a time, I shed some tears. It was as though the music itself had expressed the pain of my grandmother’s passing through the voices, the violins. Never have I felt that way before or since.

The piece had since been lost and, owing to the fact I also lost whatever album covers associated with it, I could never find it online. And I thought I had lost that wonderful, wonderful piece forever.

Or so I thought. A week prior I had been piece-hopping through YouTube, listening to a ton of great music, past and present – I do make time to listen to pop – when an interesting 8-note entrance caught my ears. And quite quickly my eyes became awash with tears.

Six years. And almost to the day. I breathed in each and every last note, cresendo, quiver…it was an absolute breath of fresh air. Quite frankly, I doubt I’d get tired of listening to it again and again…and again.

Ok, enough chatter. Enjoy this little musical ‘renaissance’ I’ve experienced! The brainchild of Mozart’s eternal genius – a variation of Ave Verum Corpus, KV 618.

Besides the serious and sombre, Mozart can also compose pieces which are far less subtle with what message it intends to bring across…in fact it is just plain rude. It’s none other than Bona Nox!, composed and performed in a very interesting canon fashion.

It’s also sung in a mix of Latin, German, French and some other European languages, so if you don’t understand the message, fret not – a user has very kindly offered an English Translation:

English of all languages: Good night! [Latin] You are quite an ox; Good night, [Italian] My dear Lotte; Good night, [French] Phooey, phooey; Good night, good night, [English] We still have far to go today; Good night, good night, Shit in your bed with all your might; Good night, sleep tight, And stick your ass to your mouth.

-iornman6

Long post here. Gonna stop for the evening; it’s late and I have to soldier on with my revision.

Till then!~

 

Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, to be exact. It is beyond my understanding why baptismal names need be so long.

Names aside, I love his music. And so do billions of other people. Every piece seems as though it has been handcrafted and delivered with lots of love and care to a rapt audience. Of course, what more does one expect from someone whose entire lifespan had been consumed by a great passion of his?

Over his short life he has amassed a ton of work, more than 600 symphonies, operas, choral music, and much more.

A child celebrity in royal courts to his current status as an international classical superstar. Even he would not have realised the impact his music would bring. Two centuries certainly did not do anything to erode his standing!

Tonight I wish to make better known one of a myriad of his grand works. We know his most famous symphony, No. 9, and that he died composing music for the dead. In fact, many do not know beyond a few immensely popular pieces what Mozart has left as gifts for the world to savour.

This particular symphony was performed by the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, conducted by Neville Marriner. Enjoy the rest of the summer holidays! Well, in Singapore summer happens to be omnipresent all-year, so…yeah.

Symphony No. 25 in G minor

Have yourselves a good evening 🙂

CXCVI – About-face

Turn around...

I have been blogging for the past 2 years and 10 months, hitherto totalling a meagre 196 blog posts. Almost all of them have at least a subtle hint of what my life is in and between the lines. Of the bright, of the dark; of the highs and of the lows. I have gone from a gushing, introverted young boy on the threshold of success to a less gushy, less introverted, less young man, less so on the threshold of success.

Which probably means, my life hasn’t changed. So much, at least. My 2008 self would still recognise the me of today, albeit a tad more (ego alert) dashing. Haha.

Recently went back to Choir Camp this past week, and I realised how old I am becoming. I do not know 90% of the current choristers. I know not what they sing. Their skits feel outlandish (on hindsight, that’s how WE acted when we were 14, so no excuses there). Something in me tells me I no longer fit in there, that I must move on.

As I turn into an adult, I hold life’s great referendum: what to keep, and what to discard.

And to do that, I will have to swing around and look at my life thus far from the great pedestal of life’s experiences.  An about-face in my life.

Which reminds me of another about-face moment. George Yeo had, following his loss during this year’s GE, indicated that he won’t compete for the Presidency. And guess what, just yesterday his supporters collected the paperworks of Presidential candidacy for him.

Mr Yeo, sir, as much as you may be a good President (in the eyes of the people), reneging on your word reflects badly upon you. Furthermore, the President, being the Reserves Custodian, is supposedly to know what is stored inside. Other than the Hon. Mr Ong Teng Cheong, who at least attempted something of the sort, no other president I have heard have made any real effort to find out. Which makes the position look like a cash cow. An unnecessary one. More speak of it, so this is just another opinion in an ocean of cacophony.

Anyways, back to the music. I have just discovered another viola de gamba piece that is so haunting. This is Sainte-Colombe’s element, playing right into his hands (pun intended). Even after 350 years, the Suite for Solo Viola de Gamba still strikes in the deepest chambers of the stoutest hearts.

If you want to reminisce a tad, here’s the original viol post – CLICK!

I am sorry if I haven’t posted in so long – I will post up my sketch of King George III next time (now that it’s the holidays!)!! 😀

Till then!~