Latest Entries »

It’s been too long since I last posted, so now I have got to post again, lest my blog dies a natural death.

School has had an immediate pressure upon me; spending time to write suddenly seems rather…impractical. Right now there’s so much swilling about in my head, as though the slops of it are just about to spill off the top. Inspiration has been hard to get by, which makes writing all the more difficult.

Right now I’m learning so much that will affect my adult working life. And working life in Singapore, as many living here would know, requires paper. Lots of paper. Just to prove yourself worthy and perhaps leap that catch-22 hurdle we all fear.

Catch-22 – a term along with ‘alternative’ – has become a trend here, especially in this post-election nation, where the ruling party, PAP, has 93% of the seats in Parliament through just 60% of the people’s mandate. How – and why – this happened, I shall decline to explain here. It is too much to type. Go googling about abit and I’m sure you’ll see why…quickly.

(I am moderately pro-alternative. It’s just that sometimes power seeps into the deepest recesses of the Party psyche so much so that someone just needs to bring them back down to earth and allow them to see what really is going on on the ground. GE 2011 is only a teeny baby step, IMHO. After all, we don’t agree to disagree for the sake of it, yes?)

Wait. Why am I talking about this! This is supposed to be a musical blog, not a political one! So let’s move on shall we?

For those who have watched Britain’s Royal Wedding recently, you may remember the first piece that was played as Kate (now Duchess) walked the long walk down the aisle at Westminster Abbey. While that rendition was not bad, methinks the one sung by the choir at St Paul’s is much better.

This next video is from 2002, during the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, when this was sung to near orgasmic perfection. The trumpets and organ complemented one another as much as tea would with cupcakes! I was Glad – a wonderful masterpiece from Sir Charles H.H. Parry. This piece has also been tied together with Vivat Regina Elizabetha, for good measure. Excellent!

Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry

If you do want to see the scripted version, well, here it is! This is the unadulterated version Sir Charles intended for Edward VII’s coronation in 1902. Just Organ and voices. Beautifully serene, methinks.

Well, that is all! To me it’s the sort of music I’d wind down to, especially after an arduous day at home or school. For me to forget, even for a few moments, the worries of the world.

Goodnight! 🙂

If anyone is still guessing, it’s less than 2 days away. And quite frankly, I can’t wait. It’s been far too long to be on study hiatus anyways.

Thankfully, my timetable is spliced in such a way that I can continue going to gym 3 times a week sans fears of interruption. And fitness wise, it ain’t going to be like how it was the last time. Little done, and worse off (and more on) later. Those times really sucked.

If I can put holidays in another way, it’s like getting to know someone new, then having that person stay with you day in day out, going wherever you go, doing whatever you do. I mean, who wouldn’t be bored (sick and tired actually) of someone like that? Phooey.

Having no life during the hols is far worse than having a life mugging. Trust me.

Anyhow, I’d like to post a piece of music I’ve grown fond of over several hearings. Anyone who has had a computer/laptop with an OS either Windows XP or older would find a minute-long sample in the Music folder. This sample I have heard many times as we bought successive lappies to replace the quickly obsolescent. Surely some of you would have remembered the first few seconds?

It’s of course none other than Beethoven’s Symphony No.9, Molto Vivace. While many link this symphony to his omnipotent Ode to Joy, it is actually just one of three movements (and the last). This here is the 1st movement. And to be quite frank, it is one hell of a forceful piece, so vibrant and energetic. Enjoy.

Well, I had better bugger off before my dad does it for me. He’s quite a stickler for time. G’night!

Till then!~

Well, no comments in that previous post, but that didn’t stop the incessant flow of ideas coming thus from Twitter and Facebook. And finally I did embark on a sketch project.

Ok, two projects actually. The first was via a poll (fine, I asked), and the Leaning Tower of Pisa came out tops. It was sketched and traced in earnest, and eventually it came to a happy conclusion!

Then, I decided to do one on my own. The Chrysler building is the darling of photographers, with its distinctive Art Deco style and beautiful spire. This time, I came up with the idea to sketch without the need for a pen (thank goodness for a Canon scanner), and the result of an hour and a half of wrist-banging sketching became delightfully evident.

Ta-da! I love it. Plain pencil-sketching has brought about a new dimension of which I so crave – dynamism.

I’m not your sketch-from-memory sort of a fellow, so in all instances I draw with an aid of a photograph, and in some cases the picture itself gets changed somewhat. No matter though, I love the end result in any case, as do my friends 🙂 do you?

I guess I shall place all my future pictures up here of WordPress too!

With these behind me, I am now jumping eagerly onto my next one – either the Louvre museum, the Venetian waterways, or Singapore’s Esplanade Theaters. Well of course, I can’t get at them all at once…after all, men can’t multi-task, right?? I should be finishing my 1st sketch by tomorrow, so fingers crossed!

Of course, I cannot end this post without mentioning some really regal baroque music! I love the harpsichord, and what better piece is there than one fully dedicated to it? No prizes; it’s Handel. To be more specific, Suite for harpsichord in G minor HWV432 “The Eight Great Suites” No. 7 Mov. 6. Passacaille (Chaconne), as performed by Paul Nicholson.  Many Youtubers seem to point to Baroque music as the basis for modern metal pieces. Is it true?

I have also learnt to not over-read certain events on newspapers. Doing that has some sort of ‘numbing’ effect on the psyche of a human, and once you see the same tragedy running by you over and over again, it gives you that ‘ah-damn-it-I’m-sick-and-tired-of-reading-the-same-old-sh*t-again’ mentality. It’s just like hearing a good joke over and over again (sorry about the reversed analogy, I just can’t think of a better one this moment), after a while it just becomes old.

Ah well, that’s enough for today. Time to enjoy the rest of my week before school starts :/

Till then!~

In pencil, that is.

Sketching has been part of life since I could put pencil to paper, so doing this is just about second nature. And now I am doing a wee project – buildings of the world. And now I need a consensus: which structure do I draw? Here’s a list:

a) Pyramids of Giza
b) CN  Tower, Toronto
c) Willis (Sears) Tower, Chicago
d) Chrysler Building, NYC
e) Leaning Tower of Piza
f) The Esplanade, Singapore
g) Shanghai World Financial Centre
h) Tower Bridge, London

Yep, do vote quick, ‘cos I want to start quick, too 🙂

Moving on, I’ve recently returned from an FOC crash party, and though I didn’t talk to freshies during the Amazing Race (I’m the shy one hehe) I still  had fun, nevermind dancing during Disco Night and notwithstanding some, erm, wilder facets to the 2 days 😀 Going to gym has made me look loads better!

Also, while surfing YouTube I found this great video of someone playing a harpsichord. And playing Scarlatti’s piece, the Sonata in D major, K435. She may be a tad mechanical, but hey, this piece, and indeed any of Scarlatti’s pieces, isn’t easy to pull off…

Lastly I’d like to share an image which resounds with the resilience of the Japanese people. It appears that in Rikuzentakata, a wave swept away all civilization, and basically an entire forest – save one tree. And by all accounts it looks like it’s gonna be made into a heritage site, an everlasting symbol of prevalence over even the most trying of events.

And on that note, goodnight 🙂 Vote quick!

The debacles:

Monday has revealed yet more of the damage to the world, with the horrifying images of Minami-sanriku reaching the masses. The official death toll as of now is roughly 1,600, but as reports of 2,000 bodies found along the coast of Miyagi prefecture flow in and as SAR teams reveal yet more death this is expected to rise dramatically. One wonders how these people spent the last minutes of their lives…

Yet another explosion has rocked the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, but thankfully the containment chambers remain intact. Also, Reactor #2’s cooling systems have failed, exposing radioactive rods and possibly causing a partial meltdown, which is immensely worrying for many nearby. Several people being scanned showed traces of radiation but is reported not to be in harmful amounts. By the looks of things, this should be less destructive than the Three-Mile Island and Chernobyl incidents, JAEA reports.

Still, this has global repercussions. In Europe, people are protesting against the use of nuclear power, particularly in Germany and France; Indonesia wants them, which I think is absurd, considering its proximity to fault lines as well as quality concerns which are likely to compromise such plants. Worse still for me, being in Singapore puts me in the line of fire should any Indo reactors spew radiation. No, Indonesia. NO.

Also I’ve been receiving SMSes regarding risk of radioactive rain in S’pore and as of now even a drizzle can cause cancer. The idea is there, and it is possible, but there is a flaw. Radiation is somewhat localised in northeast Japan still, and even then the levels are mild. Furthermore, one must look at wind patterns and see whether it actually puts us in the firing line. Still it’s worthy of note that radiation can travel thousands of miles, vis-a-vis Chernobyl, which swept radiation through Western USSR and basically the whole of Europe, so distance is not likely a factor.

Also, Japan experiences the 1st blackout in half a century, leaving many out of power, as well as supplies, as reaching stricken areas is still a monumental task. I guess even for a country as well prepared as Japan, there are some things that simply cannot be overcome…

Now, the miracle(s):

Rescue efforts are stepping up and many tens of thousands have since been saved, and one particular example shows the tenacity of the Japanese people. An elderly man, swept 9 miles to sea by the tsunami, managed to stay on his home’s roof and was eventually picked up, safe and sound. For that I am happy. 🙂

International aid is also picking up; the USS Ronald Reagan, along with the US 7th Fleet it has travelled to Japan to send aid. The US is just one of many countries providing or pledging aid. The world in such turbulent times seems ever willing to help others in need. Even individuals at home can help: in Singapore the Red Cross can be contacted through 6334 9152 / 6334 9153 / 6334 9154.

It’s approaching the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Looks like 2011 is to be a year truly to remember…for all the wrong reasons.

I have  a piece of music to share, one that is utterly stirring. It’s Secret Garden’s Song from a Secret Garden. I think the piece can speak for itself.

Goodnight, world.

And goodnight, Japan. ~

Scary, yes? But this is how Japanese buildings are designed to withstand earthquakes like these.

I hear up to 10,000 people may have died, 9,500 of whom are from the northeast town of Minami-sanriku. Every hour this becomes more nightmarish.

Worse still is the increasing possibility of a partial nuclear meltdown, from Fukushima (another explosion?) and Onegawa (now in a state of emergency). Someone mentioned this resembles a typical Hollywood disaster movie and, apparently, he isn’t far from the truth.

I sleep. But it will be uneasy.

Goodnight. Another morning of uncertainty awaits.~

Vortex off Japan's coast

When I heard of the tsunami that Japan was being afflicted by yesterday, I dismissed it initially. After all, newspapers have mentioned of a mini one, not more than 60cm high, striking Japan just a day prior. It was not until I flicked the TV on and headed to the BBC that I finally realised the devastation that has been wrought. Images of Sendai being drowned in a 10m tsunami, amongst others, broke my heart.

Japan has done immensely well coming to the earthquake. All their lives they’ve been trained for such a situation, and it came down to this. Buildings also largely survived the 8.9 jolt. It’s what came after that which was utterly terrifying.

I watched with abject horror as a wall of water, apparently careening towards Sendai, rolled over sea and into land. And the wave swallowed everything – buildings, farmland, rivers, roads. And it went up to 6 miles inland.

For hours (yes, literally) I watched Skynews, CNN, BBC, NHK, trying to grasp the events which were occurring all over Northeast Japan. And that was only the beginning…

If there’s anything worse than an earthquake and tsunami combined, it’d be an earthquake, tsunami AND a possible Chernobyl replay. Mother kept exclaiming when news broke of a possible leakage. She exclaimed more when this happened:

“Oh dear”, she cried out. “Oh no, that’s it.”

And now there is a low level radiation leak at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant I. Fires in the oil refinery near Tokyo are yet to be put out; aftershocks are expected for much of March, and tsunami warnings are still abound. Possibly over a thousand are dead; thousands more unaccounted for.

Still, there are bright spots: the resilience of the Japanese people, their incredible level of preparedness, and the government’s frankness and transparency of the situation. In days as dark as these, morale is the last thing that needs to be lost.

In conjunction with the ongoing situation, I find it apt to present this piece. I don’t know why, but I find it most suited to situations like these, where beauty is found even in the harshest of conditions. It’s the Beautiful Swan.

Just a clean piano piece. And it can tear you up. (as in ear, not air)

I salute you, Japan, for your strength and courage. And I pray for you in this difficult time. Please be safe. Please.

Sleep safe, Japan.

Goodnight~

Sorry folks, for the past week following the end of my torture I faced issues with WordPress. Failure to load was a major issue. Anyways, now that I can type, THE EXAMS ARE OVER. LIKE FINALLY.

Went to watch ‘No Strings Attached’ with my poly mates thereafter. Naturally from there one can deduce why it is rated M18…better not elaborate. Heh.

Anyways, there is music that can be used to celebrate. And what more grandiose way to do just that with Handel’s Zadok the Priest? It was written as part of 4 coronation anthems for the ascension of George II of Great Britain to the throne in 1727. It’s one that has survived right to this day in that very role. So famous is this piece that in 1993 it became the inspiration for the UEFA Champions League anthem! Play that and you’ll hear stark similarities between the two.

Here’s the best sample I can find. And of course, the video was created by a monarchist. Let’s not get carried away here; enjoy and be part of the crowd who heralded George II’s ascension!

I don’t have long now, so to those having taken leave from school: HAPPY HOLIDAYS! 🙂

CLXXXVII – Cello.

A cello

It forms the backbone of any Baroque concerto. The cello.

No. It defines Baroque. The cello itself, I believe, is Baroque.

It has a predecessor: a viol.

Viol

They were held differently, though I thought they somehow managed to produce a similar, deep, mellow, melancholic effect that haunts the inner depths of the soul. Haunting, and beautiful.

Here’s a viol in action. The piece being played is Improvisation sur les Folies. Note it is a very effective solo instrument.

And not long after that, the cello made an appearance. And it is most acknowledged no more than in Vivaldi’s works. A YouTube user mentioned that Vivaldi manages to lighten the Baroque sound with a mix of high and low notes, thereby making a balance to the otherwise overwhelmingly dark overtures evident in Bach’s works.

Vivaldi’s Concerto for 2 cellos, RV 531 is a personal favourite of mine. It has 3 movements, the 2nd of which, Largo, is the most melancholic (and in my opinion beautiful). The cellos are wonderfully played, and in turn they are perfectly counterbalanced by the violins and harpsichord.

Sorry, got to keep it short, otherwise I wouldn’t have any time left to study ):

Good evening!~

CLXXXVI – I. Hate. Exams.

One’s coming up tomorrow. Corporate Finance.

I have prepared for it thoroughly, I think. But at the expense of so many hours. And it will repeat itself tirelessly for the following 2 weeks. At least by then the holidays will be my reward for all the mental toil.

So, while we all cram as many lessons as we can into our swollen craniums, why not listen to something that would help? Pop music is out for me; I’d get too distracted. How about something purely instrumental? I guess you know where I’m going with this.

A friend of mine mentioned to me, to my surprise, that she uses classical music, albeit ones with a fast tempo, to help her through the endless project work. Courtesy of Symphony 92.4. Most people I know use rap/R&B/pop to do work. Well, each one to his own. I can’t complain.

Here’s something decidedly fast-paced. And loud clearly audible. That should keep you awake through the most hardened of assignments.

It’s Mozart’s Harpsichord Concerto No. 1 KV 107. This was written around 1768-70 if I’m not wrong, when Mozart was only 12-14 years of age. Not surprising really, since he may have started composing from as young as 4. FOUR.

It has many borrowed styles, this one from Bach (J.S. or J.C.). And here the harpsichord is the centrepiece. For someone so young, composing this is next to genius. Really.

Allegro:

Of course you won’t be simply studying for 7 mins, so you can continue the rest of the concerto on YT!

Oh, and to all my friends taking CF, here it is again!

Courtesy of Buttersafe.

And now, MORE Corporate Finance. -.-

Good afternoon!~