Friday, October 21, 2005

Sir Rodney and Kenny (no) G

NUS piano ensemble presents...
La Chanson Et Danse

The musical performance at UCC on wednesday was quite an event for me to act the high class artsy fartsy dork I am not - other than being most improperly dressed for the event. I should have been fashionably late to pull the act off better, but no... - I was on time. How can I be late for your performance? =)

I am constantly led to wonder if cultural well-behaviour meant the refusal of the best viewing seats located at the sides of the upper levels of the theatre. If it does, I might have been the only ruffian in the theatre to enjoy the best in viewing and listening pleasures that night with me in bird eye view of everyone else, and the piano's lid providing an indirect projection of the acoustics from the soundboard within.

As the pianists played their melodious tunes, my mind drifted to thoughts on the value of Music. ...

What is the value of Music? Music has been a foreign agent to me (I can't tell my Renaissance from my Baroque.) My reference to music here is NOT contemporary music, but those that you hear on Symphony 92.4FM or in Victoria Concert Hall - contemp. music, I can deal with. I have never had any music lessons, unless you consider those immensely short periods of towgay readings and recorders in pri school and sec 1 and sec 2. The only music education I have is from MTV and radio. And from the umpteenth times I sang Mari Kita in school.

In the performance, the pianists played with absolute passion. It is clear the amount of practise they have on those ivories - how long have they been playing at them? 10 years? 15 years? What is the total expenditure for educating a person to reach performance level in piano? 30K? I have always wanted to be able at the piano without considerations of the efforts and costs behind it, but now I am led to consider - if I had the time and resources to pursue piano playing, would I have had played the piano or engage in other more profitable activities? I am not sure. I am quite a realist, and a bit of a dreamer.

Anyway, back to the performance.

I am quite sure half of all expert piano players look quite dorky - from the current sample size. They play well, but move with manners of primary school kids going up the stage to collect their book prizes at End of Year ceremonies. But maybe I am just being dismissive and jealous at their skills.

Sir Rodney captured me with his trance-like behaviour when he played 'L'isle Joyeuse' - he looked quite normal without any artistic bearings, but when he played the piano, it almost seemed like he was natural with the keys.

Sir Rodney
At times, he was smiling, at times he was frowning; at times his body was flowing to the soothing music, head nodding in agreement, at times he was repelled by the erratic rhythm which he couldn't stop playing no matter how hard he tried while his head shake in vehement disagreement - it was almost like watching a possessed being in action. I am in awe of his involvement, I seriously am.

What put me off was Mr. Maksim-wannabe playing Elektrik. Notwithstanding the wayang-ness of his appearance (with ditzy Windows Media Player visualisation on display, he sat on the piano bench and made the audience waited for a good few minutes before a 'We're sorry for the technical error' abruptly ended his first appearance.) His second appearance at the end of the performance played a Maksim-style techno-piano piece, which is, no doubt, quite nice to hear. The only fault I found was the background music being too overwhelming and drowned his piano playing. And his repugnant parakeet hairdo. And his brown coat. He would have been better off wearing a black tee and jeans - that will show a sleek fuss-free style centered at optimal performance, nothing grandiose, nothing superfluous.

The Man himself

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