Thursday, September 15, 2005

Last minute attendance

This evening, I attended the concert by the Conservatory Orchestra. It was considered a last minute attendance since I had only bought the tickets at 6.45 p.m. this evening. The concert was to start at 7.30 p.m. tonight.

Initially I feared I would be tired from work and late nights, so I decided not to buy ticket for tonight's concert in case I would end up sleeping throughout the concert. I certainly do not wish to earn myself the infamous reputation of being the sleeping audience.

Yet somehow in the mid afternoon, I found that I would have sufficient energy to pull myself through the concert if I were to attend it after work, so I gave it a little more thought. Tonight was Emily's first concert with the Conservatory Orchestra, and it would help to give her some cheers and support to set her first concert with them going right. And furthermore, our double bass tutor told us during our lessons held yesterday that tonight's concert was worth a watch.

So I left my office on the dot. It takes about 45 minutes to get from my office to the ticketing booth that was near the concert venue. I went to the ticketing outlet at this place called Raffles City. Thereafter, had a quick dinner. As there were long queues in many of the eateries, I ended up eating bread and soft-boiled eggs at Ya Kun Kaya Toast. Dinner had seemed more like breakfast. The good thing is that I generally like food from the breakfast menu.

Thereafter I headed for the concert venue. The concert was held in Victoria Concert Hall. Perfect timing, I reached the venue in time for the concert.

The programme for tonight was as follow:

  • Night on Bald Mountain - Modest Mussorgsky, orchestrated by Rimsky-Korsakov
  • Trumpet Concerto in E minor, Op. 18 - Oskar Böhme
  • Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36 "Enigma" - Edward Elgar

The orchestra's rendition of Night on Bald Mountain and Enigma Variations sounded commendable and worth a listen to. I quite like the encore too. I experienced that the orchestra has grown and improved if I were to compare this evening's concert with the previous concert by the same orchestra that I had attended. The double bass section sounded better as an ensemble tonight compared to when I heard them in April. They sounded more confident in their playing. Certainly, they seemed more able to relate to Enigma Variations than Brahms' First Symphony. Good work folks.

I am getting envious on the fact that the conservatory orchestra's double bass section sounded relatively more in tune than my own orchestra's double bass section. And while I admit my intonation is not completely perfect, I have done all I could to play as in tune as possible. Woe is that not everything could be within my control. Whatever it is, hopefully my diligent practicing would help serve as a good example for others to follow? I hope to hear a more in-tuned section one day, and I shall do my part to work towards perfection in my intonation. Of course, it is actually unfair to compare us with the double bass players in the conservatory orchestra. Most of the double bass players in the conservatory orchestra major in double bass, but very few of us in our orchestra are music major.

The bassoons sounded pretty good, in my opinion. In addition, I thought that the cello section played well for Variation XII of Engima Variations. Somehow, Engima Variations sounded nice when it is played in Victoria Concert Hall. It did not sound as intimate when I last heard another orchestra played it Esplanade Concert Hall. I considered myself lucky that I got myself a circle seat tonight. Not only did I get a good view of the orchestra, the sound was better when one sits at the circle area of Victoria Concert Hall.

I personally did not like the rendition of the Trumpet Concerto. My ears did not like the way that the tone of the trumpet seemed to clash with the tones of the orchestra. Second movement was alright, but the first and third movement sounded as if the trumpet and the orchestra were not playing as an ensemble. They simply sounded as if they were separate entities. But then again, I am not trumpeter, so I fear my humble opinion was simply an act of being too critical.

Talking about critical, Emily would have been more critical than me. I shall await to hear her reviews of this concert.

For now, I am hoping that soon someone would play a double bass concerto. It has been a while since I have last heard a double bass concerto in Singapore. I am certain that the double bass concerto will turn out great if my tutor were to be the one playing.

Meantime, I quote the words of a nice lady whom I got to meet during the interval. She said that the concert was good. I agree to much extent. Considering that this concert was put up by conservatory students, who had rehearsed and came up with the final end-product within a short time-frame, I must say everyone on stage deserves an encouraging round of applause for the effort put in. The conservatory orchestra did sound like that it has improved. Good work.

After the concert, I found a way to sneak to the backstage to say hello to Emily. Thanks to my tutor.

1 comment:

Simple American said...

What a lovely evening.

I love Night on Bald Mountain which I first heard at the age of 5. Of course being a horror writer what would you expect. Perhaps that early exposure made me what I am today.