Thursday, May 31, 2007

Thanks for coming by

Special thanks to the many friends and supporters who have came for the performance: Esplanade Presents
At the Concourse: Basso Bravo

Here are friends from the blogosphere who have so generously set aside time to listen to the performance:
Pinkie
Eastcoastlife
hhdu
Beer Brat
carcar


And other friends:
C., Shar, HY, J., JQ, TM, I, YJ and more.

Not to forget, our dear double bass tutor, Mr G.

If you have missed tonight's performance, there is one more night for you to listen to a double bass ensemble from Singapore. Details are below:

Venue: Esplanade Concourse, Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, Singapore
Date: 30 and 31 May 2007 (Wed and Thu)
Time: 7.30 p.m. - 8.00 p.m. and 8.45 p.m. - 9.15 p.m. on both nights
Admission is Free.

My apologies, no photo to show here. I was too busy playing on the double bass and didn't have the time to take photos. Of course, if you have photos of the performance to share, I would very much welcome them.

**
Also check out http://dbassists.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Quiet moments

Questions
Unanswered yet
Chaos
Hiding like quiet waves

Stood
Alone
Searched
And still searching

And now
Quiet moments
Wishing to connect
Yet restrained

Fun with the double bass

Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE!
After playing Tony Osborne's Blues-Style

Be treated to classical and contemporary pieces played on the double bass. Catch this rare double bass ensemble performance tomorrow and on Thursday. Performed by d'Bassists, possibly one of Singapore's only existing and performing double bass ensembles.

Hope to see some of you there.

d’Bassists' upcoming performance:
Esplanade Concourse, Singapore
30 and 31 May 2007
7.30 p.m. - 8.00 p.m. and
8.45 p.m. - 9.15 p.m.
Free.

Monday, May 28, 2007

d'Bassists behind the scene

Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE!

If you are wondering how d'Bassists have been preparing for our upcoming performance at the Esplanade, please check out our blog: http://dbassists.blogspot.com

For a sneak preview of how some members of d'Bassists had spent our Sunday evening yesterday, here's one of the dishes that we have had for last night's dinner:

Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE!

Actually, I would say that music feeds the soul way better than good food. But it is nice to have both these two good things in life.

Last but not the least, I hope I can have a chance to play for my dear readers at d'Bassists' upcoming performance. Here are the details:

Esplanade Presents
At The Concourse: Basso Bravo!
by d'Bassists
Esplanade Concourse, Singapore
30 and 31 May 2007
7.30 p.m. - 8.00 p.m. and
8.45 p.m. - 9.15 p.m.
Free.

Hope to see some of you there.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Mini show-time: Dreams in Flight



In one of my earlier posts, I have mentioned that I went to watch Dreams in Flight presented by the La Fura dels Baus (Spain) on 25 May 2007. Here's presenting a mini-slide show of the photos that I have taken while I was at the performance.

If you are in Singapore, you can still catch Dreams in Flight at the Padang, at 8 p.m. tonight.

If words had been my medium of expression

To :

You said I could write
About what I find
Hard to express
Verbally

Yet certain things
Aren't really the essence
And the essence
I have yet been able
To express in words

But I sat facing the screen anyway
In hope that those words may flow
Yet they don't

Perhaps words don't matter
Neither does explanation
For the essential
What truly matters
Needs to be sensed
Not with the ears or the eyes

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Week 21 of year 2007 on the double bass

20 May 2007, Sun: In the early afternoon, I spent some time practising on the double bass at home. The main objective of the practice was to get my fingers familiar with playing the various double bass ensemble works that I would be playing later that afternoon.

In the afternoon, I was at the university's campus rehearsing more than two hours with QH and XM. The Sentimental Bossa is taking shape. The Ragtime sounded more jazzy. Cool!

21 May 2007, Mon: In hope to work on Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro on my double bass lesson this week, I spent about 20 minutes practising selected passages from Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro.

Afterwhich, I practised a selected passage from Sentimental Bossa so as to get the intonation better. Playing the double bass has helped wear away the drained feeling that had bugged me since the late afternoon.

23 May 2007, Wed: Double bass lesson was held in the afternoon. My tutor told me about a bow worth buying, and I bought it. For the lesson, I worked on Marcello's Sonata in G major to make it an interesting music piece of work for the ears. Afterwhich, I worked on Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro.

In the evening, after XM's lesson with our orchestra's double bass tutor, GM, we had double bass sectionals. We spent a good more than two hours working on Solomon's Sentimental Bossa, W.A. Mozart's Allegro, L. Mozart's Polonaise, Bach's Minuett, Tchaikovsky's Neopolitanian Dance (from Swan Lake) and Berlin's Ragtime. Thanks to tutor GM, I finally understood the musical joke behind W.A. Mozart's Allegro. It was such an interesting revelation. I think W.A. Mozart is such a musical genius.

26 May 2007, Sat: I spent slightly more than 15 minutes practising the first and second movements of Marcello's Sonata in G major.

After the short practice, I listened to a CD recording of Bottesini's Passione Amorosa performed by Gary Karr and Ermanno Ferrari on the double bass. It was lovely.

**
I wish I could practise for longer periods of time, but that was what I can manage with a demanding work week. Anyway, this week is yet another week where I reach my target of practising at least 4 days per week, at least 15 minutes each of the days.

What's up in June 2007: remixed



While surfing the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay's website, I found out that re: mix will be performing at the Esplanade Concourse.

Here are the details:

Esplanade Presents
At The Concourse: Remixed
1 - 3 Jun 07, Fri - Sun
6.45 - 7.15pm & 8.45 - 9.15pm, Concourse

re: mix is classical music with an edge from a group of young musicians from various orchestras in Singapore. Led by SSO violinist Foo Say Ming, the group presents musical programmes that blend ideas from various genres and eras.

This programme is held in conjunction with Singapore Arts Festival 2007.

**
Also see: Esplanade Presents
At The Concourse: Basso Bravo!

Friday, May 25, 2007

PY has watched: Dreams In Flight



At 8 p.m. this evening, I was at the Padang (which means open field in Malay) to catch Dreams In Flight presented by the La Fura dels Baus (Spain). This performance is part of the Singapore Arts Festival's Festival Opening.

I find the music that was played too loud for my ears. After the first 3 minutes of the performance, I had to take out and use my ear plugs. Protect our ears, the use of ear plugs is highly recommended if you would be attending this performance.

I was also quite impressed by the volunteers who formed the aerial 'human net'. They did a pretty good job considering the fact that they only had about two days of training. Good work!

To end the performance, there was a fireworks display. It was pretty beautiful.

If you would like to catch Dreams in Flight, here are the details:

25 – 27 May, 8pm
Padang
Free


Sponsored by OCBC Bank
Supported by Embassy of Spain

Read Singapore



I came across a post on READ! Singapore when I was reading a post by Rambling Librarian.

The key objective of the READ! Singapore initiative is to promote a culture of reading among Singaporeans as it aims to provide Singaporeans with an opportunity to rediscover the joys of reading, by creating a common topic of discussion and conversation amongst people.


Reading can be a pleasant activity to be involved in. With my current pace of life, I realised it can be a challenge to find time to read the books that I would like to read. Anyway, I seem to be reading blogs and books related to music nowadays. Oh, I also have a habit of browsing through the Chinese newspapers Lianhe Zaobao quickly in the morning before leaving home, if you call this reading?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Untitled 24 May 2007

I'm crying deep down yet I can't articulate with precision the complex feeling that I am expriencing. Overwhelmed, I am.

It is complex: that being in touch with my vulnerabilities can make me cry deep inside.

Nothing else to say, except: Thank you for caring.


You Are a Good Friend Because You're Accepting

No matter what a friend says or does, you try your best to understand it.
And your friends feel like they can tell you anything. You don't judge.

You know that friendship is a journey - with a lot of ups and downs.
If you and a friend grow apart, you get over it quickly... and leave the potential for future friendship open.

You tend to have many friends from many walks of life. Anyone you meet is could become a friend.
In fact, you are especially interested in people who are a little different than you. Seeing life from another perspective is something you cherish.

Your friends need you most when: They can't turn to anyone else with their secrets

You really can't be friends with: Dogmatic, stubborn people

Your friendship quote: "Love is blind, but friendship closes its eyes."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

One of my flaws

Feel
Yet don't know how to say
Too much in touch
In one's feelings
Yet best know
The way to liberate
Is to write.

If this is one flaw
Should I speak the world's language
Or write my heartfelt songs?

And I wonder if this flaw
Makes you feel
I am ever so distant?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The sensations of stress

Are these sensations of stress?
Feeling that pins of numbness
Are striking the chest and abdomen

The throat feels tight
The hands are clenched
Breathe gets shallow
And an uneasy feeling

And while playing music helps
I am now too physically tired
And mentally exhausted to even practise

Would things get better?
I certainly hope so.

On Yesterday.sg: A tour like no other





Malay Heritage Centre deserves praises for its attempts to make the museum accessible to everyone, including the Deaf and the visually-challenged.

Please check out Karen's post: A Tour Like No Other.

**
Also see a post on the Eastern Surprise Food Trail which I had missed: http://www.hungrygowhere.com/event.php#8

Monday, May 21, 2007

What's behind the scene?


Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE!
Emily, playing the first double bass part of Bach's Air on the G string (for Double Bass duet).
Taken by XM. I like this perspective very much.



Yours truly and my team of double bassists friends have been rehearsing at least once a week for the past few weeks so as to prepare for d'Bassists' upcoming performing.

I like the above photo that XM has taken of Emily. It was taken during one of our quartet's rehearsal. To take a peep into what had went on during some of our rehearsals, please check out: http://dbassists.blogspot.com

Sunday, May 20, 2007

This post explains why

I chanced upon a post by Elaine Fine of Musical Assumptions and that made me realise why I often find practising so fun and enjoyable:

...There is the pleasure of getting the hands and fingers to work together, the pleasure of having good form and a good hand position, the pleasure of figuring out exactly where the fingers need to go to play a passage easily, the pleasure of being able to do a bow stroke, and then there is the pleasure of hearing something that actually sounds good...


Gosh, no wonder I sometimes feel I am addicted to practising. It just feels heavenly many of the times.

Read the full post here: The Pleasure of Practicing

Soar like a bird

With limited energy to draft engaging posts, I decided to do a personality test instead. I like such tests, and it seems quite fast to do.

Gosh, I am looking for guidance myself but this post tells me that people look to me for guidance. I suppose to receive, one has to give too?

Your Power Bird is an Eagle

You are spiritual and able to soar to great heights.
You are a true inspiration, and many people look to you for guidance.
And you are quite demanding in relationships... but you're worth it.
People know that you will become even greater than you imagine.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Health is wealth

I happen to read this post, Singapore woman, 28, dies of overwork at MNC, on vantan's blog.

A quote from the above-mentioned post:

when an ordinary worker, like you and me, drops dead after a long period of exhaustive overwork, you can’t help but feel sorry and wonder if something could have been done to prevent it.

Perhaps a reminder to treasure one's health.

Week 20 of year 2007 on the double bass

Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE!

13 May 2007, Sun: I spent more than an hour practising Marcello's Sonata in e minor, first movement of Capuzzi's Concerto in G major and Murray "Doc" Solomon (2002) Sentimental Bossa. It was fun working out on the double bass.

14 May 2007, Mon: I met up with XM and Emily to rehearse. As Emily and I were early, we started practising J.S. Bach's Air on the G string (for Double Bass duet), arranged by Buell Neidlinger.

When XM arrived, the three of us sight-read several trios written for the double bass. We sight-read three works from Trio Favourites Vol. 1 arranged by Carolyn White. We also played a few other trios. As there was some time, we rehearsed Sentimental Bossa Double Bass quartet by Murray "Doc" Solomon.

Much later in the night, XM had to leave early. Emily and I decided to use the time wisely by sight-reading a couple of duets from Classical & Modern Duets for Two String Basses (edited by Fred Zimmermann).

Overall, it was a night of fun practice. Of course, I think it was quite a challenging session because of the technical demands of the works that we had chosen to sight-read that night.

16 May 2007, Wed: I met XM and Emily yet again and we spent at least two hours playing the double bass that evening.

17 May 2007, Thu: I had double bass lesson with my tutor, MJ. He got me to work on Keyper's Romance and Rondo. Afterwhich, I played the entire Marcello's Marcello in G major. Lesson was good.

Now, I need more time to practise!

19 May 2007, Sat: Before I left my home in the early afternoon, I took some time to practise the solo from the 2nd double bass part of I. Berlin's Ragtime, arranged by G. Mouzyka. Afterwhich, I tried to play the double bass accompaniment part of J.S. Bach's Air on the G string. I also attempted to play J.S. Bach's Minuett. Concluding the practice for today, I practised the solo from P.I. Tchaikovsky's Neopolitanian Dance (from Swan Lake), arranged by G. Mouzyka. Practising is rewarding.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Museums Alive!

It is the Internation Museum Day 2007

Museums come alive this May as Singapore celebrates International Museum Day 2007 from 18 to 27 May.

For more information, please check out: http://www.museums.com.sg/imd07/ and
Gearing up for International Museum Day 2007

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Food Tag

I have been tagged by Simple America's food tag.

**Start Copy**

Proposition: What is your favorite food in your state or country?

Requirements: Find some info about the food and show delicious pictures of it?

Thunder Tea Rice

There are so many good food around in Singapore, I find it pretty hard to narrow down my options to one favourite food. In the end, I settled for the Thunder Tea Rice. Firstly, I like the brown-rice version of it that is sold at a stall at China Square. Brown-rice is yummy when nicely cooked. Secondly, I think it is a healthy and simple dish. I yearn for a healthier and simpler life. Thirdly, I like the nice fragrance and taste of the basil and mint that are added to the Thunder Tea. Fourth reason being that it is relatively an affordable dish. It's a value-for-money food for those who wants to practise wise money management and wants a healthier diet.

I have written a post on it previously, so please refer to Eating Well: Thunder Tea Rice if you would like more information about this food.

I don't wish to tag anyone. For anyone of you who are interested in more good food, here are a list of people who have written about some delicious food that they like:

Simple America
loves cheese enchiladas
Mybabybay loves Asam Laksa from Penang, Malaysia
JustMyThoughts loves Penang Char Koay Teow
My Lil Venture loves Laksa Sarawak
Monterssorimum loves Teluk Intan Chee Cheong Fun
Chinnee loves Melaka Wan Tan Mee
Peimun
Leah loves Hakka Lei Cha
Jonamum
Karen loves Pan Mee.
Something about Lai loves Crispy duck skin from China

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Invitation to a double bass quartet's performance

Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE!

Yours truly will be performing in an Esplanade Presents programme titled At The Concourse: Basso Bravo!. This programme is held in conjunction with Singapore Arts Festival 2007. This programme will be performed by the double bass ensemble, d'Bassists.

Venue: Esplanade Concourse, Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, Singapore
Date: 30 and 31 May 2007 (Wed and Thu)
Time: 7.30 p.m. - 8.00 p.m. and 8.45 p.m. - 9.15 p.m. on both nights

Admission is Free.

For more details, please visit: Listen to d'Bassists: 30 and 31 May 2007

Hope to see some of you there.

***
I will feel grateful if my readers could give this event a plug on their blog. Thanks in advance.

(Updated on 26 May 2007)

Monday, May 14, 2007

A YouTube video that makes me feel envious



Jason Heath has posted a post titled 16 year old Swedish bassist plays Capuzzi with orchestra. I happen to have been practising the first movement of Capuzzi's Concerto in G major for the past few weeks, so the YouTube video certainly caught my attention when I saw it being posted on Jason Heath's blog.

Somehow, watching the lady plays make me envious. She has an entire orchestra to play the concerto with her! I think she has done a pretty good job for her age. The cadenza that she played was interesting.

For one thing, I was inspired to play this work with an orchestra. More practice meantime.

Mystic and yours truly's tour of the National Stadium



I shall dedicate the following two posts to one of my good friends, Mystic, who have accompanied me to the National Stadium on 5 May 2007 for the Stadium Tour:

Tour of the National Stadium
Tour of the National Stadium, Part 2


After the tour, Mystic treated me to lunch and oneh oneh (our dessert after the lunch). The oneh oneh was just average, but Mystic's sincerity did perfect wonders to make yours truly pleased with the dessert that came after the lunch. Thank you Mystic.

oneh oneh


And yes, Mystic was very kind to oblige to my request of stopping by Kallang Theatre so that I could take some photographs of the exterior of the building. That, I was very thankful for. It somehow allowed me to reminisce my good old memories of Kallange Theatre.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Cool Insider's post: Putting the Spin on Classical Music

Cool Insider, an experienced marketer and publicist in the lifestyle and heritage sector, has written a post to share his views on marketing classical music to the masses. Check it out here: Putting the Spin on Classical Music.

Here's a quote from a segment of Cool Insider's post:
Firstly, it (classical music) needs to bring down the "intimidation" factor. Have you noticed how classical music performances are usually done in grand and imposing concert halls?...

Hmm...on being less intimidating, and developing fun and friendly personalities, I wonder if people would be keen to listen to a performance by the double bass quartet, d'Bassists, if they were to see the following photo of the quartet?


Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE!

Please let me know your responses by posting your comments. Thank you.

Maybe this may help me publish?

Thanks to the information on this URL, I have managed to find a way to publish a new post on this blog.

Now here's the quote from the most helpful post I have found on the issue:
It seems that this is a problem specific to Singnet, so I encourage you all to contact them to see if you're able to provoke some changes on their end. Also, as a workaround, you can substitute the "www" in the URL where you encounter problems to "www2."

Gosh. If the problem is specific to Singnet, maybe it is high time to consider changing my internet service provider unless Singnet rectifies the issue?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Week 19 of year 2007 on the double bass

Dear readers, I am able to post this post not because the problem that I have been facing with Blogger (Status code: 1-500-19) has been rectified. It is simply because I have had saved this post a week ago, so that it would be ready for publishing today.

Perhaps the blessing in disguise would be that I have a little more time to practise on the double bass now that I spend less time blogging since I can hardly create new posts on this blog.

**

6 May 2007, Sun: I played all the movements of the Marcello's Sonata in G major with a pre-recorded piano accompaniment. More work is needed on the third movement and the fourth movement.

I also had some time to practise a few sections from Berkeley's Introductin and Allergro. I keep my fingers crossed that I can have more time to practise.

7 May 2007, Mon: I had a practice-session with QH and XM after office hours. We were practising several double bass ensemble works. It turned out that I spent about two hours on the double bass for the night.

8 May 2007, Tue: In hope to have an outlet to express pent-up feelings, I played the parts from a few double bass duet works. After which, I spent time sight-reading Rachmaninov's Vocalise, that is transcribed for the double bass. It pleased me that my vibrato technique has improved a bit. Subsequently, I practised Berkeley's Introductin and Allergro. I might have continued playing if not from the fact that I was physically tired from the day.

9 May 2007, Wed: In hope to be more ready for an upcoming double bass ensemble rehearsal, I spent some time practising Murray "Doc" Solomon (2002) Sentimental Bossa, with the aid of the metronome. I still need to work on the pizzicato part so that it would sound clear and sensitive.

Afterwhich, time was spent playing the Romance movement of Keyper's Romance and Rondo. Subsequently, I played another work that was written during the Classical period: the first movement of Capuzzi's Concerto in D Major. Somehow I have a liking for the first movement of this concerto.

11 May 2007, Fri: I was feeling fairly tired from work. Nevertheless, I decided to take at least 15 minutes of my time to play on the double bass. I practised playing the first double bass part of Tchaikovsky's Neopolitanian Dance (from "Swan Lake"). I also tried did some sight-reading of two of the parts written for a double bass trio. Gosh, I need more work sight-reading works written in treble clefs.

12 May 2007, Sat: Double bass lesson with my tutor, MJ, has been rescheduled to this day. Prior to the lesson, I practised a few movements from Marcello's Sonata in G major, part of the first movement of Capuzzi's Concerto in D Major, and sight-read the first and second movements of Marcello's Sonata in e minor.

For the lesson today, more than half the lesson was spent working on Faure's Sicilienne. I need to learn to play with a sense of pulse, if I had understood my tutor correctly.

Subsequently, I played the first and part of the second movements of Marcello's Sonata in e minor.

On the issue of sight-reading, MJ said I could get a piece of study and work on it for a duration of 5 practice-days. During this period, I shall attempt to familiarise myself with the study, and learn to keep tempo while playing the study. After the 5 practice-days, I will attempt another new study, and so the process goes on.

In addition, I played the 2nd and 4th movement of Marcello's Sonata in G major.

By the end of the lesson, MJ still asked that I consider getting a better double bass. I wonder where I can get a sponsorship for that?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The flower test

A fairly uneventful day considering that it's my birthday. I was feeling frustrated with the noises at home.

Thankfully, I have my double bass to play on. That helped soothe my nerves a bit, and helped to find an outlet to express my pent-up feelings. Anyway, to play safe, please kindly be quiet if you ever come near me. Otherwise, it may be better to stay away.

You Are a Carnation

You are down to earth and grounded.
You tend to be more traditional than trendy.
Your confidence gets you through anything.
People trust you and are very loyal to you.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sandwich personality test

You Are a Ham Sandwich

You are quiet, understated, and a great comfort to all of your friends.
Over time, you have proven yourself as loyal and steadfast.
And you are by no means boring. You do well in any situation - from fancy to laid back.

Your best friend: The Turkey Sandwich

Your mortal enemy: The Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Plagued by headaches

I was having headache for most of today. If not for QH's recommendations that I should take just a dose of Panadol, I may still be suffering for a bugging headache. I think it has to do with poor blood circulation.

I was out-of-office, attending a course today and I simply could not sit at ease because no matter how I sat, I felt very uncomfortable at the leg areas and the headache persisted.

The headache had caused some sense of disorientation to me today such that I realised I had difficulties walking about in one straight line for much of the day.

Headaches seem to be plaguing me of late. For now, I shall just be comforted that the pain has stopped. However, I don't intend to take pain-killers on a regular basis. I wonder if there would be any remedy for headaches?

I need quite a bit of relief from the headache.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Lunch at Max Brenner with Eastcoastlife

Esplanade Concourse


Here is a post dedicated to fellow blogger, Eastcoastlife.

Today, I have the privilege and pleasure to meet her for lunch. Since Eastcoastlife can't eat chocolate, we decided we could go for a drink of chocolate instead and have lunch at Max Brenner (see review by AsiaOne Wine, Dine & Unwind here) located at Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay.

Both of us each ordered for ourselves a serving of Suckao. Eastcoastlife ordered the milk chocolate version while I ordered the dark chocolate version.



Folks, do you notice that there are bread on the bar table. Eastcoastlife asked about the ciabatta, and the waiter told her some of ways that the ciabatta could be served with. When she asked if she could order the ciabatta instead, she was told that those bread are for display only! I have nothing to say except that Max Brenner is very much a chocolate cafe. If you expect something else other than chocolate, I think it would be a good idea to visit somewhere else.

Anyway, aside from the Suckao, I ordered the Belgian waffle while Eastcoastlife ordered Waffle with Banana split (?).

Our orders

Suckao was probably the most interesting item that caught my attention for the entire meal. Eastcoastlife was very helpful to lend me a hand so that I can take photographs of ways to prepare, savour and drink the Suckao.

The candle-light is burning gently to warm the milk in the Suckao container

Add the chocolate bits as desired.

Stir, and allow the chocolate to melt into the milk.
One thing interesting about the stirrer is that it doubles up as a metal straw such that one can suck the chocolate drink from the other end of the stirrer.


Add more milk if necessary.

The dark chocolate Suckao was interesting and I like the taste of this dark chocolate drink. I would however think that I won't visit Max Brenner unless I have a company. The chocolate there did not seem tempting enough unless I have a company to share the novelty of drinking chocolate with.

If you would like to visit Max Brenner, here are the details:
Max Brenner Chocolate Bar
#01-06/08, 8 Raffles Avenue, Esplanade Mall
Singapore 039802
Tel: 62359556


Eastcoastlife has written about the lunch too: Birthday Treats.

Special thanks to Eastcoastlife for spending time to share some of her life's experiences and latest developments with me over the lunch. It opened my perspectives to things beyond my regular exposure.

Meantime, it was Eastcoastlife's birthday yesterday. Here's wishing her good health, and success in her endeavours.

You can make her day by casting a vote for her for the following award if you think she is deserving of it:

More details can be found here.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

5 May 2007

One of my friends, Mystic, and I met this morning to join a tour of the National Stadium. The National Stadium will soon be torn down to make way for the construction of a new Sports complex. Being a nostalgic person I am, I could not help but register for the tour to see the National Stadium before it becomes history.

Mystic was very kind to go the extra mile to drive all the way to where I live, and drive me to the stadium. Before the tour, Mystic and I have breakfast at the Mac Donalds' fast-food restaurant nearby the National Stadium.

I shall write a post on our tour of the National Stadium at a later date, so please check out this space. Strangely, Mystic's predictions came true. There were personnel from the media following our tour group, and I won't be surprised if someone told me that they saw me appearing for a split-second on the news on TV.

I realised that there were so many people registering for the tour, that the organiser had to organise several tour groups for the day. If my eyes had been sharp enough, I think I saw fellow bloggers, acroamatic and Cool Insider, from a distance while I was on my tour. They were too far away for me to even shout for their attention.

After the tour, Mystic drove me to the Old Airport Road Hawker Centre (I suppose?) and treated me to lunch. The Oneh oneh sold by the stall behind the Toa Payoh Rojak was merely average when I tried it today. The Kway chap however was better than average. There was a queue for the kway chap and Mystic was very kind to join that queue to order it for me. Mystic had lor mee for her lunch. A word of thanks to Mystic for being so patient with me for the day.

After lunch, Mystic drove me to Tanjong Katong Complex before she left for home. I went to two music shops along Tajong Katong Road to check out for double bass bow case. I did not find any bow case that I felt was worth buying. Anyway, I've purchased a few music books from one of the shops.

Then in the later part of the afternoon, I spent much of my afternoon at library@esplanade. This is the library that is located within the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay. Since I had more than 3 hours before my next appointment, I had spent quite a fair bit of time researching for materials that would be helpful in my preparation to write programme notes for the DipABRSM music performance exams. It had been quite fruitful.

In the evening, I attended the concert, Strains of Majesty, by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. It was one of the best SSO concerts that I have attended for this year.

I simply like the interpretation and the intensity of Beethoven's Symphony No. 3. The rendition was refreshing and engaging. Tonight's rendition is by far the most memorable rendition of Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 that I have heard live. I think Maestro Jahja Ling has done a great work at conducting the orchestra for the concert.

Nina Kotova's rendition of Dvorak's Cello Concerto in B minor was pretty engaging and inspiring too. While I think her right-hand technique could need more work on (and so do I), she has very good sense of musicality and intonation. I could not help but say that Dvorak is a genius to write such a brilliant cello concerto.

Special thanks to one my friends, ML, for making time to accompany me for this concert. It so happens that I had won a pair of tickets to this concert a few days ago because I've managed to call in to a call-in contest on the radio station, 92.4 FM. The seats that I have won were very good seats. Many thanks to ML too for her treat to dinner, and her lovely greeting card. It was nice catching up with her.

Overall, while I did have my moods swinging for the day, the day turned out fairly fruiful. I think the good concert had helped.

Week 18 of year 2007 on the double bass

29 Apr 2007, Sun: I was in the mood to play Romantic music, so I started my practice session with Faure's Apres Un Reve (After a Dream) for string bass and piano.

Afterwhich, I spend some time working on Lennox Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro. It is by far the more challenging work to practise for my programme for DipABRSM. Its irregular time signatures has made it challenging for me to use the metronome consistently throughout my practices. Strangely, my tutor always seem to have the idea that this piece is very manageable for my standard of playing. More practice would be needed on this.

30 Apr 2007, Mon: Took leave to practise. In the morning, I worked on Pachelbel's Canon (tranposed to G major) scored for a double bass quartet, arranged by David Heye. Finally, my rendition of this work is beginning to take some shape.

After lunch, I worked on Lennox Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro and managed to practise the entire work. Hopefully I would soon be ready to play the entire work during one of my upcoming double bass lessons. DipABRSM exams is drawing near, and will be coming in about four months time. Wish me luck.

1 May 2007, Tue: A public holiday, Labour Day.

In the morning, I met up with XM for a sight-reading session. We spent the morning sight-reading most of the duets from From Amadeus to Jazz: Easy Duos for Two String Basses edited by Franz Pillinger. I would still need more work on sight-reading! I very much like the melody of Greensleeves but had to decide not to play it for the day because some of the accompaniment parts were too challenging to be sight-read.

Later in the day, when I was home, I spent time playing the first movement of Capuzzi's Concerto in D major. It is quite an interesting work to play.

In the later part of the night, I managed to urge myself to practise the Rondo movement of Keyper's Romance and Rondo. I still need more work to get the harmonics to sound sweet and clear.

3 May 2007, Thu: The double bass lesson day. For this lesson, I worked entirely on Lennox Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro, and I have managed to play through this entire work. One thing that I need to brush up on is my sense of rhythm. I want to feel the pulse in my blood.

My tutor, MJ, also reminded me on the placement of my thumb. Proper placement of the thumb contributes to better intonation. More practice and more practice for this work. MJ on the other hand, thinks that this work is more manageable than the other works that I will be performing for DipABRSM. I realised that he has reasons to say so.

5 May 2007, Sat: At about 8 a.m., I took time to play the Marcello's Sonata in G major and I played the CD containing the pre-recorded piano accompaniment for this sonata. More information on such pre-recorded piano accompaniment can be found here: http://www.virtualaccompanist.com/.

I felt it was much more fun and engaging to be play along with a piano accompaniment even though the accompaniment was pre-recorded. I managed to play the first and second movements of the sonata, and the first half of the third movement. Then I stopped as it was soon time to get ready to meet my friend, Mystic, for a tour of the National Stadium.

**
Overall, I have managed to reach my target for this week as well. More practice and studies on the double bass would be needed to play more engaging music. Cheer for me please.

Friday, May 04, 2007

My parcel from US

A parcel air-flown from US reached me today. I have ordered some double bass related CDs and scores from Lemur Music.

I was listening to one of the CDs that was part of this part. This is a CD recording of a "virtual piano accompanist" who is playing the Marcello's Sonata in G Major. The CD comes with several selections with metronome click track. I think it would serve me well very soon. I can play anytime with a virtual piano accompanist in the luxury of my own home, even at this odd hour of the night. The only pity was that it did not come with a recording of the double bass parts.

The other CD that I had bought contains recordings by Gary Karr, the double bass playing three sonatas for Viola da Gamba and Klavier composed by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Music soothes, and I am loving the sound of the double bass.

The unspoken

Many words
Would like to say
In the end
Left unsaid

How shall I express
What is deep within?
For the depth and breadth
Of some messages
Are beyond what words could fully say

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The cries

Singing aloud
The cries
In rhythms, pitches and melodies
For words can't fully express
What music could

To ...

I am sorry
That I have not been
As good a friend
Such that in times of your troubles
I wasn't most of the time there

I am sorry
That I could have been a better friend
Yet my failings have been my hurdles to cross
And I am sorry
For having made you bear with these

Apologies that I owe you
Yet such hard to speak
Where to begin?
How to say it?

Many years later
More than thankful
For the forgiveness you have lent
And for the chance
To practise being a better friend

The beautiful Abdul Gafoor Mosque

I can't help but think that the Abdul Gafoor Mosque has a beautiful architecture. Here's to share more photos of it with my readers. This is one landmark to see if you are in Little India. Enjoy!

It is located at: 41 Dunlop Street, Singapore 209369











The backlane.


Also see: A tour about Little India

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A tour about Little India


My friend, Mystic, has been interested to know more about my recent tour about the Little India, and I shall dedicate this post to her.

Regular visitors to my blog would have realised that I love going for The Original Singapore Walks. It is by far one of the most enriching, engaging and entertaining tours that I have attended in Singapore.


Make a guess of the function of the red-and-white colour structure.


This tour that I will be writing about is one of The Original Singapore Walks named Of Rajas, Sultans and Sahibs™. A simple way to describe it would be that it is a walk about the Little India of Singapore, with a dinner at the end of the tour. Read the synopsis of this walk here: http://www.singaporewalks.com/tours/rajassultanssahibs.htm

This tour has brought me to two temples and it has pleased me greatly that I've got to learn a little more about the religion of the Hindu. It was very interesting for me to learn about the differences between the two temples. I was even treated to accounts about the Indus civilisation. Yes, ancient civilisations is one topic that would captivate my attention. Do join this tour if you are interested to find out more.


Shree Lakshminarayan Temple. Notice the stupas.



Shree Lakshminarayan Temple. A North-Indian temple.
5 Chander Road, Singapore 219528.



Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple


Main door of Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. Notice how elaborated the designs are.



These sculptures tell a story.



Nearby one of the temples, I took a photo of one of the garland shops. The tour guide shared with us some of the beliefs and ideologies associated with the offering of garlands to the gods. I learnt that the garlands made of grass were meant to be offered to the god, Ganesha.




Little India is a lovely place. During the duration of my tour about Little India, I could not help but admire the architecture and the designs of the buildings in the area. Throughout the tour, I was treated to the fragrant smell of spices that was lingering in the air.

Campbell Lane






One landmark that is worthy of my mention here is the Abdul Gafoor Mosque (Masjid Abdul Gafoor). This is by far the most beautiful and unique mosque that I have seen in Singapore. Notice the elaborate sundial at the main entrance to the prayer hall in which you would see 25 rays of the sun done in calligraphy. I was impressed by it when I saw the real thing. For this part of the tour, I like listening to the accounts of the spread of Islam to this part of the region.


Masjid Abdul Gafoor. A beautiful mosque.



Masjid Abdul Gafoor in the evening. Taken after the tour.


(More photos of Masjid Abdul Gafoor can be found here.)


We were then taken to the Indian Classical Music Centre which is located at 26 Clive Street. For myself who plays a musical instrument, it was a fascinating place to visit. I learnt a bit about Indian classical music right here. The Founder Director, Ustad Sharafat Khan, treated us to beautiful music played on the sitar. This place carries interesting Indian instruments and recordings of sitar music for those who would like one of these as momentos.


A lovely rendition of music on the Sitar.


The tour also brought us to an Ayurvedic Medicine shop at 48 Campbell Lane where we learnt more about Ayurvedic Medicine. I cannot help but think that there are a lot of things that we can learn from the Indian civilisation and its various philosophies.


Aloe vera outside the Ayurvedic Medicine shop.



The tour ends with Indian dinner at Banana Leaf Apolo. The food is good. I like the North Indian cuisine because it is less spicy. While having dinner, I could not help but remember the day when I have had dinner with my friend, Mystic, at the Banana Leaf Apolo restaurant at Race Course Road several months ago. Good food can trigger pleasant memories.

Now, let the photos do the talking here:



North Indian cuisine.




Making of the Indian 'pancake'.


Nasi briyani.


Yummy food.


After the tour and the dinner, I walked about Little India on my own.


Of Rajas, Sultans and Sahibs™ is an enriching tour for anyone who wants to learn more about the Indian civilisation. I get very excited each time I go for the Original Singapore Walks because the tours would remind me that there are so much that I can learn about this country that I grew up in. I am loving the idea of touring my own country, and I shall go for more in the near future.


Also see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinduism
The Colourful Little India
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masjid_Abdul_Gaffoor

(Updates: With effect from 2 July 2007, the Little India tour with dinner, Of Rajas, Sultans and Sahibs™ - will no longer be part of the regular weekly walks. Interested walkers however, can still request for the tour. Please call Tel: 6325 1631 for more details.)