Once again, I am thankful for having won a pair of tickets to the CIMB-SSO Christmas Concert held on 12 Dec 2008. Many thanks to my friend, RL, for being gracious to take time to attend the concert with me and for being very kind to offer me her most appreciated company for the entire night.
It has been a lovely concert to catch. The concert opens with Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols, Op. 28. The Singapore Symphony Children's Choir has put up a commendable rendition of the work. My eyes were on the harpist, delighting in how different textures and colours of sounds could be produced on the harp simply by varying the way the harpist pluck the strings of the harp. It was lovely.
I realised that music that has been arranged do not quite appeal to my ears as compared to original compositions. Nevertheless, Bruce Chase's (arr.) Christmas Favourites, Paul Bateman's (arr.) Christmas Medley and Mykola Leontovich/ Richard Hayman's (arr.) Carol of the Bells still brought a bit of cheerful festive mood to me, even though I do not celebrate Christmas.
My favourite was Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker: Suite No. 1, Op. 71a. I was not listening particularly to the orchestra's rendition of the work. I realised that my ears were tuning in the marvellous work of composition that Tchaikovsky has written. I was listening out for the various composition techniques and tools that Tchaikovsky had used to make this work sound so interesting and lovely. I think Tchaikovsky is a genius in his own right as a composer. I am glad that I have found delight in listening to his works.
Here, I have my friend, Emily, to thank. She has inspired me in many ways to listen to music. I thank her for one of her gifts: Aaron Copland's What to Listen for in Music. While I have read chapters from this book during my university days, when Emily presented it to me again as a gift, I have found myself reading it again and more motivated to be an active listener.
Another work that I like at the concert was Leroy Anderson's Sleigh Ride. I do not know why, but I think it was well written. I was listening to it with a sense of wonder and delight.
Worth mentioning was the Carol Sing-a-long at the end of the concert. Members of the audience were invited to sing along, as the orchestra plays the accompaniment. Many sang, and the mood in the concert hall was pretty high. I was listening to the orchestra's accompaniment. I concluded that I have more interest in accompaniment than the melody. Singing the melodies of the Christmas carols did not interest me. I could find not much interest and delight in them, at least not that night. It was in attempting to harmonise the melody, internally, at the back of my mind, that delighted me. I am glad that Western music heavily utilise the concept of harmony.
Whatever it is, the conductor has been pretty encouraging and even told all members of the audience that after the concert, they could go and tell their friends and loved ones that they have sung at Esplanade Concert Hall!
By the way, I have found the programme booklet for the concert to be well designed. One of the pages of the booklet was of good quality card-paper which when 'punched out' from the page, could serve as both a Christmas card and a mini calendar for the year 2009.
Last but not the least, I thank RL for giving me a lift back home, and more so, for being very kind to bear with my rants that were probably results of a mind that was not functioning anywhere near its optimal because of the time of the night. I thank her too for kindly obliging to my many requests. In addition, many thanks to RL for her gifts, photo and for sharing with me donuts from Krispy Kreme which she had brought from Australia. It is the thoughts that came with these that I am deeply thankful of.
I appreciate the kindness that she has shown me. I wish her fulfillment and happiness.
Last but not the least, I am deeply thankful for the many blessings and kindness that I have received, especially during the past few days. Many thanks to my friends for the wishes of good-luck and good-will that they have sent me during the past few days. I am deeply grateful.