jeudi 27 mai 2010

Bartok's Miraculous Mandarin

Though this post is not really related to music, I thought the interpretation of the plot of Bartok's Miraculous Mandarin is quite interesting.

In The Reason of Things, A. C. Grayling wrote an essay on Decay. The gist of it is that, we are renewing everyday and decaying everyday. In renewing ourselves, we eat our surroundings. In decay, it is a natural process that turns us into part of our surroundings. Ageing occurs fastest in babies, and maturation is really the start of decline.

Towards the end of his essay, Grayling specifically mentioned the Miraculous Mandarin, which to him is a commentary on the philosophy of life and death. Before accomplishing what he desired (i.e. the girl), the Mandarin never dies (Grayling says 'like Rasputin...') despite poisoning stabbling etc and even started to glow green. All this while his only focus is on the girl. Only after getting the girl did he start to bleed and slowly die off.

So The Miraculous Mandarin is really a probe into the parallel existence of the contradicting states of living and dying? We live to die?

I think there are probably a few layers of meanings in this work. After all operas usually explore several themes within its plot. Could Bartok be inspired by some folklores from rural Hungary like his Bluebeard's Castle? Which ends in a really weird way (I think) that is probably meant to have some meaning as well.

dimanche 28 mars 2010

Hello again.

It has been many years since this blog started (!)...and I hope the next generation can carry on and write about what they have watched or read, be it film/musical/concert, videos or even books. I believe one can learn alot from young people :)

Let's share our thoughts and views on what we have seen around us :)

I will start with a touching rendition of one of my favourite pieces.

It was in 2006 that I first heard of this group coming to Singapore...listening to it reminded me fondly of my years studying in overseas and enjoying spring time for the first time. The sound (supp. of a genre called New Accoustic) was very fresh and the guitar playing...let's say my first concert was in 2006 but due to an overseas working trip, I had to sell my ticket away :( was only this year I secured one that was sold-out...and I was so happy. Sitting by myself and just closing my eyes, I felt the music was so touching and simple...and typically Scandinavian in some ways. Neat, clean and terribly economic (perhaps a stereotype). Perhaps some of you have heard their songs in ads but the first time hearing this song reminded me of fresh breezes, very nice flowers in the air, and the lyrics...half-truths :)

I enjoy various genres of popular music, more for the time period and style they represented, and this had a rather unusual quality to it. Something groups nowadays try to imitate but just can't. This is a simple guitar-accompanying piece but the other pieces by Kings are more complex and achingly beautiful.

Enjoy all and here's a warm welcome to the graduating batch of 2010 and 2011. :)

vendredi 19 octobre 2007


Recently found an old favourite of mine and decided to buy a new edition and give this as a prize:

Tales from Ovid: Twenty-four Passages from the "Metamorphoses"
Tales from Ovid: Twenty-four Passages from the Ted Hughes Ovid

Faber and Faber 1997-05-05
Sales Rank : 74448

Average Review star
starGreat poetry - but it's not Ovid
stara great and important book

See details at Amazon by G-Tools

Land, sea, air were all there
But not to be trodden, or swum in.
Air was simple darkness.
Everything fluid or vapour, form formless.
Each thing hostile
To every other thing: at every point
Hot fought cold, moist dry, soft hard, and the
Resisted weight.

Crudely putting it--Greek legend sexed up. Intellectually babbling it, a myriad of interesting stories centred on gods, humans, transformations, treachery, rape, violence, pain, love, truth. What we see in everyday life is mirrored in Ovid's Metamorphoses and here, 24 selected writings were translated and brought back to life by Ted Hughes (who won an awards for it).

And all before Darwin came along with his nice big apple setting things into place.

Can't wait to see Jeff's upcoming review on it (BIG HINT).

Welcoming the Yr 4s Christmas hols 07

It's the end of the year and counting on, only one more Yr 5 has not written in this blog (-_-) heh heh...

Taking the opportunity to welcome in the Yr 4s 07 to write in their reviews of CDs, films, books and opening for responses. It can range from popular to classical, controversial to dust-worthy though note the usual entries that should not cover offensive comments on race, religion and othe sensitive issues.

Welcome to Eye Hear You on what you have seen, heard, read and related to you.

vendredi 7 septembre 2007

Culture and dialect in modern day Kyoto

This holiday marked a significant one because I finally managed to sit down and finish up all those library books grrrrr...I swear reading in my third language is harder than I thought.

きょうのできごと スペシャル・エディション
きょうのできごと スペシャル・エディション田中麗奈 妻夫木聡 伊藤歩

レントラックジャパン 2004-08-25
売り上げランキング : 32590

おすすめ平均 star

Amazonで詳しく見る by G-Tools

青空感傷ツアー (河出文庫)
青空感傷ツアー (河出文庫)柴崎 友香

河出書房新社 2005-11
売り上げランキング : 76021

おすすめ平均 star

Amazonで詳しく見る by G-Tools

I re-watched "kyou no dekigoto" and I re-read the above book by Tomoka Shibasaki. Interesting book, with a natural Kansai ben inflection. I loved it. If you are a fan or fetish of Japanese dialects, this book is for you :)

The story, Kyou no dekigoto, is quite similar to Aozora. It depicts the everyday life of a typical University student (in this case, students from Kyoto/Kansai area), and it also shows the normal type of relationships and fights that Japanese youth get into, so it's quite unlike the fluff in drama series. Further more, the writer is from the Kansai area so her books and language are littered with Kansai ben. If you know Kansai ben, each sentence ends off differently from what you would recognise as typical Japanese formal type of writing.

Like most bizarre Japanese novels, this combines an encounter with a whale, a guy who got stuck between two buildings in a narrow hole, a student who got knocked down while buying beer, a bum, uncertain relationships, friendships, haircuts and quarrels in the local zoo...strange but spellbinding. I recommend this book if you're tired of the usual Murakami Ryo/Haruki madness.

I find Kansai ben quite sexy :D or Eroi/iroppoi as it sounds rather direct and top that with a Kansai girl/guy who has drunk one sake too many ie a throaty voice speaking a dialect you'd hear in the mountain side of Kyoto.. and you get a mesmerising effect of both culture and direct earthiness in something as simple as a dialect inflection :)

On the other hand, I need to really get used to Banana's style with regards to her book below:

ハチ公の最後の恋人 (中公文庫)ハチ公の最後の恋人 (中公文庫)
吉本 ばなな

中央公論社 1998-08
売り上げランキング : 94257

Amazonで詳しく見る by G-Tools

I've yet to grasped it :( I liked Kitchen and Tsugumi, very much like Banana's world, but I've yet to grasp the subtle nuances. Some say she writes like a typical high school student. However, I think there's more to her writing than just that. I blame myself for my poor Japanese language :( Gotta try harder at it.

What I find interesting about Banana is that she combines the Japanese culture with Argentinian/Indian stuff mixed with other cultures. So you see a Japanese point of view of different cultures and yet it's rather fresh. Another writer who writes about travelling (albeit more directly) is Mitsuyo Kakuda I think.

This is the same type of feeling I get when I read Somerset Maugham or Rudyard Kipling.

The weekend is approaching and then it's the third term. Minna, gambarou!

samedi 18 août 2007

If There're Seasons...

Hello all and sorry for this extremely late post =p anyway I just attended a musical 'If There're Seasons...'. And i sincerely say i am very very impressed. Before i start on my incoherent rambling, here's the short synopsis from the programme notes.

The winter of dream numbs a lover's pain,
The autumn of dreams lies awake in vain,
The summer of life sings its passing song,
And spring comes again... with courage to hope, and go on.

'If there are seasons I would see snow, but not around here...'

After the painful demise of his girlfriend Jing, Ah Le flies to New York to breathe life into his fading dream of writing music. There he meets and befriends Ah Qiang, a fellow dream hunter from Singapore, who helps him settle right in. It is a difficult period of transition, but Ah Le soon gets a job working at a restaurant.

While on the job he encounters Rose, a struggling actress who fits right in with the boys and a beautiful friendship of battered dreams and ruised lives is born. The winds of fate stir and their lives tumble on. An air of romance lingers wistfully, ,but does an old love really die?

'There are no seasons here, but there is always love...'

Before you start trashing the musical just because it sounds like a soppy love story, watch it. :) it talks about Ah Le, symbol for aspiring young people, who wishes to migrate overseas for own own endeavours (in this case for music, which i thought was very relevant to us). But just like salmon trout that swim miles away only to return back to where they hatched, it's kind of a classic there's-no-place-like-home story. It held special meaning for me also because i have and still am harbouring the thought of going abroad, as many of you too also are i'm sure. There was a depth to the story and the way it was presented that i cannot put to words. Then again, there are many things which i can't put to words =) oh did i mention? there was a gay relationship in this musical xD

The songs featured were written all by local composer and lyricist Liang Wern Fook, many songs which we all know (including THAT certain 细水长流 song which was sung to death at ALL school occassions D:) were actually penned by him! No that was not meant to dissuade you guys from going for the musical. i enjoyed every single minute of it and i recommend this musical strongly as a must-watch. Many many other songs that i know were also sung but i just don't know the title =x

The musical's cast comprised fully of locals, including the band. Brilliant acting and vocals put together made this musical a success. Though the story line is a tad cliche, there was a refreshing feel to it when it is all sung out. What more, with all the songs were mandarin with a few lines of cantonese and 'Marikita!' thrown into it, it gave me a added sense of familiarity and closeness when i listened to those beautiful lines. In fact, i would recommend this musical over phantom.

Though it may be abit pricey, i got stall seats at $48, i think it's quite worth it, what more it's a singapore production and a good one at that! tickets are available at sistic. (gosh now i sound like a tv advert) anyway go for more details! cheers! =)


mardi 24 juillet 2007


This is not meant to be a Time Out-styled review (one of my favourite magazines back in London) but am fresh from listening to British rock and an overdose of fusion the whole weekend.

Went major CD buying last month and got myself the latest Travis CD.

It is good. It is the best.

I'm not kidding and I'm not paid for this but being a fan of Travis for the past umpteen years watching them scale high, bump into Coldplay painfully (and I love Coldplay too), crash and seeing a dark album later surfacing, the latest CD is almost like a breakthrough. You can feel Travis is coming back. Good Scottish rock and alternative sounds, sad lyrics OR happy lyrics, sad sounding. Travis always likes to put the irony back in your life if you find yourself taking yourself a wee bit too seriously :).

Resurrected, blessed and out to convert, with a vengeance and a dagger between its teeth. Here goes..

The Boy With No Name
The Boy With No NameTravis

Average Review
starsA welcome return
starsThis IS rare quality ...
starsAt their best
starsSweet stuff as per usual

See details at Amazon by G-Tools

Selfish Jane is VERY good (plays on the phrase selfish gene) and the youtube video is hilarious and clever. All things British become very hip if you read the lyrics and no amount of topshopping can hold sole claim to the array of British images that are linked in this song. The nice Iggy Pop drum entry.

Everything I love about London and about UK is somehow embodied in this album. You must listen to it to be haunted by it. An excellent break up song too :p