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. :)