[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Sunday, June 22, 2008

[London Sinfonietta]
I wanted to select a mixture of performances when I looked at the various programmes for the Singapore Arts Festival. The three main categories were theatre, dance and music. From each I selected two performances bearing in mind also the venues. I wanted to choose the venues that I seldom get to go to as well.

It was my first time going to the Esplanade Concert Hall last night for Modern Tales: Stravinsky to Adams performed by the London Sinfonietta. As defined by Wikipedia, a sinfonietta is a work for orchestra that is generally considered to be smaller in scope than a full symphony. It is also used to refer to small symphonic ensembles which are considered too large to be chamber ensembles.

Six works of various lengths were performed last night. Here's what I thought of them:

Tango Seis - I enjoyed this piece. During the whole rendition, I felt that the violin bits were good. There were occasions where the violinist went solo with minimal accompaniment.

Rain Coming - I felt that parts of this piece were somewhat squeky. Perhaps because of the flute notes which were high-pitched.

The Soldier's Tale - The Soldier's Tale (the name implies the length of the piece) was a combination of a few short pieces and full of emotion. There were times of sadness which I could detect. I noticed that there was no conductor as well. The musicians just sat down and started playing. It is supposed to exude folk and jazz elements but I was unable to pick those out.

Octandre - A short and sharp piece. It was good to slot that in just after the 20 minute intermission to warm the audience up for more to come.

Shades of Oil Lamps - The best piece of the night. The composer Ho Chee Kong was present in the audience and he stood up after the piece leading to another wave of applause. I liked it because of the "cheena" and Indian feel that the piece portrayed. Thoughout the piece were the clinging and clanging of the percussion - mostly xylophone sounds - that teased the audience. It felt like a cultural piece - one that described Singapore to a tee. There's actually a storyline as well. It is about a storyteller in the streets and the depiction of the scene that has lamps and religious elements.

Chamber Symphony - Again, the violinist delivered in this piece with his superb handwork. He pulled at the bow of the violin gracefully. This piece was supposed to reflect pop culture but I felt it to be more like a chasing tune that ended abruptly.

The performance by London Sinfonietta concludes my adventures at the Singapore Arts Festival. I'm still contemplating whether to go for the last installment of the closing performance at Bedok Reservoir tonight.


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