Sunday, July 23, 2017

SSO @ The Botanic Gardens: Jason Lai Conducting ENCORE

Singapore Symphony Orchestra: 22 July 2017 Botanic Gardens
A Personal Experience About Concerts In The Parks:

An SSO Concert at the Botanic Gardens will always be a treat especially if it's a stone's throw away. But if the enthusiast for classical music is driving his car, then don't complain if there are no parking lots; unless the early bird comes at about 4 pm (concert starts at 6).

A friend and I managed to squeeze into the last lot at the sheltered car park at Nassim Gate. It was a Saturday evening gift from above.
The coffee house (image) around the corner served our purpose since the Symphony Lake was another two minutes walk from there. But a fruit juice at the outlet was near $6.00 and a fizzy drink, $3.00. The 2-hour wait was comfortable as we managed 2 seats in air-conditioned comfort. These were the last seats available.

The concert venue itself was fun. Perspiring with T-shirts and track pants on, both of us had no trouble getting grass space as we squatted on the right wing facing the stage. Because we were sitting on a slope, it was a balancing act throughout the show. 

So if you don't have nimble feet and acrobatic skills go further 'upstairs' near where Chopin is sitting with his wife. A better view and you can sit on the more level meadow. No trees behind. The deadly one crashed remember?
It was about 5.30 pm. Sun kept us steaming. But the greens, flora, whispering winds and chirpy birds kept the balance; it wasn't uncomfortable.

The newspapers announced 10,000 persons came. It didn't look that many to me but the figure is possible. 

Sharp at 6 pm, handsome conductor Jason Lai, in a polo-T, jumped on the stage like the gymnast he was as he announced the evening's performance. He looked more like a fitness instructor. Fit as a fiddle? 😊 And sporting a whistle-thin moustache too.

Meanwhile, two jets flew above us, drowning Mr Lai's short introduction. National Day coming mah!
The performance was superb! I came just to listen to excerpts from West Side Story and Ritual Fire Dance. But Morning Mood from Peer Gynt (Greg) just blossomed as the Singapore sun started to set. 

When Brahms was hardly a minute on, my temporary neighbours started chatting and peanut packets were crackling. First Youth had better attention but Maria and Tonight kept everyone hushed. Some Seniors were humming. (full programme below).

Meanwhile the people kept pouring in; in fact, they kept on coming even when the concert was about to end. Puzzling. One of the passers-by was heard shouting on his phone.
"Hey, where are you? I'm here, I'm here!" as he waved his hand in front of the crowd. The music was playing, Home.

It was a short concert but SSO on stage, with all its Botanic Gardens challenges, sweaty T shirts and wet palms, was a joy to listen to.

While walking to our car we bumped into my friend's old buddy. A member of the SSO he is. Pictures and phone numbers were exchanged.

If each one of us had taken along the rubbish we left back there and dumped them in the bins, the workers would have had a happier time the next morning.

Thank you, Jason Lai, SSO, The Straits Times and the Botanic Gardens
22 July 2017 Programme:

Grieg: "Morning Mood" from Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46

Brahms: Third movement (Poco allegretto) from Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90

Bernstein arr. Jack Mason: Selections from West Side Story.

Morricone: Cinema Paradiso: Theme, First Youth, Love Theme

Falla: "Ritual Fire Dance" from El amor brujo

Dick Lee: Home. (Encore)

Images: A Private Collection, Google.
The video above is only temporary and will be replaced after some technicality.



Great! Last time I was there was to catch Dick Lee with I think Nathan Hartono as a guest. Years ago.

PETER EE said...

Thanks. I missed this outdoor concert...


Outdoor concert, in my opinion, is not particularly popular in Singapore. See what happened to Architect Alfred Wong's River Valley Road Concert Theatre. It was demolished!

Too frequently external noises punctuate the music. How to enjoy music when suddenly a wild monkey screams? Alright, I suppose for an afternoon family picnic with music and occasional interruptions... haha.

CHAN said...

It's too hot.



Rose Khoo
Tan Soo Khoon
Jon Goh
Lange Brunei
John Cher
Jalani Mohamed
Merlin Lim
Simin Lai
Foo Jong Fook
Jennie Law

CARINE LEE said...

It was especially hot that day. Remember to keep yourself hydrated.

chakap chakap said...

West Side Story is a musical with a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and conception and choreography by Jerome Robbins. It was inspired by William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet.
Music and Songs:

Popular selection: tracks written by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim.
"Prologue" – 3:50
"Jet Song" – 2:10
"Maria" – 2:40
"Tonight" – 3:53
"America" – 4:35
"Tonight (Quintet and Chorus)" – 3:40
"The Rumble" – 2:45
"Finale" – 2:02

ROSE KHOO said...

Tks Andy for the personal article!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks Rose for your 60's music videos and songs on your FB too. Also to Lange Brunei for sharing the video. Thank you.

Many pop songs were played during the concert. Extracts from WEST SIDE STORY is an example. MARIA and TONIGHT are representative.


Thank you for sharing dearest Andy Young. Good morning & happy Tuesday my dear friend. God bless you Andy. 💟🌞☺

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Just a bit of change from the usual pop music we get. Very light and with a Mediterranean flavour. Red wine?

ROSE KHOO said...

Nice change.


To LT,
Andy from Andy's blog is going classical.
Maybe you can write something on the blog for him. What do you think :)

Ms TLT said...

Hi Henri,

How exciting!
Thank you so much for thinking of me!

I wish I could but I am such a lousy writer (a sorely lacking spot in my life, having invested my lifelong energy on what I see (photos!) and hear I would need an editor to go through anything I submit! I'd rather save the photographer for his blog😝.

I would be very interested in and look forward to reading the articles, but I think your articles are FUN and sure hope that the classical articles will not be boring...

If I go to Singapore, I would really love to meet Andy!
Thanks again Henri!

TLT said...

Hi Andy,

Very pleased to make your acquaintance over the internet!

Thank you for introducing this article on classical music at my favourite venue, the Botanical gardens ~ also for your engaging blog, it's amazing that it even exists!

I enjoy reliving the memories too, especially through the stories that Henry has shared! I am not one bit a writer, so I must apologise for not offering to contribute an article, at least for the moment.

However, if I am ever back in Singapore (the temperature is a huge deterrent for me!), I would definitely be interested in getting together to share a part of the history that has brought us together here.

With best wishes,