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Friday, October 20, 2006

Tonight, I heard La Campanella horribly butchered. The concert was advertised thus: "Exceptional violin students of the Conservatory take centrestage in Double Stops", and indeed this piece was performed exceptionally badly.

The violinist played the wrong thing not once, not twice but *three* times, and each time it was the same part that she got wrong. Instead of playing the right bars for those parts of the song to transition into the next section (a variation on the original theme), she played the original theme (my music kaki suggests 'recapitulation' but indicates that I should use a less cheem term), so it was extremely jarring and the piano had to audibly and visibly accommodate her.

Her very high bits were very scratchy, she had a lot of hairy notes (blurred notes) and she did painfully slow pizzicatos near the end, really taking her own sweet time. Paganini is hard, but the first error is particularly unforgiveable (3 times?!). On the up side, her imitation of the bell was quite good, and the running passages were reasonably graceful ('well the girl was aesthetically pleasing'). I tried to blog my outrage immediately after her performance, during the interval, but unfortunately there was no wireless reception in the concert hall.

Beethoven's Spring was technically alright but horribly bland. Hubay's Carmen Fantasie Brilliante was interesting.

The night's violinists all seemed to be PRCs and all closed their eyes ('stage fright'). The boys were also better players than the girls, because their clothes were in varying degrees of un-ironed-ness ('evening gowns cannot be crumpled. technically impossible unless you use a steamroller').

Unfortunately, the best female performer had a really awful dress which could best be described as an orange mermaid gone wrong (the black shoes didn't go either, which didn't help). She got the 2 most challenging songs of the night's programme, which was a pity since they were both awful songs, beyond the rescue of the best violinists. Chausson's Poème, Op 25 must've been about existentialism, since there seemed to be no theme or even melody in it. Ravel's Tzigane was horrible as always, despite (or maybe because) of its being a vehicle for showing off violin technique. Essentially the former bored me and the latter raised my blood pressure.

The best performer took on Bazzini's La Ronde des Lutins, Op. 25, and originally earned from me the ultimate compliment - he made a French song sound good! (I have since discovered that he was Italian, which explains why the song sounded good and why Tzigane and Poème could not be rescued). Kaki on the best performer: "jaw dropping. just the first 10 bars and my jaw dropped", and on the best female performer: "flawless technique".

Besides La Campanella being butchered and the bad costuming, there was only one other factor spoiling the evening: this annoying couple beside my concert kaki who kept on chattering despite the former's finally telling them off during the last piece; after the concert this Brit in the seat behind me also told the girl off: "If you can play better..." (things always sound more authoritative with a British accent). Personally, I think playing ability is irrelevant: even if Itzhak Perlman had been sitting in that seat, I'd have scolded him for chatting; it's like how movie critics don't have to be able to do better to make legitimate criticisms of a film.
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