Kenny's Cafe Corner

Monday, February 05, 2007

My Third MPO Concert

Denis 'Amadeus' is back in Kay Elle after a stint in New Zealand as a strip club bouncer and admirer of huge Norwegian mammary glands. Meanwhile, Gary
(one-letter-from-GAY) was in town last weekend to attend a Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra concert with his date.

Gary asked if I wanted to come along since I love classical music so much but I didn't want to be a 'light bulb' so at first I said no. Then I realized that the last time I attended such an event was with Denis more than two years ago and enjoyed it thoroughly.

We went online and booked an extra 2 tickets after confirming with Denis that he's ok with it. I didn't have a serviceable coat since the old one I had with me looked 'wrong' so I had Gary select a batik long-sleeved shirt for me too as he went shopping the next day.

All of us met in Suria KLCC that Saturday evening and Gary's lady friend, Ee Fern (did I spell that right?) commented that Gary and I looked like twins...oh gawd! Of course our 'Italian' batik shirts looked alike because they were both selected by the same person.

Anyway, more about the concert itself...Kees Bakels is back as MPO's conductor and he tends to select rather obscure and inaccessible works. We started off with Stravinsky's 'Song of the Nightingale' and it was OKAY. The flautist was rather subdued and if you weren't paying attention, would've missed it as being the singing nightingale.

First of, I was surprised the orchestra was rather relaxed and laid-back. After all, this is a more formal evening performance. Denis even noted that one of the violinist at the back was picking his nose as he plucked at his violin strings during a section of pizzicato! This guy, who looks like a blond
Rufus Sewell, must be rather talented....pluck pluck...pick nose...pluck pluck...pick nose...wipe wipe wipe...

The second piece was much better though. It was Prokofiev's Scythian Suite Op. 20 and it started off really loud and exciting. The conductor himself was play-acting the egoistic bravado of a Mussolini, so I guess it must be one of his favorite pieces of work. The atonality from the chords even sounded intriguing and tense in the latter half of the suite as the violinists (a couple of cute Japanese ladies amongst them) sustained and vibrato-ed it all. I was expecting the music to turn Wagnerian but it never went in that direction. Which is good and unpredictable!

After the intermission, we had BARTÓK's Viola Concerto with Gérard Caussé as the soloist. Again, it was rather laid back and I spent most of the performance looking at his unkempt grey hair and unpolished shoes.

Thankfully, the last piece Poem of Ecstasy Op. 54 by Scriabin was better. Denis kept reminding me that the composer was under drugs when he composed this piece. Denis also reminded me of how much he hates it! Perhaps this was only my first time listening to it but I 'get' it. The music did indeed implied a whole night of wenching...ahem...i mean...debauchery and lots of violent sex and orgasms! Err...getting out of topic here....

Anyway, I like it! Even though halfway through it an extra 'instrument' was heard rather clearly throughout the concert hall coming from the audience. At first
I thought it sounded like a woodpecker, then later wondered whose vibrating cellphone is that loud. But as I looked across to the other side of the hall, I saw several of the audience members stifling laughs and so it dawned upon me someone was snoring!!

He must be somewhere in the hall's acoustic sweet spot because it was really loud and even the bearded Russian looking cellist guy in front was looking extremely annoyed. Kees Bakels the conductor didn't stop the music though, even if I've personally seen him do that in the past. He would turn around and scowl at the audience member whose phone rang.

According to Denis, the great conductor Ricardo Mutti even threw his baton at the idiot during a performance with the MPO! No wonder visiting classical musicians and maestros look down upon the average Malaysian's appreciation of the arts.


Well, that's my 'report' for the day...Hopefully Gary will find more reasons and opportunities to visit his buddies in old Kay Elle next time.


Oh, and the following are some select (censored) photos from that day. We didn't take any photos at the MPO though...
:: posted by Kenny, 8:14 AM

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