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German winter classics presented at AUA

Chiang Rai honors 1001st anniversary of Phra Barom Maha Thart Chao Doi Tung

Piano at its very best

The Diva of Chansons tours Chiang Mai

German winter classics presented at AUA

Nuttanee Thaveephol and Autsadaporn Kamthai

Concert pianist Rudiger Liesmann and tenor David Wilson gave performances on March 15th at the AUA auditorium. The private concerts started at 7 p.m. and explored the concept of “Winter Journey” with pieces composed by Franz Schubert (1797-1828).

Franz Schubert (1797-1828) compositions were presented by pianist Rudiger Liesmann and tenor David Wilson.

Even though the performances were sung in German everyone could feel the composer’s feelings and emotions relayed by the beautiful voices.

Schubert’s winter journey included numbers “Good Night”, “The Weathercock”, “Frozen Tears”, “Numbness”, “The Lime Tree”, “Torrent”, “At the Stream”, “Retrospect”, “Will-o’ the Wisp”, “Rest”, “A Dream of Springtime”, “Loneliness”, “The Post”, The Hoary Head”, The Crow”, “A Last Hope”, “In the Village”, “A Stormy Morning”, “Deception”, “The Signpost”, “The Inn”, “Courage!” “The Phantom Suns”, and “The Organ Grinder”.

Chiang Rai honors 1001st anniversary of Phra Barom Maha Thart Chao Doi Tung

Chaiyot Yongcharoenchai

The Chiang Rai provincial authority in cooperation with Chiang Rai’s committee of monks, and other Buddhists organized a ceremony to pay respects to the Doi Tung Temple from March 16-17, also commemorating the 1001st anniversary of this occasion.

Narin Panichakit, the governor of Chiang Rai, said Phra Barom Maha Thart Chao Doi Tung is a very important place of worship for Buddhists. Thai Buddhists in the ancient Lanna (northern Thai), Burmese, Laotian and Sibsong Panna (south Chinese people) who are all Buddhists respect and believe in this religion. They have held this respectful ceremony at the pagoda of Phra Barom Maha Thart Chao Doi Tung every year on full moon night of the 4th lunar month.

This year marked the 1001st-year anniversary of the famous temple and the celebration included traditional offerings and a parade which began at the Sriboonruang Temple on Singklai Road, then proceeded along Paholyothin Road to the Doi Tung Temple to perform the ritual water ceremony from Namthip holy pond. This ritual was performed by Kru Saeng Lar from Burma together with monks from Laos and Thailand pouring holy water at the temple.

On the following day, religious offerings were made to Phra Barom Maha Thart Chao Doi Tung to pay respect to the province’s most revered temple.

Piano at its very best

Story by Marion Vogt
Photos by Michael Vogt

Nimmaheminda Art & Design Promenade was the venue for a very special concert on Friday, March 14.

Prof. Leuschner vehemently interprets Mussorgsky’s “Pictures of an exhibition” - the perfect choice to perform at a venue such as Gongdee’s Gallery.

Amari Rincome, in co-operation with the Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany in Chiang Mai, and Gongdee Studio, presented Prof. Michael Leuschner as the first event ever sponsored by the German Consulate.

Prof. Leuschner, who has given concerts on 4 continents, is currently working as the Professor of Piano at the University of Music in Freiburg, Germany.

From left to right - Hagen Dierksen, Germany’s Hon. Consul, with Kh. Wanphen, Saen Kham Terrace - Restaurant; Kh. Vichit, Gongdee Gallery; Prof. Leuschner; Mr. Finger from the German Embassy; Marc Dumur, GM of the Amari Rincome Hotel.

Over 100 guests and music aficionados truly enjoyed this concert; regrettably, both Thai and foreign residents do not have many opportunities to witness such a high-class event here in Chiang Mai as of yet.

People always say that there is not enough interest in Art & Culture in Chiang Mai, but this night at Gongdee Gallery proved everybody wrong, and it showed once again that Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second biggest cultural hub after Bangkok.

Prof. Leuschner entered the stage and did something most pianists would never do - he delivered a speech before he started to play, explaining to the audience what they were going to hear that night, plus a small historical background of the composers.

He started off with a Sonata of Ludwig van Beethoven which was composed when Ludwig was 28 years old, the Sonata c minor op. 13, followed by a piano piece which everybody knows, For Elise.

It was a great introduction for the transition to Schubert, who composed more than 600 songs during his short lifespan of 31 years. The songs Prof. Leuschner presented were written during the last 2 years of Schubert’s life - the Impromptu G flat major op. 90,3 and the Impromptu A flat major op. 90,4.

After a short intermission, Michael Leuschner returned to the stage, and the way he played after this break was a transmission of a rare kind. We listened to Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’, which perfectly fit the set up at Gongdee Gallery.

It was then that we realized ‘Schubert’ had been the perfect introduction to Modest Mussorgsky’s composition from the 19th century, which he had written after he saw the exhibition of his friend, the painter Victor Hoffman, who had just died.

Mussorgsky went home after looking at that exhibition and wrote Pictures of an Exhibition on the piano. The Promenade, which describes walking between the pictures, is repeated throughout the long walk. It starts off with ‘Gnomus’, the sinister little nutcracker in the first picture, and it is he setting the tone after the opening promenade.

The sound Prof. Leuschner produced showed a clarity and precision that made the pictures glitter with details. His fingers delineate the gnome’s grotesque outline with a variety few other pianists can achieve.

We then walked on to the old castle on the mountain, a peaceful walk up the hill, and down again to the French Tuileries, watching children fighting over toys. Many people in the audience were seen to have closed their eyes and just listened to the way Prof. Leuschner guided us through the Exhibition. Sometimes we felt as if the pictures around this exhibition would leap off the wall to mug us.

Light and playful as heard in the Ballet of the Chicken in the shells who seemed to dribble and tap-dance up and down, running without order. Then again the muffled and dull sounds of the Catacombs, Prof Leuschner seemed to have had at least 5 hands instead of the 2 we saw and heard.

It was a special night for everybody present, a night which people will talk about in Chiang Mai, and it was a privilege to have had the opportunity, and pleasure, to hear this artist.

Hopefully Chiang Mai will have more occasions like this in the future. Thanks to all sponsors and people who made this event possible and a huge ‘Thank You’ to Prof. Michael Leuschner for coming all the way up to Chiang Mai.

The Diva of Chansons tours Chiang Mai

Mouron & Terry Truck on tour

Story by Marion Vogt
Photos by Michael Vogt

It seemed to have been one of those weekends where one cultural highlight was chasing another. Saturday night, the well known ‘Chez John Restaurant’ had the honor to welcome Mouron and Terry Tucker for their first and only concert in Chiang Mai, before performing for 4 more concerts at the Oriental in Bangkok.

Receiving flowers from the organizers, promising to be back to Chiang Mai as soon as their tight schedule allows it.

‘Chez John’ seemed to burst, that’s how many people had shown up to experience yet another highlight of culture. For people who do not know Mouron, let me quickly give you a little information about her. For Mouron, it all began in Marseille, where her father sang at the opera and her mother was a song-writer. And no one with these genes in the blood can escape destiny.

The urge to write her own songs began at the age of twelve, and the need to perform them followed shortly after. Barely seventeen, she played in France’s most famous music hall, “L’Olympia” with the hot French group of the late seventies “Le Big Bazaar” and launched her first single with her own lyrics in the national hit parade.

Soon composers such as Romain Didier, touched by her words, began to write music for her and they launched Mouron’s solo career. Beginning in 1992 the time for Mouron began to fly, lending her voice for a TV film, playing a huge part in Fous des Folies at the Folies Bergeres, and finally in 1995 meeting the German cabaret stars Georgette Dee and Terry Truck, who decided to produce her in Germany where she is now a huge star and one of the Divas of Chansons.

Giving it all - Terry Tuck and Mouron in action. A thrilling performance in a comfortable and cozy setting at “Chez John”.

On Saturday, when she entered the stage, everyone in the audience could feel her presence and was drawn to her sparkling eyes and the only way to describe that is with the words of A.M. Paquotte who once wrote: “Mouron appears on stage like a sad clown with warm eyes, and as soon as her pure and powerful renditions penetrate our hearts we’re aware that we’ll never forget this particular evening.”

She started off with a small speech, almost excusing herself for singing French songs because she wanted to make that evening enjoyable but French songs are sad and the more love is in a song, the more sad it gets. But even for someone who was not able to understand the words of her songs, the way Mouron was moving on stage, the way her eyes were fixed on the audience, wandering around, alive, sad, funny, sparking or almost crying, depending on the song, everybody got the meaning and was hypnotized! The way she breathed, her voice full of drama; the tiny person seemed to be swept away by her powerful songs.

Jacques Brel and Edith Piaf songs are her world! We heard them all; La Foule, Quand on a que l’amour, C’est la vie, Autumn leaves, La vie en rose and of course the Jacques Brel’ Classic “Ne me quitte pas”.

French Chanson without compromise, lively and infinitely sentimental. All about love in different shades, from dark sadness to joyful brightness. Goose pimples guaranteed. And together with Terry Tuck on the piano, very well known in Germany for his projects with Lilo Wanders, and as the musical director of the Schmidt Show, they are invaluable and unbeatable.

I am sure I can speak for everyone who was present on that night when I say that I feel sorry for everybody who missed that event, and again Chiang Mai proved that it is a hub for Art & Culture of any kind.