Debussy’s piano music fills Gong Dee Gallery
Photos by Michael Vogt
“To my dear Chouchou, with affectionate apologies from
your Father, for what is to follow.” This dedication was written by Claude
Debussy in 1908 above ‘Children’s Corner’, the musical gift to his
three year old daughter. And to make the present even more personal, he
printed his own drawing on the cover. During the second concert in the
series A Debussy Festival on Friday September 9, Bennett Lerner choose these
six masterpieces as entrée to yet another evening of mainly
French music, this time only for piano. It was an impressive start to a
“Gymnopédie No. 1” was played by Remi Namtep and Bennett Lerner.
Bennett’s Friends during this concert were three other
well-known Chiangmai pianists: Remi Namtep, Bernard Sumner and David Wilson.
Alone or in varying combinations, they brought us music from Satie, Ravel,
Ives and Chopin. Going by the reaction from the audience, the program was
highly appreciated. The long ovation that Remi Namtep received for her
intense interpretation of Ravel’s “Une barque sur l’océan” was
the audience had taken part in a vocal presentation of the hymn “What a
Friend We Have in Jesus”, David Wilson brought us Charles Ives’
composition with the same title.
As was earlier announced, during the concerts of A
Debussy Festival, Bennett Lerner will play all compositions that Debussy
wrote for piano. This evening he added the “Pr้ludes”, Book 2, to
One of Debussy’s best-known works is the “Pr้lude
à l’aprés-midi d’un faune”. Originally written for
symphonic orchestra, Ravel made a transcription for piano four hands. David
Wilson and Bennett Lerner performed it this evening on one piano.
Wilson and Bennett Lerner during their interpretation of the “Prélude à l’aprés-midi d’un faune”.
As the organizers announced in their press release:
“Many hands make light work”. That certainly applied to the final part
of the program, in which three and a half of the four pianists together
repeated their performance during the opening concert. Rachmaninov’s
Romance and Waltz received again an impressive rendition.
But may be the ‘encore’ was the real spectacle
of the evening. Bernard Sumner’s arrangement of Mozart’s “Rondo alla
Turca” actually forced the Four Friends together behind one piano. With
In 1912 the orchestral version of the “Prélude to
The Afternoon of a Faun” was used by the famous dancer Vaslav Nijinski to
create a ballet, called: “Apr่és-midi d’un faune”. During a
presentation at Gong Dee Gallery, before the concert, this ballet was shown
in a video-recording, made by the Paris Opera Ballet. This was followed by
three more ballets, in which Nijinski has danced at about the same time. The
music was from Rimski-Korsakov, von Webern and Borodin. Again, the
combination of an event connected with and preceding the concert, was
The third concert in the series A Debussy Festival will bring us chamber
music from Debussy and others for flute, clarinet, harp and piano.
Lerner played Debussy’s “Préludes, Livre 2”.
variety in music was nicely matched by a variety in clothing. From left:
David Wilson, Remi Namtep and Bennett Lerner.
Back to the land for an idyllic community life
Sasiwimon Wongjarin and staff reporters
An experiment in natural living, in which the inner self
is explored against a background of small-scale farming and meditation, is
available at the Land Foundation in a small and idealistic community run by
work on the house. Artists from different countries work hand in hand.
A committee led by Rirkrit Tiravanija, Kamin
Lertchaiprasert and Uthit Atimana established the Land Foundation early last
year, the objective being to support and promote artistic activities and
natural farming, along with encouraging self-knowledge through Vipassana
ridge beam party
These are all regarded as interlocking. Natural farming
revives a natural way of living and teaches self-sufficiency, while
Vipassana enables participants to understand their inner values and
consequently to have respect for the values and opinions of others. Art and
culture are regarded as communication tools, pushing social knowledge
further and making it possible for society to develop into the future.
The Land Foundation provides a venue for organizations,
artists and people who are interested in using its space for activities such
as seminars, art exhibitions and “artists in residence”, all free of
charge. Thai and international artists alike are welcomed.
There are two operational bases, one located at Umong
Silppadhamma which has a working space, an exhibition area and a meditation
hall, the other a farm site at Tambon Num Bo Luang, in Amphur Sanpatong,
which is shortly to open.
the community house. Everybody present helps to get the project going.
A one-year project is currently underway in which an
experimental community has been established. The participants live as a
community for a period of one year, and are learning how to depend upon the
natural environment. Twelve people, Thais and foreigners, are taking part in
Their activities include paddy farming in a two-crop
annual cycle with jasmine rice being planted in the usual rice-planting
season from August to November, and outside of the usual rice-planting
season, in January to April, sticky rice will be planted. Besides paddy
farming the participants tend fruit plants and trees, and grow herbs and
vegetables. The energy used for cooking is obtained from a biogas system
that runs on buffalo dung. Leftovers are used as manure.
Architect Francois Roche and artist Philippe Parreno
designed “the Battery House”, a central meeting space that also acts as
an electricity generating resource. Animal muscle is converted to electrical
energy through the use of buffaloes who pull a metal plate up and let the
weight fall naturally, generating electricity which is stored in a battery.
All the projects and houses are financed by donations
from artists and by funds raised by the artists themselves.
The Land Foundation is open every day. Those interested can visit the
project or apply for activities without any charge. An exhibition entitled
“One Month in Norway: S๘rfinnset Skole/ the Nordland” will open on
Saturday October 1, at 6 p.m. in the Land Foundation office. Contact email
theland @thelandfoundation.org or tel 053 81 1555. The exhibition runs until
Canadian gifts help mobilize the disabled
For most of us, it is a simple matter to get out of bed
and get ready to take on the day. Spare a thought, though, for those who
can’t get out of bed because they are quadriplegic. Spare another for
those who can’t get out because they need help dressing and getting into
their wheelchairs. Then there are the men and women who need colostomy bags
changed or urinary catheters replaced before their days can begin. This is
reality for many disabled adults. For a fortunate few, life has begun to
Last week physically handicapped patients and staff at
McKean Hospital couldn’t hide their excitement and pure joy as medical
equipment and other items started to arrive. The day’s delivery included
two modified beds – one for a quadriplegic and one for a paraplegic – as
well as a dozen new wheelchairs and 15 gel cushions.
dii! Crippled when she fell from a building 15 years ago, Ratchapon Deesala
receives a gel cushion and a much-needed replacement wheelchair. Ratchapon
lives with family in the community.
This Canadian-funded initiative is helping transform life
for young and severely disabled adults who live at Chiang Mai’s McKean
Rehabilitation Centre. The 720,000 baht project has begun to provide help
for 13 extended-stay rehabilitation patients and for outpatients who live in
their community. Their ages range from about 16 to 42. Some have suffered
since birth; others are often victims of motorcycle and industrial
Those who live at McKean share accommodation in tiny
one-bedroom bungalows. All suffer from debilitating handicaps. They
desperately need equipment and such aids for daily living as wheelchairs,
braces, and prosthetics to make their lives more comfortable. Unfortunately,
this equipment is too expensive for their families to afford. The hospital
delivers good care in a caring environment, but it, too, is constrained by
An initiative of the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai West, the
McKean Disabled Project’s main aim is to make it easier for the disabled
to move about. In addition to purchasing high-quality wheelchairs, the
Canadian project has provided funds for the purchase of motorcycles, which
will be modified for use by wheelchair-bound patients. The project has also
modified regular bicycles into hand propelled tricycles.
got mobility! McKean’s residents show off new equipment and supplies, from
hand-driven bicycles to gel cushions.
The project has other aims, one of which is to help
patients deal with painful bed sores. This terrible condition develops in
those confined to beds or even wheelchairs. To manage this condition, the
project has funded the purchase of gel cushions. Funding began with a grant
from the Rotary Club of Calgary Centennial. Several Canadians also made
personal cash gifts. These sums were then matched by The Wild Rose
Foundation, a funding agency sponsored by the government of Alberta (a
Canadian province). This agency, which promotes charitable, philanthropic,
humanitarian, and public spirited acts, thus provided the single largest
contribution to the project. These sums were topped up by The Rotary
Foundation, taking total contributions to the budgeted amount of 720,000
baht. The involvement of several branches of the global Rotary organization
is tribute to the far-reaching philanthropy of the world’s largest service
McKean Hospital has been serving the people of Northern
Thailand for a century. It was established by a humanitarian missionary
surgeon, James McKean, in response to the plight of those with leprosy in
Chiang Mai. Still the centre for leprosy treatment in northern Thailand,
today McKean also operates a program of extended general rehabilitation
programs to treat the disabled.
For some people, the simple act of getting out of bed in the morning is
no simple matter. For some who live this simple truth, simple generosity is
bringing hope and the gift of greater mobility.