Vol. VII No. 42 - Tuesday
October 14 - October 20, 2008



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


Art, Music & Culture
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Capturing the Essence of Music

Begin With the Children

A Pot-Pourri at Payap

 

Capturing the Essence of Music

An Honour Concert by Music Students at Payap University

All the Payap “honours” students who took part in the October 5 concert given to celebrate their achievements.

Jean-Pierre Kirkland
On Saturday October 5, some of the best and most musically talented students of Payap University provided a decent-sized audience with a wonderful cocktail of musical delights. We, the audience, were the ones to be honoured to be in the presence of these fine and gifted musicians who practiced the 5 Ds of good robust performance – dedication, determination, devotion, distinctiveness and dynamism. Over 50 performers had dedicated their talents to providing a veritable feast of music with delicacy following delicacy rather like a Chinese banquet. Determined to give of their best, devoted to the pieces of music they played or sung, with distinctive interpretations delivered in a dynamic fashion, the music ranged from funky syncopated jazz on saxophones and guitar, delightfully blissful arrangements of popular songs from the charts of yesteryear and morsels of classical genius performed on solo guitars, by solo pianists, or in small ensembles. The intricate fingering and expressive body language of all performers was quite astonishing.
Electric guitars took us on a journey from a ‘Night in Tunisia’ to meet ‘Stella by Starlight’ the latter with stunning solos from all three players on guitars and saxophone. Solo guitarists were a treat for the senses, their “dedication and determination” shining through the tender lyrical sections of works by Mangore and Villa Lobos and exploding in the evocative performance of the ‘Forest of Gokarnath’ by Monti in which we heard and saw just what a versatile instrument the guitar can be. Saxophone and clarinets gave us rhythm and rich harmonies set in a vibrant texture in two very different and enjoyable pieces, and two clarinetists with piano accompaniment played a concerto by Krommer, a contemporary of Haydn and Mozart, which landed us in a festive little Austrian village with the snow-capped peaks of the Alps rising majestically above the lush green pastures as the country folk danced merrily in their ‘lederhosen.’ Latent energy positively exploded from a dynamic toccata by Khachaturian on the solo piano, performed with love and total dedication, followed by a gentler love-inspired piece entitled ‘Charm,’ played with significant feeling. The ‘Rondo Allegretto’ from Mozart’s piano and wind quintet showed us just how much ‘practice makes perfect’ as these musicians played skillfully and with dynamism. The distinctive sounds of the madrigal class helped to bring this unique evening to a splendid close with the Lionel Richie song ‘Nothing’s gonna change my love for you,’ popularized by Glen Madeiros in the late 1980s, a harmonic delight; finally the first year choir, a couple of dozen of them with 2 soloists, showed us just ‘how much in love’ they were with both the lyrics and the swinging rhythm of the final piece.
There was a real communal feel to the overall occasion with many of the students’ parents and teachers in the audience, all of whom thoroughly enjoyed this rare opportunity to see what great talents there are in Chiang Mai. Thank you, Payap, for ending this semester on such a high note, and capturing the essence of music so well. Long may your music-making continue to inspire and please those of us fortunate enough to hear it.

 

Begin With the Children

Jacquelyn Suter
A delightful exhibition of children’s art is now on display at CMU’s Art Center entitled ‘Colors From Many Lands.’ This year is Thailand’s turn to host the 12th annual “A World United Through Art Children’s Art” exhibition. The Yuvabadhana Foundation, Silpakorn and Chiang Mai Universities have coordinated to present a whimsical extravaganza for the eyes.
You may think that children’s art is not your thing, not sophisticated enough to challenge? Well, try this exhibit on for size, keeping in mind that the artists are generally between the ages of 12-14. You will be surprised at the level of artistry in some works.
The exhibition is grouped according to countries, presenting an interesting way to engage with the works. For example, as you walk in the front door, take a long view of the Indonesian and Indian groupings. All the works are a riot of color, no? Just like the sights and sounds of the countries themselves. But, next to India is Pakistan. The overall color palette is somber, no color bursting here – maybe similar to the country itself right now.
Art work from Hong Kong best illustrates this look-at-the-group-first approach. Each work is a complicated maze of line and color, exactly like the bustle of Hong Kong itself. All the works are of an exceptional level of design in animé style, amazing execution for children in this age group. This is one of the best represented countries – highly talented kids here.
And speaking of high talent, the winners from Thailand’s Yuvabadhana Foundation Art Awards are a scene-stealer of this exhibition. Highlighting imaginative design of (yes, the usual) traditional subject matter. But I won’t complain – each work is so creatively executed that I’ll overlook this time Thailand’s normal glances at its past instead of its future.
Every time I go to the CMU Art Center, I’m struck by the amount of fine exhibition space that abounds here and, also, the level of professionalism invested in each exhibition. So, why can’t appropriate entities belly up funds to begin a permanent collection of Northern Thailand (and perhaps a selection of Southeast Asian) contemporary art?
The artists are here, the space is here, curatorial expertise is here. If done properly (if done properly…) in time, a project such as this could enable Chiang Mai as a unique contemporary art destination. So what are we waiting for?
At CMU Art Center, now thru end of month, open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission free.


A Pot-Pourri at Payap

Jean-Pierre Kirkland
What an interesting and exciting event the Music Department of Payap University presented to us in the late afternoon of October 2. Using one of the teaching rooms, the Music Department gave us a real pot-pourri – both in terms of composers – from Bach to Thelonious Monk, and in terms of ensembles – from violin and harp to a wind quintet. All 25 or so students, plus some of their teachers, came on stage with smiles, confidence, enthusiasm and energy, all of these talents reflected in the music they delighted us with. Opening with the tuneful rondo from a Mozart Quintet for piano and wind, we were treated to some very unified playing, no more so than in the glorious third theme which positively soared on the clarinets. Bach’s ‘Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring’ was not as successful as the previous piece as, arranged for woodwind and brass, it lost much of the original beauty and tenderness due to the instrumentation rather than the playing, which was good overall. The most memorable part of the two versions of the famous ‘Ave Maria’ by Schubert was the penetrating melody on the clarinets as they forcefully echoed the normal vocal line of ‘Nobis peccatoribus’ with significant dignity. The ‘Entr’acte’ by Ibert played on violin and harp was a refreshing change, capturing the Hispanic influence well, with the harp giving us delightful sounds like a flamenco guitar and some rigorous violin arpeggios.
After part of a clarinet quartet by Mozart and two well-played shorter pieces, the saxophone quintet took over and provided us with some swinging jazz by Scott Joplin and Thelonious Monk. Here the playing was robust, genial and delightfully vigorous with impressive solos, especially for the alto saxophone where there was a real feel for the music. The concert came to an end with the irrepressible Duriyasilp Brass Quintet. These fine young players set the room alight with the musically moronic but tunefully cheeky Polka by Shostakovich, played with a sense of mischievousness but great enthusiasm, followed a rather turgid piece arranged from an original theme by Beethoven which seemed to go nowhere. But, never in the mood to let down the audience, the quintet finished by blasting out a vigorous and rhythmic version of Leroy Anderson’s ‘Bugler’s Holiday,’ which had the audience bursting into rapturous applause and calling for an encore. Sadly, there was none, but it was a superb opportunity and a privilege to see and hear so many talented and devoted students who had obviously practiced so hard to bring us this delightful pot-pourri.



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