Jazz in the Park
Throughout January and February, Payap University is presenting a
series of informal yet most enjoyable jazz evenings in the open air outside
the music department buildings of the University between 17.00 and 19.00
every Sunday. At least that is how the adverts read – the reality was not
quite the same, as on Sunday 11 January the concert ran from 16.45 until
18:00, as members of the band had to join colleagues in the cathedral for a
concert announced some weeks ago.
Despite the disappointing curtailment of the event, the music provided was
of a high standard and played with a robustness and vigour that would have
pleased the original composers such as Herbie Hancock and Fats Waller. The
first part of the session was delivered by the ten or so strong Duriyasilp
Jazz Big Band, composed of saxophones, trumpets, trombone, guitar, keyboard
and percussion. Ain’t misbehavin’ came across strongly and was
played with enthusiasm and skill; the band was joined by the singer Nopawan,
soon to continue her musical studies in the USA, for two delightful
renditions of old favourites – Fly Me to the Moon and When I Fall
in Love – both sung with feeling and the latter full of lazy, lyrical
passages that Nopawan exploited to the full with her rich creamy voice.
The band played very well together and closed this first session after the
famous In The Mood, with Camelot by Herbie Hancock, which
captured the heavier ‘rock’ element well and contained a number of great
solos by the talented players on the sax, trumpet and guitar, to mention
just a few.
Music in the second part was provided by the group ‘Grooves Machine’, with
humorous introductions to each piece from the percussionist. Their choice
of music scored for saxophone, two guitars, keyboard and percussion was
excellent, focusing in the middle on Japanese fusion jazz from the group
‘T-Squared’. We were treated to some fine playing as the dreamy overlapping
theme was passed from one instrument to another, building to a great
crescendo of rich harmonies with the ever-penetrating and incessant rhythms
making this a rewarding and exciting feast for the ears. This versatile
little group – all graduates from Payap – deserves to go far; their playing
was enthusiastic, warm and very well rehearsed and executed.
The music college had thoughtfully provided the audience with two
announcers, English and Thai – what a pity so very few people (less than two
dozen) showed up for the entertainment.
So, all you jazz lovers and music enthusiasts – for the rest of January and
February - make your way on Sunday evenings to Payap Kaeo Nawarat Campus
(opposite McCormick Hospital) and help sustain these talented and deserving
young musicians. They merit your support and you will be well rewarded.
Dwarves and Giants - Gustavo
Romero plays Beethoven
Gustavo Romero, the Mexican-American renowned international pianist
and Professor of Piano at North Texas University, enthralled a pathetically
small audience at the Saisuree Hall at Payap University last Monday night,
January 11. This distinguished pianist devoted his whole program to five
Beethoven piano sonatas, ranging from the early Opus 2 to the much later
Opus 110. Beethoven himself would have been delighted at the content of the
program – he was a great pianist himself and a great exponent of his own
Just over 200 years ago in December 1808, Beethoven presented the Viennese
public with his famous ‘Akademie’ in the Theater an der Wien, four hours of
his music comprising the 5th and 6th symphonies, the 4th piano concerto, two
extracts from the Mass in C, the aria Ah Perfido, an improvised piano
fantasia and the Fantasia for piano, chorus and orchestra, all world
premieres! And, here at Payap, we had the great pleasure of five piano
sonatas, one after the other, in true Beethovian manner.
The dwarves here were two early sonatas dating from 1795, the A major Opus 2
and, from 1796, the C minor Opus 10. The great difficulty for any
distinguished musician is to play these in the context of their evolution –
Beethoven was emerging from his stricter classical period into the
experimental stage before blossoming into the rich maturity of the genius of
These early works are therefore a challenge, and Gustavo Romero played them
with technical accuracy; in parts however, the music came across as a little
mechanical, highlighting that very problem of how best to perform these
early milestones. That very minor criticism aside, the piano rang out
positively with all the affirmation, force and passion that the young
composer was beginning to develop and both sonatas made a wonderful contrast
to the middle period and later sonatas in the program.
The giant sonata in A flat, Opus 110, one of Beethoven’s later works, opened
the second half and was played with excellent sensitivity and delicacy,
carefully balanced by a spectacular performance of the closing fugue, which
rose to a dramatic and pulsating climax, truly emulating the composer’s
great genius in this inventive and ground-breaking masterpiece.
Gustavo Romero was completely at ease with this work as he was with the two
other great giants in the concert - the middle period Opus 79 in G major and
the renowned and much adored Opus 53 in C major, the ‘Waldstein’. Both of
these were a joy to the ear – played with great gusto and dexterity, the
melodies and harmonies filling the hall in a majestic flood of sound. The
intricate fingering and resultant flurries of deep harmonic sounds were a
great pleasure, and showed the pianist to be a wonderful exponent of
In the ‘Waldstein’, which ended the concert, the whole performance was one
that highlighted the pianist’s great technical and interpretive skills, with
a rare and welcome intensity, and a notable and disturbingly beautiful
understanding and interpretation of the second movement. Professor Romero is
currently in the process of performing from memory all the Beethoven piano
sonatas on 3 continents – no mean feat – let us hope he will treat us to
another cycle of these wonderful pieces in the not too distant future.
New Thai musical Romeo and Juliet -
an interview with the composer/librettist
Busaba Wesoho, who is known by her nickname of “Gop,” spoke to the Chiang
Mai Mail shortly before the world premiere at Kad Theatre of her new musical
version of Shakespeare’s classic tale, Romeo and Juliet. We asked
her what had originally inspired her to write the new show.
Gop: I thought first and foremost of the students who are working
with me at the Institute of Theatre Arts. I have been working with them for
some time now, and they have reached an age where they can perform Romeo
and Juliet: it is a story which is suitable for young actors. So,
that’s why I wrote this new version.
CMM: How long did it take you?
Gop: The idea first came to me two years ago, but the actual
writing took six months.
CMM: Do you have any future plans for new shows?
Gop: I am working on the subject of Joran Manopet, the late,
legendary Northern Thai singer who sang in the Lanna language (kham meuang)
– a musical based on his life. All Thai people have heard of him, and know
CMM: What are you expecting from this project?
Gop: I hope that Chiang Mai audiences will become more interested
in live theatre productions. We in Chiang Mai are not limited to just doing
what Bangkok does. We have good actors here in Chiang Mai, just no big-name
stars. In Bangkok, the big stars act in theatre productions, and so the
productions attract a lot of attention. In Chiang Mai, we just have good
actors. This should be enough!
CMM: How satisfied are you with the results of your work?
Gop: Personally, I’m very happy with the results. Now we can wait
to see what the audience thinks!
CMM: Are Chiang Mai audiences different from the audiences in
Gop: Yes. Bangkok productions have more money, and they can hire
big names to act in their shows. Even though the famous stars may not be
better actors than the ones we have in Chiang Mai, the Thai audience still
wants to see famous people up on stage.
CMM: Thanks for your time, and good luck!
The new show opens at 2 p.m, on Saturday, February 24. There will be
another show at 7 p.m. that evening, and two more shows at the same times on
the following Saturday. Tickets are on sale at Kad Suan Kaew.
The 4th Chiang Mai International Music Festival
Once again, Chiang Mai will be the venue for the fourth annual music
festival founded in 2006 by distinguished Professor Tong-Il Han and his
friends, Anne Elizabeth Murase and her husband Kazuyoshi of Chiang Mai and
Tokyo. For a full week, there will be spectacular events featuring young
performers from Korea and Japan who will be taught in situ and perform in
various venues for the pleasure of the citizens of Chiang Mai. How fortunate
we are to be blessed with such a golden opportunity to hear simply beautiful
music provided by talented and dedicated visiting musicians.
The festival, in association with Yamaha, will open on February 4 and 5 with
private workshops and recitals in two Chiang Mai schools where some of the
city’s own gifted young people will have a great opportunity to witness at
first hand the already emerging talent of students in their own age range,
whilst at the same time learning from the dynamic and professional tutelage
of the distinguished and skilful pianist and professor Tong-Il Han. I am
sure many of us adults reading this wish we had had such a magic opportunity
offered to us when we were that age.
The festival continues with a free public concert on Friday February 6,
entitled ‘Romantic Piano Solos’, at the Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural
Centre, adjacent to the Three King’s Statue at 19:30. The audience will be
seated in the open air courtyard where they will hear brilliant young
pianists from Korea and Japan performing works by Chopin, Liszt and Schumann
in this traditional Lanna setting. Early arrival is advised with seating
beginning at 19:00.
The following morning, Saturday February 7 at 10.00, in conjunction with the
Payap Youth Program, there will be a series of free workshops at the Keao
Nawarat Campus of Payap University, opposite McCormick Hospital. Members of
the public should report to the Music Department Office from where they will
be directed to the venues for the workshops.
On the evening of February 7, the main event of the festival takes place in
Hang Dong at Ban Wangtan. Entitled ‘Romantic Piano Concerti’, this free
public event, unique in its own way, will feature young Korean pianists
performing three full piano concerti by Grieg, Chopin and Tchaikovsky,
accompanied by their mentor, Professor Tong-Il Han and his colleague,
Professor Jun-Hwa Hur. This is surely an event not to be missed and early
reservation of places is advised, as the open air arena seats only 200.
Transport, at a cost of 100 baht, will be available to and from the city
centre to this venue where there is also the option of a set Thai meal at a
cost of 200 baht, including a soft drink, prior to the event commencing at
17:30. Seating for this marvelous concert is available from 19:00 at which
time the meal service will halt.
For further information about this event and others, and to reserve seats,
order transport and/or a meal, please contact [email protected] as
soon as possible.
On the following afternoon, Sunday February 8, starting at 13:30 at the
Yamaha/Siam Kolkarn Nakornpink Music School (address 121/9, Moo 10, Chiang
Mai Hangdong Road, Padad, Muang, Chiang Mai), the public is once again
invited to a free workshop of lessons and demonstrations.
The festival ends – not here in Chiang Mai – but in the centre of Bangkok
with a repeat performance of the Romantic Piano Solos concert. Once again
this will be open to the public and will take place on the 5th floor of the
Siam Motors Building in the Dr. Thaworn Phomprapha Auditorium at 19:30. This
venue is located opposite the BTS station National Stadium at 891/1 Rama 1
Road, Wangmai, Phatumwan.
What a wonderful and unique opportunity for those music lovers living in
Chiang Mai, and now Bangkok as well, to listen to these marvelous performers
and witness the expert teaching of the devoted and dedicated professors who
direct these events. These young musicians are not in competition with
anyone, nor are they trying to impress or show off – they just want to share
their beautiful music with as wide an audience as possible, so your presence
is most certainly required.
More information is available on the website: www.
chiangmaimusicfestival.com where maps, updates, concert programs and more
detail about the artists and the festival can be found. All email should be
addressed to [email protected] .com through which all enquiries and
reservations may be made. This major event in the cultural life of Chiang
Mai deserves and merits our support and attendance – hope to see you all
Love is where you find it…
Dr. Howard Graves Jnr.
In February, it will not be difficult to find …as there will be three very
different presentations of the great love story, “Romeo and Juliet”.
Tuesday, February 3, Franco Zeffirelli’s famous film version of
Shakespeare’s play, “Romeo and Juliet” will be presented via DVD. The cast
includes Leonard Whiting (17 years old when the film was made) and Olivia
Hussey (15 years old at the time).
Tuesday, February 10, Gounod’s opera “Romeo and Juliet” will be presented on
DVD with Villazon and Machaidze singing in the January 10, 2008, new
Saturday, February 14, Prokofiev’s ballet “Romeo and Juliet”, starring the
two late great ballet stars Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev in the leading
roles, will be presented via DVD on a 52–inch plasma TV screen.
Each of these evenings will begin with arrival at 7 p.m. curtain up at 7.30
p.m. sharp, with an interval during which a buffet will be served. Attendees
are requested to bring some delicious food to be shared with the rest of the
audience. Dessert will be provided, and served at the end of the
Those attending are also asked to bring their preferred drinks - whatever is
not consumed should be taken home! Glasses, water and ice will be provided.
For these events, there will be a maximum of 20 seats available.
Those adults wishing to attend any or all of the evenings should send an
email request to Dr. Howard Graves, Jr. at [email protected] .com
indicating which evening(s) and the number of seats, plus a telephone
contact number. An invitation will be sent by return via email noting
verification of the request. Seats will be confirmed, if available, in the
order of receipt of requests. Once an invitation has been sent, should it
become impossible to attend, please notify Dr. Graves so that he may offer
the seat(s) again.
Dress is elegant casual. These evenings are free and offered to persons 18
years of age or older. Sixteen and seventeen year old persons accompanied by
a parent may attend.
Each of the evenings will be held at Dr. Graves’ home at 1701, Rimping
Condominium, 210 Charoenrat Road, next to Narawat Bridge on the north side
of the Ping River, across from the US Consulate, Tel. 053 306 571.
Alliance Française de Chiang Mai – films for February
Friday, February 6, 8
LA GRANDE ILLUSION (1937)
by Jean Renoir with Jean Gabin • Erich von Stroheim • Pierre Fresnay • B&W •
114 min • Eng. S.Titles
During the First World War, two French officers are captured. Captain de
Boeldieu is an aristocrat, whilst Lieutenant Maréchal was a mechanic in
civilian life. They meet other prisoners from various backgrounds, such as
Rosenthal, son of wealthy Jewish bankers. They are separated from Rosenthal
before managing to escape. A few months later, they meet again in a fortress
commanded by the aristocrat Van Rauffenstein. De Boeldieu strikes up a
friendship with him but Maréchal and Rosenthal still want to escape...
Friday, February 13, 8 p.m.
LE QUAI DES BRUMES (1938)
by Marcel Carné with Jean Gabin • Michel Simon • Michèle Morgan • Pierre
Brasseur • B&W • 91 min
A deserter encounters a poor girl in a harbour. They fall in love, but he
kills his girl-friend’s tutor, who wanted to rape her. At last he’s killed
himself by a hooligan and the ship he wanted to go aboard to escape sails
Friday, February 20, 8 p.m.
LA BETE HUMAINE (1938)
by Jean Renoir with Jean Gabin • Simone Simon • Fernard Ledoux • B&W • 100
min • Eng. S.Titles
Séverine and her husband Roubaud kill their former employer on a train.
Jacques, an engineer, witnesses the murder but does not report them to the
police as he is deeply in love with Séverine. However, during an epileptic
fit, he kills her.
Friday, February 27, 8 p.m.
QUAI DES ORFÈVRES (1947)
by Henri-Georges Clouzot with Louis Jouvet • Bernard Blier • Suzy Delair •
Simone Renant • Rene Blancard • Charles Dullin • 95 min • B&W • Eng.
Suzy Delair stars as Jenny Lamour, an ambitious music hall singer who wants
to be a star and is willing to befriend the lecherous old men who ogle her
act, inspiring the jealousy of Jenny’s husband Maurice Martineau (Bernard
Blier). One particular fan of Jenny’s is a wealthy financial backer who
extends repeated invitations to the entertainer to join him at fine
restaurants and his expansive mansion. Armed with a gun, Maurice goes to the
estate to confront his rival one night but discovers that the master of the
house is already dead, his wife having smashed a bottle of champagne over
his head to stave off a sexual advance. Soon, a gruff but dedicated
detective, Inspector Antoine (Louis Jouvet) is on the case, with Maurice
taking the heat for Jenny...