Vol. VIII No. 3 - Tuesday
January 20 - January 26, 2009



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


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

Jazz in the Park

Dwarves and Giants - Gustavo Romero plays Beethoven

New Thai musical Romeo and Juliet - an interview with the composer/librettist

The 4th Chiang Mai International Music Festival

Love is where you find it…

Alliance Française de Chiang Mai – films for February

 

Jazz in the Park

Jai-Pee
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

Jai-Pee
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 music.
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 later years.
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 Beethoven’s music.
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 about him.
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 Bangkok?
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

Jai-Pee
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 there!


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 release.
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 ‘performance.’
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 p.m.
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 without him...
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. S.Titles
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...



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