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Masterful Magical Musicianship

Media Players


Masterful Magical Musicianship

Victor Goldberg in Recital

Victor Goldberg (left) along with Prof Anne Murase, Ioana Nedelcu and house staff send aloft a traditional Lanna lantern before the show.

By Jai-Pee

Occasionally, and very occasionally in a lifetime, a person experiences one of those peak experiences referred to many years ago by Abraham Maslow – a moment of total ecstasy and fulfillment so rare and precious. That is what happened when Victor Goldberg struck his first powerful and dynamic chords in the Music Salon of Anne and Kazuyoshi Murase in August. Victor is a master of the keyboard, one of those rare yet exciting and addictive performers whose playing engulfs his audience from the very start and then proceeds to take them on a journey unique in the musical world. This young man in his early thirties has a magician’s power greater than Gandalf and more momentous than Merlin. Playing to a capacity audience for the Friends of the Chiang Mai Music Festival, this unassuming yet totally dedicated pianist captivated, enthralled and enchanted. Choosing a wonderfully balanced program, Victor thundered out the opening of the Piano Sonata Number 5 in F sharp by the Russian composer Scriabin. This composition, groundbreaking in its time, left the audience stunned – Victor, himself of Russian origin, was at one with the music. His magic lay in the fact that he made the strident dissonances sound acceptable, balancing these passages against the more lyrical legato sections that provoked eerie meditative interludes of deep beauty. Following on from this piece came the Piano Sonata No 9 in D major by the twenty-one year old Mozart. Here Victor excelled again, capturing with intense splendour the youthful exuberance of this delightful sonata but without losing any of the underlying genius that is the hallmark of everything Mozart wrote. Nowhere was this more apparent than towards the end of the middle slower movement. Here Mozart repeats the movement’s original opening theme but with intensely beautiful counterpoint, something that was later to become a great characteristic in much of Beethoven’s piano work. Victor fully understood the great genius that had penned those few magical bars and he gently but forcefully persuaded us through his sensitive interpretation that this composer was going to set the world alight.

Victor Goldberg then did the very same thing by setting the salon alight with his final rendition – the set of twenty-five variations and fugue on a theme by Handel written by Johannes Brahms. Brahms is often called the master of the variations, inserting such movements into several of his more well-known symphonies and sonatas, but he also wrote several sets like this which are simply astonishing. Each variation is a great contrast to its predecessor and the challenge for any performer is to capture those differences and to bring out the subtle nuances and powerful distinctiveness of each section. Victor excelled. He breathed new life and deep beauty into this great piece of romantic music, cascading the salon with rich harmonies ideally accentuated and forcefully delivered, as well as lingering wistfully in some of the quieter sections and sustaining commanding rhythms in the chirpier passages. The whole recital was a canvas of distinctive colour, elegance and solid craftsmanship by a unique performer and true professional. The highly appreciative audience rose to its feet as the final chords of the Brahms echoed away, in recognition of the great artistry of this man, already being labeled the new Horowitz by some critics. The audience was rewarded with three encores by Rachmaninoff, Scarlatti and a Chopin showstopper of the finest caliber. This was a stunning performance by a dedicated, intuitive and highly intelligent pianist as he brought his masterful magical musicianship to the salon that is now being described as ‘the new cultural centre of Chiang Mai’.


Media Players

By the Computer Quack

Are you looking for something that can play those videos and songs that you downloaded (legally of course)? Something that will work with that shiny new flat screen TV to which you treated yourself?

A recent article in a well-known Thai newspaper reviewed the iOmega Screenplay Director, and although the author pointed out some of its flaws, he chose to give it a general thumbs up.

I found this strange, as I’ve gone through a number of media players in recent years, and this was one of the poorest. It doesn’t support Matroska (MKV) files, it’s menu system is weak, and only the 1TB installed hard disk makes it a reasonably priced acquisition.

After a long search, and quite a few trades, I ended up plumping for the Briteview CinemaTube HD -

The Cinematube plays everything I’ve ever thrown at it, it reads complex directory structures in no time at all, has a nice preview function as you scroll through your files, and remembers where you were in the file if you power off and go to sleep. It doesn’t have an inbuilt hard disk, but when you can pick up a 2TB Western Digital Mybook for around Bt4,000, who cares?

It finds computers on your home network and can play files off network shares. It has two USB slots, so you can plug in Flash drives as well (and it can read NTFS and FAT drives). It can read .ISO images of DVDs and give you the menus like a DVD Player. It has an inbuilt uPnP server, so you can stream to your Xbox or PS3. And you can even download torrent files on the box itself, (although in all honesty it’s isn’t the most friendly interface I’ve seen for torrents).

And the Briteview costs just $90 online. Plug in the disk, plug the enclosed HDMI cable into your Plasma or LED/LCD, and you’re in business.

I don’t often recommend products, mainly because people have their own opinions of what is good or bad. But when something is so full featured and so well priced, I think it’s worth bringing it to your attention so you can decide for yourself.

As usual, your comments and questions are welcomed. Drop me a line at [email protected]