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music

 

Saturday night was the time, and the Cathedral of Christ was the venue, so as you already guessed, this post is not about a party. Verdi Requiem was performed by the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka along with a chorus and four solo voices at the Cathedral and it was not something that was to be missed.

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 We thought we were being smart by going there half an hour early thinking that the rest of the crowd will be following SLST (Sri Lanka Standard Time. Take your local time and subtract half an hour from it), but boy were we wrong. There was no parking space remaining around the church with every available spot taken by vehicles. There was no parking space for our behinds inside the church either. It was packed. Even the steps and any elevated portion of the floor was taken by music hungry citizens. It was amazing, a venue filled to bursting half an hour before a show in Colombo. I didn’t know people could be so early. The not-so-nice lady at the door even refused to sell us the programme booklets. It was practically a Who’s-Who of Colombo that day. And frankly, there were people there who didn’t give an F# for classical music but turned up anyway just to be seen. Despite the crowd, we managed to park our behinds on a ledge and await the performance.

 

It was entrancing.

 

The Orchestra was brilliant, the chorus had depth, the soloists had character and the conductor was masterful. There was sweat dripping down our backs, we couldn’t even see the Orchestra properly, but we listened, and we were swept away. It was glorious. The programme was a little over one and a half hours, but the time flew. The musicians blossomed under Gregory Rose’s touch, and the soloists were impressive. In my opinion, the tenor was the best of the four with the soprano following. He was like a “breath of fresh air”.

 

I didn’t quite like the choice of venue for the performance. It was hot and cramped. The side screens were too low. The soloists were sweating profusely under their makeup and the acoustics could have been better. I would have gladly paid for a chance to see the performance, and not have the heat interfere with my enjoyment.

 

I have enjoyed the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka before, but there was nothing of this caliber. This was THE best musical experience I have had in Sri Lanka. Ever.

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I love music. I love listening to very many different types and instances of music ranging from classical instrumental to alternative rock, depending on how i feel at the moment. I had Four Seasons playing in my room at an age when most of my classmates were listening to Backstreet Boys and I used to attend Parikrama concerts instead of buying the latest Westlife cd (Gosh!). But for some reason, I was never able to get the hang of Jazz. I tried listening to it, kept it playing in my room while i was in high school, but it never did call my name.

Until now, that is.

About two months ago, I started listening to the Dave Koz radio show and the sound that came out of my speakers was like honey. When the sirens sang to Ulysses, I’ll bet you a sax that was no pop that he heard, baby!

Jazz is a mellow mature type of music, un-canned and handmade. Its flavour not only consists of its ingredients but also overtones of where it comes from. That probably explains why it took me so long to enjoy it: it requires a certain state of mind. Now if you’d visit me while I work, you probably hear strains of a trumpet hovering around my computer, or you’d hear a sax swimming around the rooms of my home on a quiet evening. Its wonderfully relaxing, and does not disturb my thought processes at all. Some of my first memories of Jazz were Kenny G, and later Dave Koz, but now you’d probably find other names on my play list (If you happen to grab my notebook away from me), names like Vandross, the lovely Sade, Chris Botti and George Benson. I have been jazzed, and it looks like there is no turning back. I suggest you try it, it’s quite addictive..

For the Romanian National Day this month, a folk dancing troupe was brought down to Sri Lanka and performed at the Royal College. I would tell you their name, but sadly I cant pronounce it, and since this isn’t a critique I shan’t research it for you. (smiley face goes here)

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There were not many attendees, just a handful of young bored school children and Romanian Nationals, but the troupe was quite good. The band largely improvised the music and it was quite well done. They played almost continuously the whole hour, and they were extremely vigourous, especially the violin and the pipes. They didn’t just play, they played fast! I have never seen a man blow that fast.

The dancers were quite good. The girls pretty and smiling, and the men quick on their feet. Unlike quite a few of the dances I have seen, these people actually looked like they were enjoying themselves. There was a lot of stamping and kicking, and some dangerous looking spinning (with everyone holding hands), but it was very well coordinated. Reminded me of some Russian movies I had seen. It was all very entertaining, and the fact that one of the ladies wearing those thin cotton traditional tops was not wearing a bra during those vigourous steps, certainly did not detract from the entertainment!

I just wished that the lights people would stop playing around though, the troupe could hold their own without any fancy light play.

It was quite a fun experience, but I wished it lasted longer. Good things end so soon.

I have been tagged.

JavaJones has thrown one of the five mythical batons of tagging at me, and it has hit me right on the ear drum. (All puns intended)

It has to do with the difficult choice of selecting five albums to be marooned on a desert island with. Choosing five ladies might have been more fun, but at least I wasn’t asked to choose between toilet papers, or whether I’d get my buttocks waxed, or how I pee. So I guess this isn’t all that bad a tag anyway.

The albums, in no particular order are:

Dirty Vegas : When I feel like dancing with the sea gulls

9 : Cos I love 9 crimes

Stadium Arcadium : For when the sand gets to me

And more on the classical side..

All Angels : Makes me wish I were a soprano

Classical Guitar Masterpieces – Variation in Measure : (The one with Seiom Accorgo) The most relaxing music I have ever heard, and though I cannot play the pieces, I know them all by heart.

I hope I get to take food with the albums as well, cos Hump de Bump don’t go well with raw crabs and coconut.

And I hereby declare the next victims of this tag as:

Indi.ca : Cos I am curious

Sittingnut: Just cos..

Lady Divine: For some divine musical intervention

The Black Lullaby: for a black lullaby

Sashi: Um.. For something poetic with music attached

There! It is done. Toss in your albums with ours. Then, if ever we bloggers are stuck on the Desert Island of idiocy and bad taste, at least we’ll have some music!