Thursday, May 29, 2008

The splendour of Tunggu Sekejap

How apt.

On the eve of the 35th anniversary of his death, and with a Hari Seniman looming large the next day, his work was celebrated at the Dewan Philharmonic PETRONAS, and again I was mesmerized by the philharmonic orchestral version of Tunggu Sekejap.

It was the very reason I decided to give the Malaysia Philharmonic Youth Orchestra a try, and with about 100 members playing last night, in general I was not disappointed. Despite some flaws - according to Arif; especially the horn players, and some certain individual notes, rare though it may be, from a couple of the violin players, I have enjoyed the show. I especially like the arrangement, especially since the brass section was played sporadically and to good effect too.

I always thought that the orchestra at the Istana Budaya was a tad too loud. They tend to play everything all the time, drowning the melody. This was specially heard during the Idris Sardi concert, much to my chagrin.

It goes without saying I am not much of a fan of the brass section, especially the loud ones!

The arrangment of Tunggu Sekejap was really good. I can see P.Ramlee strumming his guitar waiting for the rain to subside so that he could meet up with Saadiah, even though there was no guitar this time around in the arrangement. The trumpet leading the arrangement was smooth, and it was a killer - to my mind - when the violins took over the lead.

I didn't like Bunyi Gitar - I thought it was not appropriate. Then again I was never a fan of Bunyi Gitar. I personally don't think the song can be made orchestral due to its melody, but who am I to argue with the MPO. There are many other beautiful songs of P.Ramlee that could have been showcased.

I was fortunate to have met this former boss of mine at the concert; when I was a rookie engineer at one refinery in the East Coast. A very smart engineer, who would put us men to shame in the day-to-day running of the refinery. If you think that woman engineers are not meant to be working in the oil and gas industry, running big refinery complex, she is a proof that you got it all wrong with woman engineers.

Well, she is now the CEO of Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (and yours truly, hmmm, an unknown).

Ain't it wonderful to have one of us (process engineers that is) helming the MPO! I always have this nagging feeling that one day we could rule the world! Hahaha...

I introduced Arif to her (she had met Akmal at her Raya open house last year). She told him that Kevin Field would be conducting the audition in December himself, and there sight reading and perhaps pieces to practise before the audition. "Ala American idol?" I asked her, with a twinkle in my eyes. "Yes, something like that," she responded. Arif managed a wry smile, with a nervous tint in his eyes.

"We need more viola players,"she said, "typically there would be enough violin players."

"You may want to convert (from violin to viola)."

May be we will give the audition a go; though with him sitting for his SPM by then, I am not sure.

I had personally asked her to give a thought on getting more local songs arrangement on the market, especially arrangement for piano, violin or duet or quartet. MPO with their resources would be doing a wonderful national service to get these pieces in the market into the hand of youngsters like Arif and Akmal. Apparently she had passed my suggestion to her staff for consideration.

I am keeping my fingers' crossed! There is ready market in us, she would not have to worry.

We didn't see or hear any piece involving classical guitar or piano during the concert. I guess Akmal is a bit disappointed with that and he was wondering if there would be an audition for classical guitarist. "Practise, practise and practise," I told him, " when MPYO is auditioning for one, I want you to be ready."

"When they want to play Concierto de Arunjuez," I added, " MPYO would be looking for you!"

Akmal smiled; hope raised, I believe.

Well, as a dad, I had to what I had to do.

I am not saying the both of them would one day be playing for a philharmonic orchestra. I told Arif during the break that I would be equally proud if he would be a pilot who is able to play the violin and piano and be good at both. On the other hand, I also told Akmal, if he were to be a doctor one day, he could entertain his patients with his pieces on classical guitar, and not only prescribe medicine.

I am sure his patients would have a better chance of recovery, God willing.

In other words, they would be someone different from their colleagues.

Well, on this day the 35th year anniversary of his death, I do wish he is still with us.

His work is. That's for sure.
I had wanted to take the kids' picture with the CEO of MPO hoping that the berkat from her would rub off to them, so that one day they would be taking over! But with Tun Dr Mahathir as the special guest at the concert last night, I thought she would be busy.

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