Classical Music (7): 鋼琴隨筆

有些學琴的人有個有趣的習慣﹐就是即使沒有鋼琴﹐手指仍會不自覺的在大腿上﹑或桌上作彈琴狀﹗我當然是其中之一﹗

我教的是數學﹐直覺上音樂卻是感性的﹐所以當學生知道鋼琴是我的第二生命時﹐會覺得有些意想不到﹗其實只要細心觀察就能發現﹐理科出身玩樂器的可不少。閑談時嘗試推斷兩者的關係﹐我覺得唯一的共通點就是唸數學和玩樂器都需要莫大的耐性。兩者最大的分別﹐就是數學尚可靠臨場耍小聰明過關﹐但音樂就絕對是hard work。

對於數學出身的人﹐玩樂器也可看成一種互補﹐我以前不知怎的在一個好奇的學生面前做個比喻﹐就如一個人的器官都能各自發揮功能一樣﹐一個人當然可以擁有多方面的才能。

以前在大連﹐週末有時會逛逛琴行﹐發現新開的就會去探個究竟﹐隨著中產階級的擴大﹐那裡的琴行越開越有規模。

琴行有些員工﹐對鋼琴其實不是很熟識﹐曾經遇過一位店員很信任我﹐她當時正在給一些家長介紹鋼琴﹐我和她以前見過兩次左右﹐她認出了我﹐於是就把球拋給我, 讓我講解﹐我也不知道她是否喜歡我如實介紹。

外面也有些中國父母問過我﹐如是者多講幾次也有些選琴心得:以upright piano來說﹐琴身越高聲音越好(tall box)﹐這是很明顯的﹐高身的價錢都貴一截。學生學習鋼琴﹐琴鍵稍微手感重一些才好(less responsive)﹐可以練手指力﹐鬆一些的就作演奏或教學用途。
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by wwjune | 2008-08-27 13:32 | Fine Arts

上星期kunichan說起懷念以前談論古典音樂的時光﹐想起來差不多一年前的事了﹐不免有些感慨﹐因為那時我媽剛剛出院﹐難得有同好﹐那就成了我的晚间消遣﹐到現在我還很感激。

我記得他告訴我﹐Ravel---Bolero是由pppp, ppp, pp...一路進階到ffff﹐而我也曾經發表過一番“偉論”﹐說如果一個交響樂團的弦樂组(strings)不佳﹐那樂團也不會好到哪兒去(VSO溫哥華交響樂團就是這樣的一個團)。

昨天又聽了些Debussy CDs﹐他有好幾首我都喜歡,例如﹕
Danse Sacree et danse profane, La Fille aux cheveux de lin, Reverie, Sirenes (Nocturne III)

我發現自己原來有個傾向﹐不單是Clair de Lune﹐其他的Debussy都會反覆聽結尾段﹐特別是Sirenes的女聲合唱低吟。突發奇想﹐假如某天我因病撒手塵寰﹐臨終前最好有Debussy的音樂伴隨﹐安詳飄逸得來卻不會太悲傷﹐讓我徐徐睡去...

說完Debussy,上图的那張CD---Kornet Har Sin Vila (Now the Green Blade Riseth)﹐是瑞典出品,又名“田園之歌”﹐共收錄24首合唱歌曲﹐編曲者Bengt Berg有鑒于近代的宗教歌曲未能跟教堂裡的傳統風琴(organ)配合﹐故嘗試把音樂重新編排﹐跟單簧管(flute)﹐吉他(guitar)等樂器揉合﹐以求切合時代﹐改編了的除了現代音樂﹐還包括瑞典民謠以及古典合唱曲﹐由三個合唱團演繹﹐其中包括Stockholm Cathedral Choir.

Bengt Berg的編曲做得很成功﹐清新可喜﹐百聽不厭,朴素中不失聖潔和深度﹐歌唱水準不俗﹐當作消閑音樂來聽也可﹐Kornet Har Sin Vila 更被hi-fi愛好者視為恩物﹐因為它的錄音水平一向備受音響界推崇。

不懂瑞典語沒關係﹐音樂不分國界﹐況且有英文翻譯供參閱。
我最喜歡聽第十首:God, When you Breathe。
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by wwjune | 2008-08-25 16:15 | Fine Arts

c0090351_15241343.jpgc0090351_15245421.jpg

今天彈一下Debussy--Clair de Lune﹐不過只彈最後一頁﹐我最喜歡的是最後的十來個小節﹐總會反覆彈奏﹐結尾左手部分的延音D flat和F交替重复﹐加上Pedal﹐氣氛營造得朦朦朧朧的﹐就像印象派畫家Monet的那種色澤和光影。

今早翻舊東西的時候﹐無意中發現我收藏了14年的古典音樂主題月曆﹐這麼精緻的月曆現在很難找了﹐是美國的Library of Congress出版的﹐裡面收錄館藏照片﹐並標示音樂家的出生日。

P.S. Japanese music notations
C = ハ
D = ニ
E = ホ
F = ヘ
G = ト
A = イ
B = ロ

Sharp(#) = 嬰 Flat (b) = 變

Major = 長調 Minor = 短調

例如:C# Major = 嬰ハ長調
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by wwjune | 2008-08-23 16:02 | Fine Arts

今天繼續彈Bach﹐Bach的作品﹐要練到流暢就要花相當功夫﹐但一旦上了手﹐就很容易不自覺地越彈越快﹐所以control份外重要。

上週四去聽了這年度Early Music Vancouver Season Finale:
Rameau's Pygmalion -- Music & Dance from the French Baroque

我聽過他們兩年前的season finale(本blog第一篇日記有簡短紀錄)﹐故此之後的兩年我都收到Early Music Vancouver的宣傳月曆﹐這次是同一個來自Montreal的班底﹐Pygmalion更加上舞蹈和出動本地的Baroque orchestra﹐表演者都很dedicated,我大力推薦。

場刊裡其中一段抄下來﹕
..."pure" French music was generally linked with the grands motets, ballets de cour, and comedies-ballets of the Italian born composer Jean-Baptiste Lully...

Lully 的歌曲我彈唱過一首--Bois Epais (Sombre Woods)﹐今天禁不住拿出來玩味一下。
這是youtube上找到的1920年的錄音。


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by wwjune | 2008-08-21 15:23 | Fine Arts



看奧運轉播﹐不時出現北京的風景﹐唉呀﹐真巴不得要把光緒叫出來﹗然而﹐這股“載湉夢”﹐已經回不去奧運前那一星期的狀態了。

不過我間接透過他認識了一個鋼琴網站﹐啟發我重新抽時間欣賞古典音樂。

今天我玩的是J.S. Bach: BMV 995, Gavotte I & II--Lute Suite 3 in G Minor﹐我喜歡的作曲家包括了B,C,D---Bach, Chopin, Debussy﹐加一個 Rachmaninoff﹐近來又傾向了聽巴羅克(Baroque)﹐看來我要活在清朝無疑。

這是我最喜歡的Bach樂曲之一﹐我的譜本身是lute版本﹐可以把它稱作結他的前身吧﹐用鋼琴來奏﹐為了保留風味﹐降低了八度﹐就如其他Bach的作品一樣﹐注重流暢度和articulation﹐這首曲特別清雅﹐聽起來有些像兩三個人一起唱歌。彈奏時注意有些和弦要detached但不能hop like staccato。

去年聽過一些CD, 在youtube也聽了幾個版本﹐有些人奏得太快﹐有些人卻不太掌握Bach的技巧﹐我在香港的時候﹐在圖書館隨意借了一盒帶﹐第一次接觸這曲﹐算起來也有二十年了﹐到現在還是認為這版本最好﹐上面的那個算得上中規中矩﹐聽得出有些地方彈錯了﹐不過lute的風味還是取締不了。。。
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by wwjune | 2008-08-20 15:24 | Fine Arts

今天終於拿了Alban Berg: Sonata Op.1來彈一下﹐全曲有九頁﹐我試了3頁﹐這曲本身在技術上要求不算太高﹐比想像中好﹐而且自問sight-reading算不錯﹐但礙于scale/chord progressions很不“傳統”﹐所以有些段落還是練得很費神。

c0090351_16145634.jpg言歸正傳﹐想談談郎朗﹐我一向喜歡他演奏氣勢磅礡的樂章﹐例如Tchaikovsky和Rachmaninoff就很適合他﹐香港回歸十周年﹐他和香港管弦樂團合作“黃河協奏曲”﹐效果很好。

大概半年前看過Knowledge Network播放郎朗訪問專輯﹐卻覺得他在言談中露出自負之態了﹐他在北京上海等大城市教大師班(Masterclass)﹐表現很令我失望﹐尤其是學生沒能奏出他要求的效果時﹐他就會坐在琴前示範﹕“就這樣﹐就這樣﹗”如此抽象,跟模仿CD彈奏又有什麼分別呢﹖音樂教育我是外行﹐但也知道教授音樂必須要設法引導學生進入境界﹐用各種比喻(如行軍﹑如晨曦)來幫助學生領悟﹐是其中一個辦法。

音樂界人材輩出﹐且不說全世界了﹐單是中國就競爭激烈,郎朗要在音樂界站得長久﹐就必須更努力的透過閱讀和遊歷去豐富自己的藝術生命。
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by wwjune | 2008-08-18 16:32 | Fine Arts

For the Royal Conservatory of Music
Piano, Performer Category

List A: Baroque
J. S. Bach: Prelude and Fugue No. 15 in G major

List B: Classical
Beethoven: Sonata Op. 27 No. 2 (Moonlight)
1st movt: This famous piece is easy to play but hard to memorize
3rd movt: Brilliant but technically demanding

List C: Romantic
Chopin: Nocturne Op. 48 No. 1 in C minor
As Chopin is always my favourite, I chose this passionate piece without hesistation after a competitor performed it in the Coquitlam Musical Festival in 1993. I used this piece for the Masterclass of 1994, when my performance was at its peak.

List D:
Rachmaninoff: Prelude Op. 32 No. 10 in B minor

List E: Contemporary
Prokofiev: Visions Fugitives Op. 22 (Nos. 1, 3, 7, 8)

Concert Etude:
Chopin: Etude Op. 10 No. 3
I was told that this was Chopin’s own favourite
____________________________________

My Current Wish-list

These two pieces are on my current wish-list which I just want to practise for fun. Let's see how often I will be touching my long-ignored piano.

1) Alban Berg: Sonata Op.1
This is his one and only sonata. It feels weird to me when I heard a schoolmate played it in 1991, but started loving it about a year ago! An indication of shift in taste and maturity (shouldn't I just say I'm getting old)?

2) Rachmaninoff: Prelude Op. 23 No. 5 in G minor

Another great piece to play is:
Mozart's Sonata in D, K448/375a
I'm never a fan of Mozart. His piano works are not impressive but this piece for 4 hands makes one of my favourites. This is easier to play compared to the two above but rather impractical to pursue as I need to find a partner, and on top of that----2 pianos!!

And as in the past, I always longed to play the harpsichord to expand my horizon.

P.S. Chopin的Bacarolle我也喜歡﹐但看來不能成事了。他的Ballade (Op 23 in G minor) 和Schubert's Four Impromptus我有時會拿出來玩玩。
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by wwjune | 2008-08-17 15:46 | Fine Arts

In DMLIS, I was involved in the music department as an extra-curricular.

Here’s a round-up of my participation in 2005-07, in chronological order:

2005 Spring: My Fair Lady
Cindy Keung, a Canadian drama teacher back then, was the director. It was a very ambitious production. I took up the task of playing the music of the parts not found on the CD soundtrack--a total of about 10 pieces. Cindy set up a recording software on her laptop with our computer teacher, Grant Potter, while I practiced to a reasonable level of fluency as soon as I could. With her laptop hooked up to her Casio electronic piano, the music was pre-recorded to be edited and then used on rehearsals and live performances.

2005 Xmas:
Students sang Xmas Carols in the foyer of the main building.
I was at the piano. Steve Balnave, Man-Wing Chor and Joyce Huang were the organizers.

2006 May: School Anniversary
The School collaborated with 大连爱乐乐团. Students joined the orchestra as guests. I chose to do Pachelbel’s “Canon” with the string section only.

2006 Graduation:
Cindy gathered and trained a group of Grade 12 students to sing “Seasons of Love” from RENT. I was at the piano.

On to 2006—07 School year
Collaborating with Canadian colleague Eveline Yu, and Chinese music teachers Jenny Zeng Yan and Zuo lili, I took a more active role through conducting auditions, concert programming and directing.

I decided to go for a change after a year of teaching AP Calculus. Students in my school were generally good at Math but needed more choices in terms of fine arts activities, so one of the incentives was a year-round school choir. We have a student body large enough to support it but I regret to say that our routine was frequently interrupted.

My experience concluded that, despite a lack of practice, students in our school were especially talented in last minute catch-up and often yielded a pleasing performance at the end.

2006 Xmas:
This year we had the school choir caroling in the cafeteria
Xmas Student concert:
I went back and forth on the stage to coordinate students. I also performed a Chopin Etude.
Xmas Staff Variety Show:
Style similar to those on CCTV. The Chinese administration was behind the whole thing. Canadian staff was invited to participate.
Alex Lee and Eveline Yu: Duet “All I Ask of You” I was at the piano. (See blog entry below for more)
I also accompanied Sui-ki Chan. She played the violin version of 渔舟唱晚
A teachers choir was also formed. Wearing yellow gowns rented from a costume outlet in Dalian, we sang a propaganda song composed by Lili Zuo and a Chinese traditional.

2007 School Anniversary: At the piano with
School Choir:
远方的客人请你留下来
Come to me, O my love---Eveline’s pick

Alex and Eveline Encore!
“A Whole New World” from Aladdin

Also I played at weddings, taught piano to teacher colleagues and students on a casual basis.

So here’s how much I can recall...
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by wwjune | 2008-07-16 16:18 | Fine Arts

This wasn't on my list of favourites in terms of Broadway music---until our staff show in 2006. From then on, I was moved everytime I heard it again.

It all started with Alex wanting to do a Phantom/Webber solo at first, with me to accompany him on the piano, and when Eveline found out, she asked,
"Is there a possibility of a duet?"

In 1994, I bought the scores of Phantom of the Opera in Toronto after watching Toronto's own cast. The staff show was the first time I ever put this book into good use.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Raoul:
No more talk of darkness,
forget these wide-eyed fears;
I'm here, nothing can harm you,
my words will warm and calm you.
Let me be your freedom,
let daylight dry your tears;
I'm here, with you, beside you,
to guard you and to guide you.

Christine:
Say you'll love me ev'ry waking moment;
turn my head with talk of summertime.
Say you need me with you now and always;
promise me that all you say is true,
that's all I ask of you.

Raoul
Let me be your shelter,
let me be your light;
you're safe, no one will find you,
your fears are far behind you.

Christine
All I want is freedom,
a world with no more night;
and you, always beside me,
to hold me and to hide me.

Raoul
Then say you'll share with me one love, one lifetime;
let me lead you from you solitude.
Say you need me with you, here beside you,
anywhere you go, let me go too,
that's all I ask of you.

Christine
Say you'll share with me one love, one lifetime.
Say the word and I will follow you.

Together
Share each day with me, each night, each morning.

Christine
Say you love me...

Raoul
You know I do.

Together
Love me, that's all I ask of you.

Anywhere you go let me go too

Love me...
that's all I ask of you.
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by wwjune | 2008-07-16 15:58 | Fine Arts

Superb performance by an ensemble based mainly in Montreal.

Featuring Italian baroque music, this event, named "Paradiso & Inferno", was the finale of this festival.

The most moving rendition was the two-soprano love duet Pur ti miro that closes Monterverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea. The soprano and the sopranist were both working at high calibre.


Sol quando dorme amor il mondo e in pace
Only when Love sleeps is the world at peace.

was the last line sung this evening...

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by wwjune | 2006-08-21 14:23 | Fine Arts