Sunday, September 03, 2006

A Guitar Night

Went to the "Classic meets Pop" performance last night with OG. It's a concert organised by the Toa Payoh Guitar Club to raise club funds, so that they can finally be 'on par' with many schools and institutions which have already went on their Niibori instrument shopping sprees.
(hmm.. think i'll talk about that in another blog. some mixed feeling there.. anyway..)

First thing that struck me, was that the concert was FULL HOUSE! When i reached at 725pm, the area outside the hall (DBS Auditorium) was packed. Lots of people, some many familiar faces...

The first half featured Ernest, playing several pieces from Villa Lobos, Danza Brasilera (Morel), Clavelitos, and he ended with a flourish by playing Grand Jota (Tarrega).

Frankly speaking, i wasn't so impressed with some of his renditions of the songs, especially when he tried to play certain sections at double-quick-time speeds. For instance, the Prelude No.1 (Villa Lobos) 2nd section was (to me) way too fast, so much so that it sounded a little tipsy.. Another example would be Danza Brasilera, which imho he played so fast that he actually forgot certain passages, and did a little "smoke-through".

But i really liked his interpretation of some slower songs, in which he was able to do more expression control using he wonderful tone. This is something which i really respect him for. A really good guitarist can make a not-so-good guitar sound really good. And when Ernest played the duets with Omar, this fact came through impressively.

Had a chat with Yudi during the interval. The guy told me he's making trip to the US next week to look at some guitars from a dealer there. Said he had Jim Redgate guitar he wanted to look at. Sigh... what a wonderfully "job" this would be, if only i had the money to start something like that :P

The 2nd half started, and i was able to get a seat beside OG, since the seat was empty. We had a good laugh when we discovered that Omar was playing his "signature" piece (yeah, again!) - Sounds from the Malboro country. Yep, that's the one where he does all the gimmicks like glissandos, left hand hammer-ons, harmonics, knocking his flamenco guitar all over the place to create percussive sounds, etc.. Basically, whatever you can think of from the guitar gimmick & tricks text, he's thrown them in.

OG doesnt have a too high opinion of Omar and his playing. He felt that its just 'playing tricks' using chord progressions, and some knowledge of rhythm (e.g. jazz beats, samba beats). I kind of agree. In the sense that as a serious classical guitar player, i am certainly more impressived with Ernest playing a serious Grand Jota piece, than Omar playing ANY of his pop songs. The kind of technique and 功力 required to play a proper classical repertoire well, cannot be compared to simply using flashy and attention-grabbing stuff to play a catchy tune. This is something which will not make much sense to the general audience, especially those who do not play classical guitar.

However, i do give Omar lots of credit for his efforts in doing his own guitar arrangements of pop songs. It is one thing to be able to play a piece, but another thing to be able to WRITE a piece. To me, i rather admire his arrangement abilities - some of the arrangements are very pleasing on the ear indeed. :)

The KEY event of the night was the encore ~~~

First, they invited Mr Alex A on stage to play a trio with Ernest and Omar - Mr Lonely. A simple arrangement really, but seeing the three players collaborating on stage, especially with Mr A on double bass, was rather interesting.

But they saved the best for last...

Mr A ended the evening with his famous rendition of ... *drumroll*


Peace to the World or The World in PIECESSSSS!

Certainly brings back memories ya? What a concert this turned out to be, worth every penny if you asked me. :)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to input my thots.

Nothing much to say abt Earnest. He's my shi-fo.

As for Omar, I admire his ability to arrange pieces with lotsa fireworks and his stage charisma. I do enjoy the pop pieces that evening. However, he did not showcase enuff of his skill as a classical guitar player and it was glaringly obvious (in tonal quality and projection) when Earnest and Omar used the sponsored guitars for duo performance of Mr Lonely.

**Perhaps i m being too picky, from my classical player point of view , but quality-built guitar do mask a player ability to a certain extent :P **

The last part where Mr A played double-bass and play-sing WOUND was a surprise. Definately got bak the feeling of being in GENUS during Mr A's directorship.

Ya, it was an enjoyable guitar music evening, with the different genres being played out. Having a full-house audience adds to the atmosphere too.

However, the some of the audience concert etiquette leaves much to be desired **hoffing** with the constant coughing, copy-cat coughing and the din of digi-camera zooming and lousy photographers scrolling thru their LCD screen to see if their puny skill has actually captured the stage.

Some of the audience clapping is a "timeless" (pun-intended) classic, even a 1 year old baby can tell how much appreciative we r of the performance. Before play clap **ok**, after play clap **correct**, halfway thru a piece also clap **gasp!!**.


1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ivan, u spelt ernest's name wrongly le =p cannot spell our shi fu's name wrongly de =p hehe..

ernest might be a bit nervous on that nite... maybe thats why he 'smoked' thru that passage. hehe. but still.. his gong li is still WOW. *clap clap*

everytime i went for his lessons .. i mean by right his master class.. haha.. i always enjoyed his playing. quite fun talking to him tooz.

i wonder whether he talked as much to all his students as compared to me. basically we talked abt everything under the sun. u name it, we talked abt it =p

Kee Ping

2:57 AM  

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