26 June 2010

Chung King House

A pigment ink sketch of the Chung King House at Nathan Road, Kowloon in Hong Kong. The old, weathered buildings with the improvised external piping, the numerous changes, the signages and more, an urban narrative of sorts.

There was so much detail in each building, so much character. I do wonder as to the history of the buildings, the stories of individual residents, tenants and more.

On the walls of the Chung King House, one could see the signs of former residents and tenants. Chak Mei Ivory Factory, Golden Guest House, De Luxe Hotel and more. Simply wondrous.

I like Hong Kong. I can go back again and again to sketch the place.

25 June 2010

Benjamin Grosvenor

The Benjamin Grosvenor recital tonight had included the following:

KAPUSTIN - Concert Study No. 6 -Pastoral
Concert Study No. 7 - Intermezzo
Concert Study No. 3 - Toccatina

LISZT - Piano Sonata in B minor, S.178

CHOPIN - Nocturne in F-sharp major, Op. 15 No. 2
Scherzo No. 3, Op. 39
Nocturne in C-sharp minor, Op. post.

RAVEL - Gaspard de la Nuit

I had finally heard Liszt's Sonata in B minor live, one of my favourites. The performance was engrossing.

However, I don't know, I don't find tonight's programme as engrossing as the first two nights. My sister was in agreement with that sentiment. I guess I didn't care for the Kasputin pieces which I found to be forgettable. Lyn said that she didn't attend tonight's, I thought she didn't miss much.

Have a nice Doomsday

I bought 'Have a Nice Doomsday: Why Millions of Americans Are Looking Forward to the End of the World' by Nicholas Guyatt at Metrobooks in the gigantic Elements mall in Hong Kong over the weekend and I am halfway through the volume. It features interviews with Christians who believe that the end times are upon them. I do wonder how many of the Christians in Singapore harbour such a point of view. And if those Christians here that do, how does it influence their decision-making and colour their political views? Do these Christians support an Israeli state unconditionally? Do they seek to rebuild a new Temple in Jerusalem? Do these Christians also believe that the pope is the antichrist?

At the same time, I do wonder how many of my American friends subscribe to this point of view?
A dreary day. The skies are a milky grey after a heavy downpour and flooding. At least, it's Friday and I am attending a recital this evening with my sister. Whee!

Legs wide open

I hate sitting between or beside obese people who sit with their legs wide open. I had this unfortunate experience during a wedding dinner where I was squashed between two fatsos with wide-open legs. They were, of course, oblivious.

Then, there was the time when I had to sit beside a huge obese fellow in an auditorium. Noooo!

There was also that obese one with the body odour in the MRT train recently. Ugh.

17th Singapore International Piano Festival

For the 17th Singapore International Piano Festival, I had tickets bought for the Wang Yuja, Pietro De Maria and Benjamin Grosvenor recitals as the programmes had included large doses of Chopin, Scriabin, Schubert. Whee!

I had decided against the Piotr Anderszewski recital as the programme had little of interest to me.

Pietro De Maria

The Pietro De Maria concert last night was topped at the end by four crowd-pleasing encores! Wondrous! There was a woman shouting 'Bravo! Bravo' continuously at the end. The Victoria Concert Hall was almost full.

I did spot Lyn in the distance but did not say hello as my sister was waiting in the car and my other sister and I had to rush off after the concert.

I am always partial to the four Ballades and Sonata No. 3. Thus, this was a programme which had everything I liked!

CHOPIN - 4 Ballades
Sonata No.3, Op. 58

24 June 2010

Lords of the Sea

I am reading the 'Lords of the Sea: The Epic Story of the Athenian Navy and the Birth of Democracy' by John R. Hale, a highly readable account of the rise of Athens with an emphasis on the naval affairs and how it contributed to the rise of the Athenian empire, the thalassocracy. As stated in the book, Athenian democracy was not as we common assumed, and the democratic state did assume the leadership of the Delian League. Member states were not allowed to leave while others were forced to join.

I missed that Krystian Zimerman concert in Hong Kong which was a pity. What was a greater pity was that his programme consisted mostly of Chopin. Oh well.

Wang Yuja concert

The Wang Yuja concert at the Victoria Concert Hall this evening was very enjoyable. I liked the programme with Scriabin, Chopin and Schubert/Liszt. She was obliging and gave three encores.

CHOPIN - Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35

SCHUBERT - Three Lieder
Gretchen am Spinnrade
Auf dem Wasser zu singen
Der Erlkönig

SCRIABIN - Prelude in B major, Op. 11 No. 11
Prelude in B minor, Op. 13 No. 6
Prelude in G-sharp minor, Op. 11 No. 12
Etude in G-sharp minor, Op. 8 No. 9
Poème in F-sharp major, Op. 32 No. 1

PROKOFIEV - Sonata No. 6 in A major, Op. 82

23 June 2010

I have only made a sketch of one building in Hong Kong which I will put up later in the week.
My mother said that Mimi was waiting eagerly last night. It seems that he could sense that they were waiting for my return. Of course, Mimi being that smart cat that he is, could simply have checked the airport information...

At the airport last night, there were a horde of children waiting at the gates. There were at least six or seven security personnel present too. A kid told me that a Korean band was coming in.
I find it hard to be excited over this current World Cup. I had watched a few matches but they have been lacklustre.