Moving on now.
Maurice Ravel's Pavane pour une infante defunte is my favourite piano piece in the history of ever. It's subdued, melancholic, wistful - and hauntingly beautiful. It's perfect for the piano because the instrument brings out the inherent qualities of the piece, and they meld and blend into each other to produce the most beautiful piece of music I've ever heard in my life.
I have adored this piece for years. Everytime I think of it, or hear it, I'm equally moved, as if I'm hearing it for the first time. Tonight my mom dragged me to listen to the Singapore Symphony Orchestra's Postcards from Spain, where the SSO performed the orchestral version of the piece.
My opinion is undoubtedly biased, but...with every note that the orchestra reproduced, my heart bled, and shed tears, then bled somemore. It wasn't because I thought the orchestra was bad (truth be told, I wouldn't be able to tell if it was good or not); it was because Pavane, I'm sorry, is a piano piece, and watering it down into an orchestral one, whether sanctioned by the composer or not, is utter injustice done to the haunting beauty of the piano version.
I hardly feel so strongly about classical music. I appreciate it - my favourite period is the Romantic period (the fact that music from the four typical periods is lumped together as "classical" kind of annoys me), I prefer solo piano pieces, I don't like piano concertos (can't hear the piano. What's the point?), I'm not a huge fan of the orchestra, I think Vivaldi's Four Seasons is quite overrated, I don't like the violin, I'm not really impressed with the brass family, I'm quite partial to woodwinds (especially the oboe), when I played piano I hated playing music from the Baroque period, especially J S Bach, and I still don't like Baroque music; above all else, I like piano pieces. And I love Ravel's Pavane. I can't even use the same word - love - for any other pieces. I absolutely, whole-heartedly, love this piece.
And because I love it, it can never be desecrated in my presence. Because it's a piano piece to me, the fact that it was performed by the orchestra...oh my god. Why didn't my mom tell me? Okay, she probably did and I just forgot, but I usually just let her drag me to these things without knowing what I'm going for - like today. I was supposed to go for Li Yundi's concert last Friday but I couldn't because of Edu-Dine (it was apparently very bad. Poor him) and my dad was dragged instead.
I guess the only bright side is that Pavane was the first piece performed so the torture ended relatively quickly. They played two Debussy pieces, Espana by a composer whose name I forgot, and Ravel's Bolero.
Espana was easy-listening, and I don't have much to say in that regard. Toss-up between Debussy and Ravel, though? I'm in Ravel's corner. Forever and ever. Bolero is an AMAZING piece. It's basically repeating the same melody throughout the whole 13 minutes, but the way the different instruments of the orchestra took turns to play it, and then ending in the same loud-bang flourish typical of orchestral pieces, it was really, REALLY fascinating. And amazingly, it's actually capable of holding your attention despite the fact that it's one melody on repeat for 13 minutes.
Debussy's pieces, on the other hand, I didn't really get. The first one - Fantaisie for Piano and Orchestra or whatever, which Debussy reportedly hated - was still pretty good, though I must say I was falling asleep. The main melody sounded vaguely Chinese which I found interesting, but at 23 minutes, it was too long for my short attention span. The second one - Ibera - really just flew by me and I had no idea what was going on. I honestly have no impression of it at all.
Bolero, on the other hand, is playing on repeat in my head. Such beautiful melodies are seriously capable of bringing tears to my eyes. Makes you wonder how some people are so capable of such genius compositions. Makes life, therefore, that much worth living, I think.
My conclusion, therefore, is: All orchestras around the world, whether Singapore or Vienna, should stay far, FAR away from my beloved Pavane. Thank you.
On another note, I played tennis at my other condo today. My parents bought a unit at Tanglin View for investment purposes, and it was bought subject to an existing tenancy, so I can't use the apartment. Which really sucks, because the place is SUPER near Redhill MRT station (three minutes away - BY FOOT) and Redhill is SUPER near City Hall and Raffles Place.
The place was full of Japanese though. I don't think I saw a single Singaporean during my two and a half hours there. There were a few kids having lesson on the adjacent court, and after I was done and heard them talk, I found out they were Japanese. My parents' tenants are a Korean couple.
I WANT TO LIVE THERE. The tenancy only expires in October next year. How sad, right? I know.
Anyway, I played with this dude who sold me the Federer/Sampras documentary DVD a while ago. When we proceeded to the baseline, he showed little mercy and hit the ball damn hard. Not only that - he constantly hit to my forehand side. My lousy forehand couldn't handle it and after two or three assaults, it'd just die with a retarded shanked forehand - especially when the ball bounced deep in my court.
It was very sad indeed.
On the bright side:
1. I ran around the forehand a few times to go to the backhand, and most of the time I was quite successful. Yay.
2. The guy likes to volley, and once he hit this volley right to my forehand side, and I hit this amazing passing winner. YESSS. Off the forehand wing. And with full intention to pass him. Very happy.
3. Hit another drive volley. I don't think I can volley any other way. Bleah.
4. My backhand is still relatively trustworthy. Of course, when I miss, or when the ball is dumped into the net, it hurts that much more.
5. I successfully returned a few high balls! There are two easy ways to kill me: a very successful slice (sometimes, on an off day, a half-fucked one will do), and a very high ball. Today I finally figured out how to return a high ball and I did it rather okay-ly. YAYNESS.
Okay, I have to do Advo. It's 11.18 and I haven't read the materials for the Order 14 application. I love myself very much.
Not looking forward to Advo. Why the hell is it 9 AM. Bleah.