There’s something about classical music…

20 07 2011

Brass instruments: the sexiest of them all! (photo from

There’s something about classical music that just makes me happy. It never fails to cheer me up, gives me a boost of energy, or just get me chirpy, jumpy and excited all in one go!

I’m not exactly sure what it is that makes classical music special for me, but I think it has something to do with its somewhat unpredictable nature. Pop songs are catchy and they do pump me up, but I can only listen to so much of pop before I drift into a state of high-degree boredom. (I’ve often put my iPod on shuffle, hoping to dig up some obscure piece of amazing pop lurking in the obscure realms of my library, only to end up forever skipping one song after the next.)

So what is it with classical music? Like I said, it’s their unpredictability. I love that feeling when you think you know the melody, when you think you know which note will come next, but the composer has cheekily slipped in a little tweak and gives you a humongous yet pleasant surprise. It’s just so thrilling when a trumpet comes at the least expected moments (FYI: I maintain that brass instruments are the sexiest instruments of the lot), or when the timpani (which I believe to be the second sexiest instrument, after all the brass ones) comes rolling in from nowhere!

Then there’s the joy of following the music. I’ve been listening to Tchaikovsky’s wonderful violin concerto lately, as well as Beethoven’s piano concertos, and rather than just listening to it, I’ve decided to try to follow the music using the concerto’s complete score. The International Music Scores Library Project is great for this.  All I have to do is type in the name of the piece, download the PDF file, and read the music on my laptop while listening to the concerto on CD. It’s a most relaxing thing to do after dinner – put on the music, flip open the laptop, throw yourself onto the sofa and enjoy!


Marvelous Musical Movement

24 06 2011

Tonight’s movement was a musical one.

Listening to Midori and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra play Tchaikovsky’s electrifying violin concerto in D Major with what the Financial Times referred to as “spitfire energy” was most invigorating. Her violin playing was deft to say the least, yet not compromised by any sense of timidity, making the entire performance full of energy and excitement. What I loved most was the layering of the main melody throughout, kick-started first by Midori’s violin, then gradually built up with the rest of the string instruments, and finally topped off with the wonderful woodwinds, brass (which I maintain as being the sexiest instruments of the lot), and of course, the ever present, ever important timpani.

The next piece performed by the orchestra was Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E Minor. I wasn’t familiar with this piece, and its melody wasn’t  quite as evident as the violin concerto. It started slowly, but I particularly enjoyed the way the orchestra came together multiple times to play in unison. All the string instruments would  play simultaneously, making very nice uniform movements with their bows, and then the woodwinds, brass and timpani would all come in to shake the entire performance hall with the music’s vibrancy and vivacity.

I’m all pumped for more movement. What a great night of music!