2016年11月27日 星期日

Dvorak and Tchaikovsky in Hong Kong (在香港的德伏扎克與柴可夫斯基)

I have a predilection for Russian conductors which the country's authorities allow to leave it. I don't know why. Maybe there's something in the Slavic soul which makes them feel very deeply about the music they play  and which enables them to express it in the way they handle the music. Whatever the reason may be, that intuition proved right again last night and made it one of the best concerts I have had for some time. Last night, we had Vasily Sinaisky as the guest conductor of the HKPO. He played for us two pieces Dvorak's Cellos Concerto in B minor, Op. 104 and Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony, Op 58. As solo cellist, we had Alban Gerhadrt.

2016年11月24日 星期四

The Together Project (L'Effet aquatique) (求愛水計劃)

The Together Project (L'Effet aquatique)  is my first film in the just started French Film Festival 2016 HK. Directed and co-written by Sólveig Anspach and Jean-Luc Gaget and starring Samir Guesmi  (as Samir) and Florence Loiret  Caille ( as Agathe), Didda Jónsdóttir ( as Anna) and Philippe Rebbot ( as  Reboute), it's a very French swimming pool romance set in motion first by pure chance and then continued through some heavily engineered calculation attributable to those huge jokes beloved by men and women perpetrated by Nature on terrestrials through a combination testoterones, estrogens and dopamine.

2016年11月23日 星期三

The Maisky Duo in HK (麥斯基家人在香港的二重奏)

I have attended numberless classical concerts. I have yet to attend one like last night's. It's not just that beautiful pieces were played by the performers one after the other. Nor that the composers came from different countries. What made last night's concert stand out was the number of encores we had. Not just the usual one or two, not even three or four, not five but six. It happened at the Cultural Centre. The artists were both of the same family: Misha Maisky, cellist, Lily Maisky, pianist.

2016年11月22日 星期二

Time for Everything (萬物皆有時)

Augustine once asked himself in his famous autobiographic Confession: 
"For what is time? Who can readily and briefly explain this? Who can even in thought comprehend it, so as to utter a word about it? But what in discourse do we mention more familiarly and knowingly, than time? And, we understand, when we speak of it; we understand also, when we hear it spoken of by another. What then is time? If no one asks me, I know: if I wish to explain it to one that asketh, I know not: yet I say boldly that I know, that if nothing passed away, time past were not; and if nothing were coming, a time to come were not; and if nothing were, time present were not. Those two times then, past and to come, how are they, seeing the past now is not, and that to come is not yet? But the present, should it always be present, and never pass into time past, verily it should not be time, but eternity. If time present (if it is to be time) only cometh into existence, because it passeth into time past, how can we say that either this is, whose cause of being is, that it shall not be; so, namely, that we cannot truly say that time is, but because it is tending not to be?"

Time seems a most elusive concept. It never stays. For the moment you speak of it, it's either already past or not yet come into being because it's n the future,  which seems a point forever running ahead of us. And our past too seems forever running away from us, receding further and further into the past and little remains of it except those unreliable traces of it in our fading memory. 

The Bauhinia doesn't bother itself with Augustine's self-inflicted mental torture about the exact nature of time.

2016年11月21日 星期一

Autumn leaves (秋之葉)

Autumn is a time of transition.

It's a time when the lights become that much softer

2016年11月20日 星期日

The Regal Concierto de Aranjuez--Xuefei Yang 楊雪霏皇后式的阿蘭惠斯協奏曲

Xuefei Yang (楊雪霏) is a collector. She collects all kinds of firsts: she started learning to play the classical guitar at 7, appeared at the First China International Guitar Festival at 10, played to a Tokyo audience at 12 and made a guitar debut in Madrid at 14 and was lent two of John Williams’ Greg Smallman guitars at 15 and became the first guitarist ever to receive an international scholarship from the Royal Schools of Music for her studies at the Royal Academy of Music from which she graduated in 2002 at 25 with distinction, after first having studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. She is the winner of countless guitar awards and has appeared in concert halls of England, Ireland, Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, America, Japan and Australia. I got several of her excellent CD's. So it was with great expectations that I attended her concert with the HKPO last Saturday under the baton of our guest conductor Alexander Shelley.

2016年11月19日 星期六

Dia dokutâ (Dear Doctor)(親愛的醫生)

Dia dokutâ (Dear Doctor)(親愛的醫生) (2009) is a uniquely postmodernist Japanese film based upon a novel by Miwa Nishikawa (西川美和) and adapted for the screen and directed by herself. To me, everything in that film is marked by a blurring of boundaries, starting from the very title of the film, which looks like a Japanese transliteration of an emotive English term coupled with a Western professional title, an obvious juxtapositioning of two completely different cultures, extending to the mixing of genre of novel and film, the grafting of mid-West American country music on to a most Japanese countryside, the contrast between modern and the traditional Japanese cultures, the interface of Western medical instruments, pills, surgery with a silver bullet approach to health problem with a very Eastern concept of healing of the person rather his/her illness, the application of a very new Western criminal investigative technique into the story of the disappearance of a "doctor" much loved and adored by the senile inhabitants of a very traditional small Japanese village, the conflict between the head and the heart, between truth and falsehood, between reality and illusion or delusion. There is also a very postmodern collapsing of the 4 dimensional world into two, just surface area: the past and the future collapsing into the living present, the here and now, which seems the only spot where time has got any meaning at all and nothing remains but the spectacle of social roles, a world in which each plays out his individual part and the world has become one in which there can no longer be any modernist truths which are valid at all times, for all people, under all kinds of culture and the only "truths" permissible are local truths valid only for particular persons, particular places at a specific point in the traditional "historical" time, one in which feeling and humanity still reign supreme. Yet all these apparent "identities", "parallels", "similarities" and "analogies" are all divided by what appears to be certain irreconcilable, unbridgeable and impossible "différances." in a world where as Jean François Lyotard says, there is only incredulity towards any modernist "meta-narratives".  However, such Derridarean "différances" are never shown to be as sharp, as brutal, as disruptive as they could have been if the film had been produced and directed by a Western director. No doubt the film displays a certain element of postmodern irony and play, yet such display is pervaded with a touch of a very Japanese and a very feminine sense of subtlety.

2016年11月18日 星期五

Three Glorious Romantics (邂逅浪漫)

Richard Wagner was a composer in a class of his own. He was a man with an overweening ego and ambition but fortunately with ability to match. He wanted to combine music, drama, poetry into a composite art form. There is a certain grandeur in his music which is difficult to miss. And in Parsival, his 14th "opera", he had ample room to fulfill this ambition. It's about how the spear with which Christ was said to be wounded on the Cross on First Friday was stolen by the magician Klingsor from Amfortas, the leader of the Knights of the Holy Grail (the Chalice used by Christ at the last supper) guarding it in a Spanish castle and how he used it to wound the latter and how a young man raised in the forest Parsifal decided to retrieve it and return it to Amfortas so that he might be healed. In both cases, it involved a temptress Kundry: whilst Amfortas succumbed, Parsifal was able to resist and in the end, Klingsor was annihilated. There are thus themes of temptation, sin and redemption which are all prefigured by in the Prelude to Act 1 of the opera. And in the third Act, Parfisal finally found the Knights after a number of years on Good Friday, was baptized and then made head of the congregation there after he healed their leader. Thus there are themes of glory and joy in that act, called Good Friday Music. We heard a version of this last Saturday by the HKPO under the guest baton of the German conductor Constantin Trinks, who had conducted the entire series of Wagner's opera. The opening bars by the strings are supposed to portray the dawn in the forest where Parsifal lives. This constantly repeated Parsival motif is followed by the brass theme announcing the solemnity of the Holy Communion and the sanctity of the Holy Grail, evident in the very slow and steady rhythm of the music which ends very softly as the scene ends in some high notes which seems to trail into the infinity of the distant heavens.

2016年11月15日 星期二

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (比利·林恩的中場戰事)

War is always eye-catching. War means excitement for children, huge profits for  armament merchants, a chance to test newly developed weapons for military scientists, heartbreaking farewells for lovers, a chance to display its national might for the mega-nations out ostensibly for divers noble-sounding "just causes", a bid for honor and glory for young adults good at nothing except displays of barely provoked gang  violence, often sorrows for mothers. Is that all? This is what Lee Ang, three-time Academy award winning director, sets out to explore in Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk(2016) a film done with the latest 3-D technology (reality) ie. shot with 120 frame per second instead of the usual 24.

2016年11月13日 星期日

Tung Chung Battery & Market (東涌炮台及懷舊街市)

The clouds are white, the sky blue.

I heard there's are two historic sites in Tung Chung

 I walked past some flowers along the seafront on my way there

and was welcomed by some small red crackers

and some creepers

This tree seems to say, "Autumn is come"

But others seem oblivious

This pair of young lovers definitely want not to waste time.

I think I know why.

it's not often you get such lights

The sea was silver.

But this leaf knows that its time is come

But there are always late comers

My first destination>

 An ancient shell lime kiln producing lime ashes to be used for coating house walls at affordable prices for the locals

This is what remains of the famous battery at Fu Tei Wan, built by the Viceroy of Guangdong and Guangxi for fighting the British and other pirates in 1817.

It guards the entrance to Tung Chung

They may well have been there for more than a hundred years

Tiny flowers growing from the crevices of the stones forming the base of the Battery

The sea is calm: one sees nothing except cable cars.

A fern at the mouth of every drain

solar power works lamps

Still a few fishermen at the bay

a listless fisher at the end of the pier there

a break in the clouds

  lighting up the leaves in one of the makeshift gardens of the locals

without scant regard for the new and the old

whether they are creepers

are grown in pots

nets are too good to be wasted

some cactus flowers

and a cluster of glorybowers

and some huge beaumontia grandiflora (inverted bells) or Easter Lily vine flower or Trumpet flower

a local boy cleaning his boat

getting on to another boat

starting the engine

moving away

to the other boats moored there

reflections of the buildings nearby

waves work their magic

It's late afternoon

that doesn't stop the sun's luminosity at all

But it does create shadows

Time to for stocking up food for the week

 or an afternoon snack

A rickshaw outside the old-timer's market

old prices: make one really nostalgic!

No cheating of children or old folks

Efforts are made to replicate the feel of the market in the 1950s or early 1960s

One of my favourite snacks on Sunday mornings: white sugar rice cake

salt fried peanuts

Malaysian pomegrantes

a rice pudding with red beans sweetened in brown sugar, popularly known as "bowl pudding", a snack which has nearly completely disappeared. I used to buy them from  an old Hakka lady making her round of our street when I was 5 or 6.

old street posters for a traditional Chinese herbalist pill

old electric light switches

The name of a street close to where I used to live as a kid

Another famous clock maker shop in those days

shell fish

sluice gate raised hairy crabs

offerings to be burnt for ancestors

apples, persimons and mangos

finger grapes from Australia: seedless and really sweet

meatball galore

An exit to the toilet

Japanese style barber

A Chinese bone setter shop. This market in Tung Chung is the only old-timer markets in the whole of Hong Kong, well worth a visit.