Monday, May 25, 2009

Nikon D5000


Finally, I bought the long-waited digital SLR camera: The newly released Nikon D5000. In fact, I had been thinking of D90 for over a year and could not conclude because its body was too large for me to hold. More compact D5000 eliminated the problem and besides just as Sony it comes with vari-angle LCD viewer to my satisfaction! The companion lens I chose is 16-85mm zoom. My first shot is the vase in the room.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Why does Japanese love the flu mask? – 日本人のマスク愛用癖

I saw more and more people wear flu masks last few days in Japan, which is a unique landscape in the winter under the normal condition, but now the reflection of their instinctive thought to stay away from the virus of swine flu. It may be interpreted as an action of Japanese faithfulness, or it reveals our paranoiac attitude for cleanliness. I myself feels that I’d better wear a mask when going out to the middle of town, but logically speaking it helps reducing the expansion when you’ve caught the virus but does very little to prevent yourself from catching it. The current social problem is that the masks do not reach those who essentially need them because of the fatal shortage.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Choir: Boys don’t sing – クワイア・ボーイズ


I saw a great program in series on TV last two days whether it is a real documentary or a partially arranged plot. It was from England, and regarding an effort of organizing a choir in Lancaster School with no music culture to end up singing at Royal Albert Hall.
Gareth Malone was such a brilliant professional to emotionally encourage the ordinary or sometimes difficult boys to sing in the team. They managed to sing Sting, B. E. King and even “Ombra mai fù”, and above all, seeing boys truly growth and their mothers being happy and proud at Royal Albert Hall were so heart-warming. This program has won BAFTA award.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

La Folle Journée Japon Day 2 – 続・熱狂の日

同じB7 会場でその前に朝9時半からのブランデンブルク協奏曲も聴いた。オーヴェルニュ室内管弦楽団ということで、フランス系のバッハと言うか、流麗に奏でたいのだが抑制が利かない感じ。僅か7名の第3番では通奏低音のサポートに入っていた二人の日本人が対称的にしっかりとリズムを刻む。第6番ではヴァイオリンの第2パートに入った日本人らしき女性の演奏にむしろ筋の良さを聴く。

On the second day of La Folle Journée, I listened to Bach’s Mass in G-minor BWV235 and Magnificat BWV243, and it was a rare performance that I would praise with no reserve. Ricercar Consort lead by Philippe Pierlot is the group based in Belgium and has been active for nearly 30 years. The players looked relatively young and their ensemble was admirably refreshing. Among the singers, Maria Keohane, soprano, was impressive with her beautiful, stress-free voice, and Carlos Mena, counter-tenor, did a good job, too. 3 trumpeters of period instruments looked uncertain at the very beginning of Magnificat. It is often said this instrument is very difficult to master.
In the same hall previously was Brandenburg Concertos played by Orchestre d’Auvergne. To me Bach by French often appears to be elegant but without proper control. Among 7 artists on the stage for No.3 Concerto, two in Continuo were supporting Japanese cellists who had progressively steady rhythms and articulations in good contrast. Another Japanese-like female player was equally reliable in violin.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

La Folle Journée – バッハが時空を超えて帰ってくる!


This morning, I listened to Fabio Biondi’s Vivaldi. For 3 days, I will be visiting Tokyo International Forum for La Folle Journée concerts. Europa Galante was very charmingly Italian completely understanding where to acupuncture for listeners. In this small ensemble of about a dozen players, solo parts of violin or cello definitely show up as stars, but among supporting staff brilliant was the viola player.
I often think that the original model of “tristesse allante” is in Vivaldi, and in parallel his music contains a specific mechanism of gallant appeals to the audience through its phrasing that may make Vivaldi such a fun to stage for musicians.
La Stravaganza was most impressive in today's program to me.