9.22.2016

吹水



網台城寨有個節目,叫怒漢推古,在粵語網台界好像是唯一的古典音樂節目。

古典樂迷聚在一起吹水,離不開幾種。

有些專講古典樂界的明星是非、大師軼事,阿邊個件衫好低好透視身材好勁,阿邊個又離婚等等。

有些專聽一個世紀前的錄音,如擁有Furtwangler貝九十個不同的翻錄版本但其實是同一個錄音,講得頭頭是道,順便踩踩當今世上無大師云云。

以上兩種過口癮還好,營養就差了一點。可惜那個網台節目只是這種程度。

討論演奏技巧的,很多時只能意會不能言傳,無琴在手就無得傾,網台更做不到。

音樂會或錄音評論,需要深厚根基旁徵博引,不然就成了「食雞有雞味」式評論,又或是祭出一堆宗教名詞如「靈氣」、「精神」,和「陳蕾士的琴箏」式的虛無飄渺的形容詞。

我就最喜歡聽樂曲本身的討論,作曲家如何鋪墊,如何埋藏旋律,發掘不同類型作品背後的心思等等。這些東西言之有物,一切盡在樂譜裡,不會太天馬行空,有實實在在增長知識的滿足感。

不過我都聽過好誇的討論,例如隻隻莫扎特鋼琴協奏曲都影響後世深遠,開拓浪漫主義云云,我只好笑而不語。

9.22.2015

Chef Mak's Prime Rib




1. how to pick the rib
  • get bone-in for better flavor. boneless lacks that extra juice 
  • get the best you are willing to afford
  • pick nice color and well distributed marble 
  • one rib is about 2 pounds and can feed 2 generously. for this time I got 3 ribs, 6 lbs total, good for 6. 
  • dont be afraid to ask the butcher what choices they have. they are willing to bring it out from the fridge. usually you can pick how many ribs to cut and which side you like. the smaller side is juicier with more fat, the larger side has more meat. ask butcher to show you both sides and pick your choice. this time I picked the smaller side thus 6 lbs. last time i picked larger side and was 7 lbs
  • ask the butcher to separate the bone and tie it together for you. see the pictures (this will save you time in cutting the rib when it is cooked)
2. how to prepare 
  • sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper generously. Garlic is optional - some people like to have minced garlic stuffed into the meat. I just spread it over. some recipes ask for more herbs to be put all over the sides too. this is for your personal preference. I find these to be less significant than real good beef. Leave it overnight.
3. how to cook
  • Bring the rib to room temperature hours before roasting. This will ensure even cooking.
  • Heat oven to 225F. Put the rib, bone-side down, on a stainless steel or cast iron pan. Remember you will use the pan to make the jus later so anything with handle is easier to use. Put the rib into the oven and cook for at least 2 hours, depending on your rib size.
  • Check interior temperature every 15 minutes after 1.5 hours. For medium rare, take it out at 120F.
  • Let the rib sit outside of oven for a while. In the meantime heat up the oven to 500F for the final roast.
  • Before serving, put the rib back into the oven and sear for 5 minutes at 500F to produce the flavorful, burnt crust.
4. how to prepare the jus
  • Leave the rib on the cutting board. Remove most of the fat in the pan but leave a bit. Pour 1 cup of red wine into the pan. Scrap up all the brown bits to be cooked together with the wine. Let it cook and reduce for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Voila! Made with Heartbrand Akaushi Beef.


References:
http://www.seriouseats.com/2009/12/the-food-lab-how-to-cook-roast-a-perfect-prime-rib.html

12.10.2014

I am going to hear the UC Symphony this Saturday evening. It's time to study the Lutosławski Symphony No.4 on youtube...

(Photo from UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra)

10.31.2014

Costume party at the UC Symphony!

10.27.2014


10.26.2014 Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, CA
Schubert: The Last Piano Sonatas, D.958-960 / Richard Goode, pianist

累透了的星期日,我讓自己合上眼皮,捲曲身子,半夢半醒的聽音樂會。思緒在太多的事務中跳來跳去,久久不能集中,可能這迷離的狀態才最適合聽舒伯特?老人家Goode的舒伯特輕盈無比,天使般的旋律在層層和聲中,毫不費勁地穿透出來。三首奏鳴曲的最後樂章翩翩起舞,在不強求對比和深度的彈奏裡,散發著出世的愉悅。

(Photo: Steve Riskind)

10.04.2014

Supporting UC Berkeley Symphony.

 It must have been 2 or 3 years since I last attended a concert by the UC Symphony. These kids play with passion, and their smiling and nodding and glancing one another is so much fun to watch. The eruption of applause after Tchaikovsky 6's third movement was both "illiterate" and appropriate.

5.29.2014

滄桑的音樂。
Scriabin: 24 Preludes, Op. 11 / Mikhail Pletnev, piano

5.12.2014


Loneliness -
Insisting on making magnificent music even without companions.

[on hearing Tetzlaff's recital with Bach's complete Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin]

3.02.2014

馬勒第三


March 1, 2014

Women of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus
San Francisco Girls Chorus
San Francisco Symphony
Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano
Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor

Mahler: Symphony No. 3

San Francisco Symphony 與 Michael Tilson Thomas 演奏馬勒第三,探究大自然和人的關係,生機盎然,彷如置身歐洲之田園。

11.25.2013

Shai Wosner 的舒伯特


November 24, 2013 - 3pm - Hertz Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA
Shai Wosner, piano

Schubert: 3 Piano Pieces, D.946
Widmann: Idyll and Abyss: Six Schubert Reminiscences (2009)
Schubert: Sonata in A major, D.664
Schubert: Sonata in B-flat major, D.960

Encore: Schubert: Hungarian Melody, D.817

聽一線明星以外的音樂家演奏,可以逼耳朵去除既有的印象成見,考考自己接受驚喜的程度。從未聽過 Shai Wosner 這位鋼琴家,但加州大學 Cal Performances 邀請他演奏全舒伯特曲目,想必有驚異之處,我這位舒伯特迷沒理由不聽。

甫出手的 D.946 已可窺見他乾淨俐落的手法,雄壯而快速,大刀闊斧地展開樂章。這更常見於貝多芬的作品,強調結構和對比,而我聽開的 Lupu 、Brendel 、Perahia 等前輩都刻意突顯舒伯特模糊的調性,和細緻纖幼的旋律。不過 Wosner 的手法就反映舒伯特和貝多芬的「師徒」連繫,舒伯特筆下的結構和對比亦更明顯。第二首 E-flat 大調的簡單旋律,Wosner 就真的很直接、天真的彈出來,沒有刻意在轉調的地方沉溺。

中間 Jörg Widmann 的現代作品捕捉了舒伯特音樂世界的精髓,第一首 "Unreal, as if from afar" 左手跟隨傳統的基本和弦,配上高音的不協調音;第三首 "like a lullaby" 很有嬰兒床上玩具的感覺;第六首 "Mournful, desolate" 引用了 D.960 ,在絕望中有天真。

隨後的兩首奏鳴曲都沿用同一雄壯的手法,難得是 Wosner 在大樂章裏更加着重結構性,音量強弱的處理恰當,那些 p / pp 音量但快速滑行的音符(可説是舒伯特的簽名!)效果非常好。只是我聽開 Brendel 和 Lupu 處理的舒伯特有很強療傷的味道,Wosner 的舒伯特少了療傷多了理性内歛的火花,也是一種驚喜。

Wosner 剛開始錄製舒伯特奏鳴曲,預計數年内錄完,舒迷可以留意。

11.24.2013

蕭邦夜曲/鄧泰山 (Dang Thai Son)



蕭邦夜曲/鄧泰山 (Dang Thai Son)
 
無甚感覺。造句、聲音都很美妙,但聽過數遍也未能集中精神。問題是我不慣這鋼琴特別的聲音,還是演奏的結構鬆散

10.29.2013

Yuja Wang - Rachmaninov, Prokofiev


Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 3
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 2
Yuja Wang / Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela / Gustavo Dudamel

Passionate, as expected from Yuja and Dudamel. Reminds me of Argerich, but Argerich is passionate + spontaneous + a lot more convincing + moving. This is solid performance, but shy of impressive. Dudamel and his young orchestra has nothing much to show until the last climax in the 3rd movement, where their signature energy bursts out - a highlight of the performance. Sound Engineer A must have something to say about the recording - why is the sound so thin?

10.16.2013

Yuja + Schiff


 
A food analogy: If Yuja Wang's recital last night was a dazzling display of flavors and visual excitement, the 60-year-old Andras Schiff's music is the perfect slow-cooked comfort food - rich and nutritious.

Some music just needs a certain amount of time for it to ripen.

Oct 6, 2013 - Andras Schiff recital
J.S. Bach - Six Partitas
Encore: Two-Part Invention in C major

Oct 13, 2013 - Andras Schiff recital
J.S. Bach - Goldberg Variations
Beethoven - Diabelli Variations
Encore: Last movement from Beethoven's Sonata in C, Op. 111

10.15.2013

Yuja Wang's recital @ SF

Yuja plays like a real virtuoso from the golden age of pianists. Brava!

Yuja Wang 王羽佳's piano recital:


Prokofiev Sonata #3
Chopin Sonata #3
Kasputin Variations
Chopin Nocturne op.48/1, Ballade #3
Stravinsky Petrushka
Encores: Arrangements of Art Tatum's "Tea for Two", Bizet's Carmen, Rachmaninov's Vocalise


 Signature 90 degree bow from Yuja.

9.09.2013

Zhu Xiao-Mei - Bach, WTC II

Zhu Xiao-Mei (朱曉玫) - J.S. Bach, Well Tempered Clavier Book II

A prodigy raised in China but then banned from playing piano during the Cultural Revolution, then migrated to Paris, continued her study, and became a professor at the Conservatoire de Paris, Zhu is not an international superstar nor a recording icon. Yet, she receives high praise from the inner circle and her recitals are always sold out. It sparked my curiosity to find out more about her.

I had high expectations for this CD - a pianist can't hide anything behind WTC, and Book II is my favorite "bible book" - and I am not disappointed! Amazing colors are hard to find in Bach, but Zhu does it so well, AND with such moving motion and energy! This can't replace Richter or Schiff, and you can pick out technical details (trills, tempo, consistency, etc.) that could be improved. But who can resist a story teller that draws you into the music so well? This will definitely stay in my daily bread collection for quite a while.


8.14.2013

Beethoven Quartets

Been repeatedly listening to Beethoven's string quartets lately, and it's really tough to choose between the 4 recordings I have (Vegh, Guarneri, Takacs, Emerson):

individual talent is exciting,
but team work is satisfying;
a gutsy tone keeps you on the edge of your seat,
but a nice intonation puts you to sleep in relaxation;
modern digital recording is crisp and clear,
but the old-world sound is warm and comforting...

I can see parallels between string quartets and marriages!


7.26.2013

Movie: A Late Quartet

Revolving around the final performance of Beethoven’s String Quartet Op.131, the quartet members face their own desires and problems in playing music, in love and marriages, and in "life as a mess." The musical part is convincing – It irritates me that I’m missing out a lot as a pianist. The dramatic part not so much. I wish the conflicts and the mess-ups can be portrayed more coherently.

6.12.2013

Fidelity

"Fidelity is like a phoenix: Everyone talks about it, but no one has ever seen one."
- Cosi fan tutte

1.30.2013

粵曲

點解印象中粵曲咁難聽?

1. 家中長輩學藝不精,響屋企唱得太差;
2. 舊錄音單聲道,沙沙聲;
3. 無啦啦一段折子戲,唔知頭唔知路;又聽唔明歌詞。

睇整場《帝女花》live之後發覺:

1. 勁嘅人係唱得勁好多!
2. 現場音樂清澈、立體。劇情推進時氣勢磅礡(<香劫>、<上表>),轉眼間又可柔情似水(<庵遇>、<香夭>)。
3. 旁邊有打歌詞,即刻明晒!故事引人入勝,處處用典。<庵遇>一幕,男女主角用情真摯,音樂細膩感人,真與 La Boheme 第一幕有異曲同工之妙。

3.10.2012

再談席夫 (András Schiff)

András Schiff (Photo: Sheila Rock)

這數年間,席夫 (András Schiff) 在三藩市灣區演出的次數不少,實是我等樂迷之福。繼兩季共八場貝多芬奏鳴曲全集後,來年 2012-13 季度,席夫會與三藩市交響樂團合作 "Project San Francisco",指揮及彈奏巴哈兩首協奏曲,還有四場獨奏巴哈《平均律》兩冊全集、法國組曲及英國組曲!真是荷包大出血。

二月廿九日席夫在柏克萊的獨奏會,演奏巴哈《三部創意曲》 (Three-part Inventions)、巴托克《奏鳴曲》與貝多芬《狄亞貝里變奏曲》 (Diabelli Variations)。巴哈是一貫神乎其技的無踏板,貝多芬與之前的奏鳴曲演繹一脈相連,最有趣的是巴托克的《奏鳴曲》。(勾起了高中好友的回憶;還有那恐怖經歷...)席夫在敲擊聲中保持旋律的優美和層次的鮮明,雖然缺了點刺激,但巴托克所引用的匈牙利民謠立體地浮現。尤其是慢板的旋律塑造得美不勝收,可以想像用「美不勝收」來形容巴托克嗎?

推薦兩張唱片:

BACH: Six Partitas / Schiff / ECM
巴哈 《德國組曲》:全新演奏會現場錄音!把我之前喜歡的 Perahia 版掃在一邊...

BARTOK: Piano Concertos / Schiff, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Fischer / Warner Classics
巴托克:《鋼琴協奏曲》:少有的席夫+巴托克錄音,可聽出之前提及的演繹方式

1.20.2011

三藩市 Fort Point 人像

在金門橋底的 Fort Point 曾是軍事用地,鎮守美國西邊的入口金門。此處很有歷史特色,可惜今次準備不足,未能好好利用。



8.21.2010

優山美地



早前去了優山美地國家公園。雖然說是加州的後花園,但這才是我的頭一趟。

來回九小時的駕車很累,還有稀薄的空氣和無數的遊人令我累上加累。但能夠在山頂捕捉日落的彩虹和魔光,甚麼都值得。

下次回來,會是冬天雪景!

5.26.2010

5.10.2010

恭喜晒!

週六下午拍了差不多八百張相片,走了兩轉。兩輯相片都是新嘗試,難得大家不嫌棄讓我玩個夠。

畢業那一輯的挑戰是極晴朗的天氣,縮小光圈就對了。成班細路自己玩,根本不用我指導姿勢,省了不少氣力。情侶那一輯則考考我如何讓兩位自然地表現幸福。

嘗試了很多技巧,又聽到很多的笑聲。好玩的地方就是與人不斷地溝通,用甚麼鏡頭已不是最重要。

能把那一剎的情感永遠留下,不就是攝影的功能嗎?

巴赫:布蘭登堡協奏曲
The English Concert / Trevor Pinnock

一路執相一路聽歌。:-D

5.05.2010

維記秘密

自從妹妹用了我的地址購買維記秘密,我每個月都會收到一本刺激消費意欲的相冊,裡面有眾多體態撩人的年輕女孩,穿著各樣的比堅尼、胸圍、睡衣、碎花裙和時裝等等。

因為我家只有兩個男人,我只好尷尬地向室友解釋:「這是給我妹妹的。」 ^____^|||

但是,從攝影的角度看,這些照片是專業人像和時裝攝影的最高典範!細心研究這些照片,可以看到攝影師細膩的運用自然光,和如何考慮打燈和構圖的角度。還有,這些頂級模特兒都懂得如何展現最美的線條和表情,是學習身體關節的好材料。

所以,現在我的車尾箱常備兩本,以供攝影師和模特兒不時之需!

4.05.2010

錯失

今天錯失了起碼五張照片。

早晨的太陽穿透葉子,背著光線的樹木更顯青翠,淺藍的天空是絕妙的襯色。

車在八十公路上飛馳。一看右面的景象,不得了:金門橋的這邊灰濛一片,雨下個不停,另一邊是藍天白雲,陽光映照著春天青綠的山坡。那雲霧的氣勢,可遇不可求。

雨後的空氣特別清晰,黃昏時段顏色對比最鮮明。就在教會的大門,看著斜陽金光閃閃,眼睜睜讓兩張照片溜走。

沒有相機隨身,覬覦廣角鏡又有何益?

3.10.2010

3.02.2010

學飛

從前,我們學飛,
媽媽教我們,用這個或那個的姿勢,
會飛得更高更遠,去哪裡都可以。

於是,我們努力,
學盡了這個或那個的姿勢,
心想,起飛後,要飛得很高很遠。

現在,我們在飛,
才發現無論甚麼姿勢,
風都會把我們吹到不知所蹤。

2.28.2010

反轉教會系列--神學

主日學老師說:「最近我上課,教授問有哪些同學不相信世界是七天造成的,竟然有大部份同學舉手!」他的意思是,連神學生也被科學思想影響,不接受《聖經》的絕對權威,言下顯出他很震驚。

聽到主日學老師這樣說,我也很震驚--震驚他竟然不大了解各家對創造論的詮釋!

老師正在附近一家有名的神學院攻讀學位課程。這所西人神學院精於學術研究,要求嚴謹,常聽見老師說每星期要讀數本書籍來準備功課。有了這種廣泛閱讀的基礎,神學生要消化各家各派對聖經章節不同甚至相反的詮釋。與其說目的是從中建立一套「自己的神學」,不如說更重要的是建立的過程--了解、分析、論證、反駁。預先設定的神學立場,就算你是多麼的深信,或是你的教會多麼的堅持,到了神學院恐怕都會被拆骨。神學教授所寫的《一場神學教育的悲劇》說明了這個道理:

倘若神學生讀神學是要找尋一個符合內心宗教須要的答案的,就請三思;倘若神學生沒有預備讀神學是須要學習挑戰批判一己的信仰觀點的,就請三思。

主日學老師絕對是優秀的神學生。因為就在不久之前,主日學討論耶穌五餅二魚餵飽五千人的神蹟時,提到有人解讀為「民眾只是收藏好自己的食物,後來不好意思才拿出來,所以神蹟本身沒有發生」,老師非但沒有像一般華人教會主日學指其為「無稽之談」、「解經者不了解神的大能」或是「信心不足」云云,反而指出這個神蹟的意義不在於神蹟的真確性,所以這種解讀也無不可。

有了這個先例,我才這樣震驚老師對創造的了解--可以接受五餅二魚不是狹義的神蹟,卻堅持世界的創造一定是狹義的神蹟!

x x x

上面提到的文章裡有讀者留言:

未讀神學前曾這樣想:「返左教會十幾年,呢篇道我都講到。」
讀神學中:「我以為自己熟聖經,點知大把人仲熟過我。」
快畢業:「我不知道讀過甚麼,我甚麼也不懂,我甚麼也不能肯定......你不要再問我......」

我只是非正式地讀了一課(正是「基督與創造論」!),已有「我甚麼也不懂」的體會。

2.23.2010

反轉教會系列--WWJD?(二)

教會裡有老人家要受浸。奈何浸池暖水系統不濟,水都是冷冰冰的,年青的還可捱著,身子弱的老人家可受不了,更可況有一位臥病在床!

牧師提出用灑水禮代替,有人率先反對,說:「我們浸信會堅持全身浸在水裡的!」

牧師回應說:「對這些老人家來說,這是可行的嗎?弄病了誰負責?還是你認為不如不浸?」

x x x

教會地方淺窄,台上更逼狹,領詩的同工決定台上留空位放置樂器,同時因電線容易絆倒老人家,安排詩班坐在台下。

有同工知道後氣急敗壞的說:「台下已經不夠座位了,詩班一定要坐台上!」

詩班出入時如果被電線絆倒,誰負責?是會眾的舒適重要,還是老人家的安全重要?

x x x

那時,有法利賽人和文士從耶路撒冷來見耶穌,說:“你的門徒為甚麼犯古人的遺傳呢?因為吃飯的時候,他們不洗手。” (太15:1-2)


弄錯事情的重要性,不只是耶穌時代的法利賽人和文士才會犯的錯誤。