Date: 11th March, 2015

Music Review: Vienna Boys’ Choir’s “Amazing Grace”(2005)

vienna boys choir
The disc of “Amazing Grace”, and my ticket of the Choir concert last October


“The angelic vocals of the venerable Vienna Boys Choir can unite people of the most disparate countries, cultures and religions.” – Los Angeles Times

Those were the days when a number of future musicians in sailor uniform sang at the imperial court during the glorious era of Habsburg Empire.  Even up to now, their charm never fades with the passing of time.  This illustrious choir, with members selected by some of the greatest conductors, was established half a millennium ago, and now still captures the hearts of million fans worldwide.  This time, the Vienna Boys’ Choir released this interesting collection with fine melody lines, and sold it right after the live concert in Hong Kong last October.  Rows of boys’ sopranos and altos, along with light-hearting acoustics, inserted their youthful vigour and consistent vibrancy to this disc.

Each time the boys sailed smoothly in the musical world of a total of 14 traditional folk melodies.  The journey embarked on the title hymn Amazing Grace, with beautiful tin whistles in the grand opening.  The purity of choir rendition, to our delight, sweeps over our ears directly, in a bright, lively manner.  While the Japanese tune Sakura becomes the credit of the disc when its oriental tone surprisingly refreshes us with western percussions in harmony.  Typical of the songs on this CD also includes widely-heard Edelweiss, Auld Lang Syne and Greensleeves, featuring the boys’ crystal clear high voices.   And at last, let’s not forget Hevenu Shalom Aleichem. Though this Hebrew folk song is traditionally sung on the Sabbath, this upbeat version is equally tailored to a Jewish dance, and energizes us as if being in a joyous festival.

In general, it is an enticement to enjoy this impressive, and sometimes playful collection for more than half an hour.  Here, the boys presented their gifted singing calibre, the same earnest zest and solid command of the complex part of singing.  Pure, natural and sweet, their singing performance, even after listening for several times, still gladden us with sheer pleasure, as always.  To all the fans, this CD is one that will be a superb gift of entertainment, and also a treasure that should be added to your music library. ♦


Track Listings:

  1. Amazing Grace
  2. Edelweiss Aus ‘The Sound Of Music’
  3. Das Wandern Ist Des Mullers Lust
  4. Sakura
  5. Sur Le Pont D’Avignon
  6. Tiritomba
  7. Auld Lang Syne
  8. Wien, Wien Nur Du Allein
  9. Santa Lucia (Barcarole Aus Neapel)
  10. Kalinka
  11. Greensleeves (Elisabethanische Ballade)
  12. Im Prater Bluh’n Wieder Die Baume
  13. Hevenu Shalom Aleichem
  14. Muss I Denn Zum Stadtele Hinaus

Date: 18th Aug, 2015

Music Review: Andrea Bocelli’s “Passione” (2013)

from Wikipedia:

“If God would have a singing voice, he must sound a lot like Andrea Bocelli.” – Celine Dion

“When I hear Andrea sing, I burst into tears.” – Oprah Winfrey

What is better than being greeted by the tenor voice of Andrea Bocelli in this remaining summer, and loosening up with his collection of romantic songs from the Mediterranean to Latin America? Taking us from the classical genre to popular music, Andrea Bocelli once again shows off his seducing vocal, as expressive as usual.

Those were the pre-famed days when he was singing those album songs in piano bars, requested by people from all walks of life, across Italy. Recorded at his home in Tuscany in six languages, Bocelli’s smooth delivery became the highlight of this collection, standing out with such terrifying vigour and ardour. The track begins with Perfidia, featuring beseeing timbre of his voice and brilliant performance of lamentable feelings of betrayal. Tugging listeners’ heartstrings, his beautiful interpretation and genuine feeling just spices up other songs like Champagne, Anema e Core and Love in Portofino. While the accompany of guest artists such as Edith Piaf on La Vie en Rose in 1940s, Jennifer Lopez on Quizàs Quizàs Quizàs, and Nelly Furtado on Corcovado all set a groundwork to Bocelli’s beautiful interpretation. Let us not forget the arrangement endeavour of David Foster and the match of 63-piece orchestra. Such background varieties, with violins, guitars, flutes and saxophones and syrupy strings, are well-suited to Bocelli’s high-ranged vocals in lounge mode.

If you would also like to experience sweet sensation of romance and relieve yourself with charismatic power of Bocelli’s voice, do plunge into his musical world of a hot rush of love. Just feel his “Passion” from the heart, as this album title suggests. ♦

Quizas, Quizas, Quizas from this album:

Track Listings:

1. Perfidia
2. Roma Nun Fa La Stupida Stasera
3. Champagne
4. Anema E Core
5. Quizas, Quizas, Quizas (with Jennifer Lopez)
6. Era gia tutto previsto
7. Tristeza
8. La Vie en Rose (with Edith Piaf)
9. Corcovado (with Nelly Furtado )
10. Sara’ Settembre
11. Love In Portofino
12. Garota De Ipanema
13. Malafemmena
14. Love Me Tender

Image from Google and Wikipedia

Date: 29th March, 2015

Beethoven’s Spring Sonata (Allegro)

“Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm.” – John Muir

It is already a week after the beginning of the Equinox.  Spring is always a refreshing season after a chilly winter, showing vigorous signs of awakening and new life in the vicinity.  Welcoming the arrival of Spring, this playful music piece of Beethoven just serves as a foil to add zest to the surrounding atmosphere.  This duo of violin and piano, with skillful collaboration by high-caliber performers, has been a pair of wonderful match.  In contrast to other extremely dramatic compositions, this time Beethoven demonstrates his gifted mastery of inventiveness and sense of amuse.  Hopeful, energetic, light-heartening are more to describe the liveliness of this first movement of Spring Sonata.  Bursting with moments of humor and fun, let’s enjoy this wondrous music.  May this season also reassure you with the music of laughter, the warmth of friendship and love. ♦

Date: 15 Feb, 2015

Valentine’s Day with Prince of Romance

“He has arguably done more to popularise the piano around the world than anyone since Beethoven” – Comment from a German journalist

Concert ticket

Who says I should search for my Mr Right and romantically date someone during the Valentine’s Day?  Who says I need to be in an extravagantly-decorated restaurant, filled with bouquets of red roses, envelopes of love letters, and aroma of palatable food for candle supper?  Being a music fanatic, celebrating this special day with Richard Clayderman (also known as Philippe Pagès), who is the Prince of Romance from France, was certainly more worth-anticipating.

With backdrop of glittering rainbow-like spotlights and soft accompany by string orchestra, here came Richard Clayderman on stage, dexterously gliding through wide range of keys in a sophisticated manner, mastering own distinctive style of music to us.   “Ballade pour Adeline”, his vibrantly impressive debut for a recording company, was the turning point for his worldwide fame and outstanding thrive.  Created in an ABA form with continuous arpeggios, that ballade is just like poetic flow of kindness bathing over the bottom of my heart.  Sublime dynamics of chromatic and whole-tone chords, arpeggios, and steady usage of upper octave were all vividly manifested in a lively swing.  Wholeheartedly devoted, he kept injecting his enthusiasm in every note of dolce music pieces, tenderly tugging at our heartstrings and stirring up waves of rich sentiments.  With those radiant splendour of crescendos and decrescendos, articulation of legato and non-legato as well as several ornaments, his music is as if a body filled with colourful innermost soul.  Indulged in expressive elegant melodies and graceful romantic music, even when I closed my eyes, I could still feel his music ardour, deft fingering and brilliant piano skills.  His timeless masterpieces utterly did enrapture us with an unforgettable impression of relish and refresh.  No wonder he had been hailed as “the Prince of Romance” by Nancy Reagan.

Fine music is like a precious godsend shining with sheer emotions, mesmerising beauty and heart-warming feeling.  Music speaks beyond language, transcends geographical boundaries, and connects people from different nationalities and all walks of life.  Throughout these years, Richard Clayderman’s catchy yet enticing melodies of “Mariage D’Amour” and “A Comme Amour” have already stamped into our mind, bringing a house of thunderous applause in every live performance.  While brisk tempos of  “Souvenirs D’EnFance” and“Murmursjust tempt me to continue honing my piano mastery as best as I could.  Richard, thank you for your tireless affection, vigorous devotion and unremitting faith towards music.  Thank you for enriching and lifting our soul up along with graceful chords all the way.  Irreplaceable along with Chopin in piano field at my heart, you are surely the one who endowed with remarkable talent and illustrious capabilities.  Merci Prince of Romance, my most favourite pianist, J’aime votre musique.  I do adore you, and always will be. ♦

An album bought after the concert

© Variety as Life Spice 2015

Date: 30 Oct, 2014

Music: D.Shostakovich’s “The Second Waltz” by Andre Rieu

There are those who regarded classical music as merely high-class elites’ entertainment.  Others claimed that that type of music is not their cup of tea.  Acclaimed as the “Waltz King”, Andre Rieu the Dutch violinist, with the assistance by the members of his “Johann Strauss Orchestra”, is devoting his heart to bring that belief a leap of faith.  Multifarious variations of classical and waltz music, being the main themes of his global tour, could also be perceived as a dynamic vogue alongside pop, rock songs nowadays.  In this brilliant performance of “the Second Waltz, Op. 99”, flocks of audience are gathering in front of the gorgeous grand stage, together joining hands, meeting new acquaintances, dancing cheerfully according to the fast-paced rhythm.  This movie music of “The First Echelon”, after its creation over half a century, has finally been brought into shimmering limelight.  Needless to say, it was a huge success gladdened by such an exhilarating atmosphere.  Tremendous cheers rose up from a sea of flashing eyes and smiling faces, along with a thundering standing ovation to the “Waltz King”.  Who says classical waltz music merely elites’ entertainment?  Being a wonderful spice to transmit one’s assortment of marvel, let this light-hearting waltz rhythm go on and on. ♦

25th Sept, 2014

Chopin’s “Polonaise in A flat Major, Op. 53” by Vladimir Horowitz

Composed in 1842 by Frederic Chopin, Polonaise in A flat major Op. 53 known as “Heroic Polonaise”, has long been my favourite classic.  From colourful dynamics of piano to forte, with the emphasis of broken chords, grace notes and rapid arpeggios in an octave, this piece of aesthetic music is pondering and glistening in all its transcending beauty.

Acclaimed as the virtuoso “piano poet” with eternal influence, not only did Chopin compose Polonaises, but also Mazurkas, Nocturnes, Waltzes and many others.  His music is especially featured with elegant accumulation of expressive “cantabile” playing style and extensive chromatic scales, thereby making him to become one of the greatest composers during the Romantic Era.  It is conceivable that myriads of his admirers, myself included, have utterly been mesmerized by his high calibre and undoubtedly ranked him at the top of the composer’s list.   His endowed brilliance is definitely beyond words to describe.

Even nowadays Chopin’s eternal influence and spirits are still stamped on our hearts after centuries.  His timeless masterpieces have been hit million times in Youtube; all advanced piano learners are required to study some of them and each of his music are marvellous relishes in the concert hall.  Nevertheless, the most impressive one that tugs my heartstrings is the live performance by a 84 year-old legendary pianist Vladimir Horowitz during year 1987.  Irrespective of the requiring strenuous proficiency and his old age, it is worth-applauding that Horowitz was still processing his unremitting enthusiasm to perform this grand lyrical piece, along with his fingers dancing in unlimited dexterity on the keyboard. ♦

Date: 24th Aug, 2014

Music: Beyond’s “Boundless Oceans Vast Skies”(海闊天空) 

Speaking of Hong Kong most flourishing band, without any doubt, it is certainly our illustrious “Beyond” band.  Speaking of their band, their most tremendous thriving song, needless to say, is definitely “Boundless Oceans Vast Skies”.  This representative song is being repeated again and again, no matter in karaoke rooms or in Youtube, by hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers.  Performed in multitudes of massive philanthropy events, it is one of the mainstream Cantonese pop songs that has taken the lead to ingrain into our daily lives.  In spite of the celebration of their 10-year founding anniversary in 1993, the band members were facing a spate of barriers in their musical development in Japan.  The strong-beat of rock and roll rhythm, the determined Chinese lyrics and the lead singer Ka Kui’s vigorous loud voice entirely reflected their perplexities, as well as their vicarious will to be internationally famed one day.

Undeniably, nobody is always in the dazzling spotlights of perfect moments, and we don’t always flow along the current of own desires.  Over the years everyone of you may have been taking great pains to chase  boundless dream over the years, but sometimes it is inevitable for us to slip by sharp fences of sour adversities or being thrown cold water by the others.  We then fear to fall and get hurt, feel lamented of the cold shoulders from the others.  However, every time when I listen to this widely-hit song with pure reassure, those influential words remind me to let bygones be bygones, and to convert those bulky pressure into energetic motion.  Let our strong tide of hope and goals wash over away our hesitations, and fuel us up with tenacious strength.  In the face of a brand new challenge soon, here I am, still holding my head up, and decisively walking along my own path.  Thank you Beyond for creating such an encouraging song against any odd! ♦

“I have faced the chilliness of rebuffs and sneers at many times, but never have I given up the hopes and ideals in my heart.”

“I am still independently free.  I will be always proudly singing my song and travelling thousands of miles.” – Beyond

Original Chinese lyrics:

今天我 寒夜裡看雪飄過

多少次 迎著冷眼與嘲笑

背棄了理想 誰人都可以


背棄了理想 誰人都可以

背棄了理想 誰人都可以

背棄了理想 誰人都可以

Date: 20th July 2014

Music: “For the Beauty of the Earth”(Choir) by John Rutter

Listening to this tuneful, refreshing Christian hymn triggers a flashback to my days of weekly practice in the Choir long ago.  The vigorous passion, the unite consolidation that we shared and shined during our performances in Disneyland and Joint-School concerts.  Though reticent people considered me at that time, they were fascinated by my godsend singing talent whenever I started to sing the Soprano part.  A round of thunderous applause, audiences’ sincere admiration have fueled our confidence and motivation to hone our skills.  Even up to now, despite having quitted the Choir unwillingly due to my hectic studies,  my enthusiasm towards singing has never been chilled from first to last.  I swear to myself from within my heart, I will certainly make a comeback in a nearer future, and perform this Christian hymn once again under the glistening stage’s spotlight.

Feeling a sense of serenity and comfortable calmness, this piece of light-hearting Choir song has become one of my favourites.  Lying on the emerald lawns, listening to the harmonic symphony of the wide nature sound and flowing waters, watching butterflies flying overhead, blossoming daises and bushes swaying in the gentle breeze.  What a rich fortune to be alive and appreciate all those excellence with a huge capacity of goodness.  What’s more, nothing can be more precious than being surrounded by my love and beloved ones.  With all my hearty thoughts, they have been standing by my side and are whom I can turn to.  But for their irreplaceable presence and tireless support, my days wouldn’t have been so colourfuly enriched with a dazzling array of glee and cheer. All in all, the below praising lyrics fully express my hearty thoughts for all these endowed moments. ♦


1. For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies;
over and around us lies:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise.

2. For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale,
and tree and flower,
Sun and moon and stars of light:
Sun and moon and stars of light:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise.

3. For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth,
and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise.

4. For each perfect gift of thine
To our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
Flow’rs of earth and buds of heav’n:
flow’rs of earth and buds of heav’n:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise,
our hymn of praise

Date: 22nd June 2014

Music: “La Campanella” – by Niccolo Paganini

“La Campanella”, also known as the third movement of “Violin Concerto No.2 in B minor, Op.7”, was composed by an Italian violinist Niccolo Paganini in 1826.  In this energetic “Rondo a la clochette”, what stand out are probably its intriguing individualistic melody and special scratching sounds in between.  What’s more, the unprecedented bell-like ranging sounds of solo and orchestral variations are vividly powering all their beauty, and fully interweaving the dynamic harmony and fast-paced rhythm into one another.

Though technically-demanding this piece of music requires, beyond doubt, this is the most captivating tune I have ever enjoyed with accompany of different instruments, and still lingering me with fresh springs of sheer delight. ♦

Date: 31st May 2014

Music: “Thank you for the Music” – by ABBA

ABBA, a renowned Swedish band in 1980s, has just vigorously performed such an impressing, magnetic song for us.  Expressing their firing enthusiasm towards Music, how gifted ABBA members are with their pure, angelic singing voices.  I hold firm to my belief that common ground does exist in every person’s sense of hearing, and music fully acts as a marvellous confidant for us to express our delight and distress, to raise people up and heal their souls.

Without this leisurely enjoyment to add zest to my days, how could I ever spend my spare time to the fullest?  How could I continue regarding music as a diary to record my innermost, complex feelings at ease through singing aloud and playing the piano?  So, surrounded by those fine notes and appealing songs, from the bottom of my heart, here I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Music, for bringing so much joy to me all the way. ♦


Im nothing special, in fact Im a bit of a bore
If I tell a joke, youve probably heard it before
But I have a talent, a wonderful thing
cause everyone listens when I start to sing
Im so grateful and proud
All I want is to sing it out loud

So I say
Thank you for the music, the songs Im singing
Thanks for all the joy theyre bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be? 
Without a song or a dance what are we? 
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me

Mother says I was a dancer before I could walk
She says I began to sing long before I could talk
And Ive often wondered, how did it all start? 
Who found out that nothing can capture a heart
Like a melody can? 
Well, whoever it was, Im a fan

So I say
Thank you for the music, the songs Im singing
Thanks for all the joy theyre bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be? 
Without a song or a dance what are we? 
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me

Ive been so lucky, I am the girl with golden hair
I wanna sing it out to everybody
What a joy, what a life, what a chance!

So I say
Thank you for the music, the songs Im singing
Thanks for all the joy theyre bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be? 
Without a song or a dance what are we? 
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s