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Some music, and a healthy alternative to a late night pizza dinner�

  • A. R. Rahman has composed score for a Chinese movie! From the looks of it, the movie, Warriors of Heaven and Earth, has the makings of another Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, though a colleague, who watched it in Shanghai, didn�t find it impressive. Perhaps its one of those films that fare poorly locally, but end up appealing to the audiences worldwide (not to mention the Oscars they collect under the foreign movie panorama) As for the music, which is perhaps the only reason I bothered to mention the movie, is brilliant (at least whatever little the site has to offer). Do check-out the video for a visual and acoustic treat� Another CD gets added to my most sought after list.

  • I had chanced upon a rare Beethoven website - UnheardBeethoven.org just a few days ago. It�s a compendium of Beethoven works that are performed rarely, and unlike his symphonies and piano concertos, have little commercial availability. I had picked one of the works mentioned here at Amsterdam airport recently (Op. 40, rearrangement of his serenade for flute, violin and viola; for flute and piano), without knowing that it�s a rare piece. Another work which had eluded so far was Op. 104; which again, happens to be a rearrangement of one of his earlier works (Op. 1, Piano Trio No. 3). Found it just 2 days back at Amazon. The work features prominently in Vikram Seth�s An Equal Music and apparently in US, the book comes with two companion CDs containing pieces of classical music mentioned in the book. That settles another one of the rare, unheard pieces. (Thanks Vineeth for picking these up for me!). There is a merit to be sought in Beethoven�s own rearrangements of his previous works. The skill with which he takes two string instruments out of a score and replaces them with a piano (Op. 25 � Op. 40) or takes the piano out and introduces three string instruments (Op 1, No.3 � Op 104) leaves me marveling at the genius he was. Found Op. 130 and Op. 133 � the only two missing pieces from my Beethoven string-quartet collection � at Amazon as well. I�ve also spotted Beethoven�s Piano Concert No.1 as part of a box-set at the local store, and though it will be a terrible waste for me (I own concertos 2-5), I guess I�ll pick it � its Beethoven after all ;-).

  • Been listening heavily to Schubert�s Trout Quintet these days. It has gradually grown on me and is a lively, cheerful piece. For the first time I had picked a western classical CD not because it featured a composer that I was particularly fond of, nor because it had a piece that would interest me, but because the work was being performed by musicians that I really enjoy listening to � The Cleveland Quartet. The piece is also slightly unusual in its choice of musical instruments � never before, have I heard, a chamber work featuring Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass and Piano. The other piece I am hooked on to is Brahm�s Op. 25 � a Piano Quartet. It is a total contrast to Schubert�s Piano Quintet, slightly stark at that (you would expect that from a G Minor composition). In fact the string instruments have more of a collective identity than individual one. The �conversations� usually take place between the chorus of string ensemble and the Piano, the string instruments talk very little amongst themselves (or the exchanges are not very pronounced) � quite different from any of Beethoven�s string quartets (the second movement of Beethoven�s first Razumovsky quartet is an excellent example of what I mean by �conversation�).

  • If you are having a late night at work and are not particularly sure if you want to gorge yourself with a cold cheese laden pizza, then bear those hunger pangs for a little longer, head to the nearest Barista and pamper yourself to a Dark Hot-chocolate and cinnamon cookies (or the recently introduced wild-berry cookies); not only is this combo filling and delicious, it will also result in a deep, placid sleep (as I found out yesterday).

posted: 4.12.03

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