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  • LIFESTYLE

    Modernist links to the past

    Life, Ung-Aang Talay, Published on 26/03/2013

    » A blitz of concert performances and some highly-publicised new recordings of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring are currently appearing to remind listeners that a century has passed since the work's notoriously riotous 1913 premiere. But when the 100th anniversary of that other cornerstone of musical modernism, Schoenberg's Pierrot lunaire, arrived last year, there was not nearly as much as a fuss. The reason is that, while The Rite has long since taken its place in the standard repertoire, Schoenberg's musical "melodrama" has lost none of its uncomfortable strangeness since its first performance in 1912, and like much of the composer's work, its appearance on a concert programme is enough to ensure that much of the usual crowd won't show up.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Rediscovering forgotten variations

    Life, Ung-Aang Talay, Published on 29/01/2013

    » Today, a miscellany of audio and video discs and downloads that have come my way recently and that may interest listeners who have not already found them.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Highly strung

    Life, Ung-Aang Talay, Published on 15/01/2013

    » Maybe a whole repertoire exists for an ensemble of four guitars, but before this disc came my way I had never heard any modern music with this scoring.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Feeding the 5,000

    Life, Ung-Aang Talay, Published on 25/01/2013

    » There are certain restaurants where the point of the dining experience has less to do with satisfying food than with the overall experience that the establishment delivers. At one end of the spectrum for this kind of place are the "molecular cooking" dining rooms like the late, lamented El Bulli in Spain or, locally, our own Sra Bua where, for a considerable price, one can have the pleasure of conversing with table companions through clouds of vapourising liquid nitrogen while sampling surreal culinary creations, served in dainty portions, in which exquisiteness stands in for more substantial virtues.

  • LIFESTYLE

    The unity of contrasts

    Life, Ung-Aang Talay, Published on 25/12/2012

    » Decca takes a chance issuing a programme like this, which features a cellist whose name will be new to many listeners playing two concertos in radically different styles.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Arather mixed bag

    Life, Ung-Aang Talay, Published on 30/11/2012

    » A food-alert friend of Ung-aang Talay's recently recommended a restaurant in the Silom area, mentioning that it was related to the Sukhumvit-based Baan Khanitha, whose kitchen has been attracting loyal customers for many years with excellent curries and nam prik dishes, and with its signature multi-coloured rice. As a regular at Baan Khanitha back in its early days on Sukhumvit Soi 11, U-a T's curiosity was aroused, and a group supper planned for last week seemed like a good opportunity to give the place a try.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Sonic declarations of independence

    Life, Ung-Aang Talay, Published on 11/12/2012

    » Maverick artists _ those who stake out creative territory completely their own and cultivate it in uniquely personal ways _ have been prominent in American culture and have given the country much of its greatest art. Fiction, painting and film all offer remarkable examples of maverick art, but it is probably in music that the tradition is at its peak.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Lowdown on downloads

    Life, Ung-Aang Talay, Published on 30/10/2012

    » Today, a list of small items and updates. First, Alan Gilbert's recordings with the New York Philharmonic of Nielsen's Second and Third symphonies for the Ondine label, discussed recently in this column and arguably the finest since Bernstein's 1960s version, have now been made available for downloading by the eclassical.com website as 24bit/192kHZ FLAC files. At 2.4GB the programme is a hefty download, but as you listen, every one of those bytes seems to be audible in a form of recorded sound that approaches the ideal. You hear everything, but without any hint of the chilly digital X-ray effect.

  • LIFESTYLE

    She's got rhythm

    Life, Ung-Aang Talay, Published on 13/11/2012

    » Is there any kind of music that is out of bounds for the American pianist Jenny Lin's stylistic perfect pitch? Her range seems limitless with each new recording revealing a new facet of her musical personality. To date her repertoire on disc ranges from Schumann and Liszt through Mompou, the early Soviet experimentalists, and Ruth Crawford Seeger to modernists as diverse as John Cage and Valentin Silvestrov. A high point is one of the finest of the many recordings of Shostakovich's 24 Preludes And Fugues.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Coming on strong

    Life, Ung-Aang Talay, Published on 16/11/2012

    » Last weekend a shared craving for Isan food sent Ung-aang Talay and some friends to Lat Phrao Soi 101, where there is a branch of the Tam Mua restaurant that had impressed a food-alert neighbour of U-a T's strongly enough to inspire him to mention it twice. It turned out to be an appealingly informal place with customers seated on square stools rather than chairs, simple decor, and the the kind of relaxed atmosphere amenable to long sessions of eating and talking.

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