Beautiful Sunday is a free monthly concert presented by the Esplanade. It is family-friendly and inclusive, catering to people from different backgrounds and various needs. This afternoon’s performance is by the SparksWinds, conducted by Ms Chan Peck Suan.
SparksWinds was established in 2003 to provide a platform for past and present students of Ms Chan to further their musical hourney. The band aims to bring soulful music to the community through their concert events.
This afternoon’s concert comprises Japanese tunes, much to the delight of J-pop fans. I know next-to-nothing about J-pop music, but I thoroughly enjoyed the one-hour performance.
The band started with a piece of traditional Japanese music that depicts the fun enjoyed at a festival, called Yagibushi. From the moment Ms Chan raised her baton, I felt her hand gestures are much more mature and expressive than when she first started out as a schools’ band instructor (and I had the opportunity to work with her when I was taking charge of the band).
The second piece is a classic work in the genre of traditional Japanese music, but I wasn’t able to catch the name. I doubt I would recognise the tune if I hear it again, but I enjoyed its lively rhythm, the beautiful, soothing and haunting melody that is at times rousing and soaring, and at times uplifting and inspiring.
Following this were two pieces from TV series – Sakano the Anime (which the host translated as Love Above The Hill, originally sung by Sarah Brightman) and a documentary series which opened with a song called Song of Love. The first was a lovely, romantic melody that is light and airy, the kind of music that fills the heart with hope; and I’m sure many in the audience were swaying with delight, just like myself and Ms Chan on the podium. The latter one was very lively and the musicians, especially the percussionists, were obviously enjoying themselves.
More animation and film music by Joe Hisaishi was next, with lots of J-pop soundtracks. Apparently a piece called Spirited Away is very popular. I was charmed by the crystalline notes from the piano; the melody is simple and lovely, and I think it’s something my arthritic fingers can cope. (I shall look for the score in the library on my next trip.) The wonderful tune is reminiscent of happy days gone by.
The final piece is another movie soundtrack; but, again, I did not get the title because I’m unfamiliar with Japanese tunes, though I’m sure the host mentioned something about Summer. In any case, the music reminded me of the sun and its warmth on a breezy afternoon (though it was threatening to rain outside the concert hall).
There was of course an Encore piece (as is expected in all of Ms Chan’s concerts). The opening by the flutes was whistle-like, but then got very lively by the time the percussionists joined in. There were many solo passages – by the trombone and saxaphone. Ms Chan’s body language communicated the relaxed mood, pleasant and delightful. The surprise and well-choreographed movements by the musicians brought this concert to a satisfying and gratifying end.