An Orchestral Celebration of the Films of Leslie Cheung

19 March 2013, Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall

525308_10151332636661344_485812987_nLeslie Cheung… what an icon. I remember adoring him when I was very young (and even getting to eat dinner with him as my mum is friends with his sister!). This concert was a musical tribute to him, where the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra performed music pieces from his signature films (including Wong Kai Wai’s  東邪西毒, 春光乍洩, 阿飛正傳) and at times their music would be accompanied by film clips played on the screens behind and to the sides of the orchestra.

It was a blast from the past, though I wish I had seen more of his movies. In fact I think I had only seen one of the movies they played clips from, not that it mattered – it was nostalgic and enjoyable anyway. I particularly loved the new arrangement / re-imagination of Ashes of Time. A Chinese music instrumentalist played a handful of beautifully sounding (and odd-looking) instruments, providing a rich textured score to the vast spectacular landscapes that were being shown on screen.

Sadly they didn’t play the one song we really wanted to hear – 追. The MC, when introducing the 金枝玉葉 segment even said that during his 8 year career as a shopping mall pianist, that song was the number one most requested song across. Why didn’t they play it?

One thing they could’ve improved on was harmonizing the video with the music. It was obvious that they didn’t make any effort to do so. Sometimes the video ended 5 minutes before the music, sometimes 50 seconds before. And sometimes even after. It was a bit jarring and a shame, really, as it wouldn’t have taken much more effort.

Anyway… you know that saying that when one sense weakens, another sense(s) heightens? I tried it and it was brilliant – when I watched the film, the music became softer and when I watched the musicians, the music became louder. 😀  And even though Hong Kong Cultural Centre’s Concert Hall really isn’t good for classical music, it almost didn’t matter for this concert. We were there to celebrate Leslie Cheung. I think it’s brilliant how we’re still honouring him 10 years on.

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