Saturday, 10 November 2007

Musical Journeys 1957 -2007

Did you know that (well, I didn’t) Benjamin Britten, one of the most outstanding English composers in the 20th century was commissioned to write a short piece for the Malaya was that emerging as a new independent nation? He visited Malaya just before the independence in 1957 but the piece was never used.

But here’s a chance for you to listen to this composition, arranged by Malaysia’s own Tazul Tajuddin for the London Sinfonietta at the Cadogan Hall on 14th November.

Here’s the rest of the info. See you there!

"Musical Journeys

Golden Anniversary Concert for Malaysia

As a finale to this celebration year The British Malaysian Society is promoting a concert at the Cadogan Hall in London on Wednesday November 14th which both gives a platform to some brilliant young Malaysian musicians living and working in London, and explores some special links with one of UK’s foremost 20th century composers, Benjamin Britten.

Britten visited Malaysia just before Independence was announced – and was commissioned to write a short piece for the new government. It was never used and thus we can present a Benjamin Britten World Premiere – even if a rather short one.

It has been arranged for the London Sinfonietta by Tazul Tajuddin, who has also been specially commissioned to write a work for piano and chamber ensemble – Warna yang Bernada – the Sound of Colour that uses the tonality of gamelan in the piano part to be played by the brilliant young Malaysian pianist – Bobby Chen.

Rounding off the concert are two other Britten works – one his earliest published work, Sinfonietta Op 1, and the much loved Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with James Gilchrist and Michael Thompson taking the solo roles. The London Sinfonietta is conducted by the charismatic French conductor Pierre-André Valade.

Tickets are £25, £20, £15 and £10 and are available from the Cadogan Hall box office either by phone: 020 7730 4500 or on their website:

We can offer an early bird discount for tickets bought before 14th October – a 10% discount – or there is group discount: 2 tickets free when you buy 10, both for the top two prices. Students can get tickets for a special price of £5.

In the Cadogan Hall all the seats have superb sound and a good view – the doors will be open at 6.30 p.m. the concert starts at 7.30p.m. and the concert is estimated to be over shortly after 9.30p.m. Sloane Square tube is a few yards away."


Athene said...

KakTeh, cheq dapat dah GUiT!

It's been raining non-stop for the last couple of weeks (months?), perfect for snuggling up in bed with a great book. Oh,if only I could get him to stop snoring! :)

Tunku Halim said...

Kak Teh - I didn't know Benjamin Britten had composed something for Malaya's independence. I wonder if it would have been better than "Negara Ku".

I understand the Indonesians are saying that the tune is taken from one of their traditional songs. The other story I heard is that Raja Abdullah of Perak (or the Pangkor Engagement fame) wrote the number as "Terang Bulan" (which is banned in Malaysia).

Kak Teh said...

athene, thanks- and have a good GUIT read. The snoring? ah well, how about the pillow - but be gentle.

Tunku, Yes, he did and I will know more about it when I interview the person who found the piece. Will attend the concert tomorrow and will let you know how it goes.

And for your information,ah yes, R abdullah who was exiled to the seychelles - and he heard a grench prisoner humming the tune!

ilene said...

Kak Teh, just to wish you an enjoyable time at the concert. BTW, abang you handsome lah!

Kak Teh said...

ilene, thank you - i think the story behind this musical journey is very interesting - I want to find out more about the piece that was supposedly written for our national anthem and then rejected. Am not so much a culture vulture but am prepared to go and enjoy the evening.
and, yes, thanks for the compliment.

ilene said...

Oh dear Kak Teh, I'm not towards cultural music. Give me Engelbert Humperdinck anytime! Ha! Ha!

I wish Taufiq all the very best in his endeavours. He'll be able to adjust and cope well in his new environment. It's us mothers who worry far too much!

Kak Teh, tumpung lalu nak sembang dengan Tunku Halim - ma'af ia:

Tunku, is it true that the song Rasa Sayang is also from Indonesia? I thought I remember reading something like this from the local dailies. Please enlighten me. Kak Teh, please also enlighten me. Thanks.

Kak Teh said...

ilene, Engelbert for me tooo!! and barry manilow! and Tom Jones (ehem, that is telling my age!)

Anyway,It is not T that i was refering to in your comment box - its the oldest one..still...uwaaaaah!!!

and as for Tunku Halim - you'll have to wait for his reply. He is away for a while. Ya, I also read abt Rasa sayang - never thought that it belongs to the indonesians.

ilene said...

Ooops..sorry dear. Aku ini ingat T saja! hehehe

Thanks Kak Teh - shall wait for Tunku Halim's response.

So how was the musical concert?

Zawi said...

Kak Teh,
If only the country's leaders had taken this specially composed piece by Benjamin Britten we wouldnt me ridiculed by our neighbour as taking one of their own as if we can compose an original ourselves. Now we can never tell who was the original composer of Negaraku, was an Indonesian or Raja Abdullah? All I knw is Negarakuku gets a very controversial bashing from some over sensitive Malaysians.

Awang Goneng said...

In my humble opinion, Benjamin Britten's composition is bright and breezy. It captures in parts the sway and lilts of Malaysia and the temperament of its people, but it is, sadly, unsuitable as a state anthem. For me it lacks resolution and sends out too many uncertain, if beautiful, signals.

Negaraku has an interesting history, but the Indonesians are being presumptuous. Soekarno played that trick once during Konfrontasi when he sang Terang Bulan at a banquet just to annoy our Tunku (Abdulrahman, not Halim who was still then a twinkle in his mother's eye). Our Tunku, good for him, merely laughed it off. As an obiter, he also made a typically Tunku joke of Bhutto (then PM of Pakistan, the present pretender's father) when he sided with Soekarno against Malaysia.

Many say that the tune that later became Negaraku was heard in the Seychelles by people who were exiled there with Sultan Abdullah. It's the tune of an old French folk song, and some years ago someone produced the lyrics in the NST's Letters Column. People say many things about Negaraku, but to me it is effectively haunting and full of sayu (for the meaning of this please read GUIT - sorry KT, can't resist the plug). Standing upright in a foreign land while listening to the lilts of Negaraku is oh so devastating. I'm proud of Negaraku - it encompases many things: our history, character and exile. Let's keep it that way and not, like some people recently, try to incorporate into it the unnecessarily unsettling martial air.

Awang Goneng said...

After all that spiel, can I now say hello to your guests, especially Athene and Tunku Halim? Thanks Athene for your kind words, and Tunku, I shall one day pick up enough courage to read your scary stories. I have just come back from the dentist am still feeling a bit jittery right now.

Come to think of it, perhaps I should close down my blog now and just put down my spiel as footnotes to other people. Nanti saya tanya Tabby.

ruby ahmad said...

Hello K Teh,

I thought I left a note yesterday...must have been some technical glitch.

Anyway, back to the subject of music. Uhuh! Oh so there's this new young talent in Tazul Tajuddin! Interesting.

I too, like Tunku Halim, was wondering if that piece would have been better for our National Anthem? But I have just read AG's enlightening comment(s) and yeah there must have been good reasons why it was rejected.

Looking forward to your own thoughts too.

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Aunty Teh,

Can you believe the main thing that grabbed my eye was the young man in the suit? I was enthralled by his lovely hair ;)

Athene said...


woah... down girl :)

hehehhe, I wouldn't say no to that eye-candy too...

kakteh, any chance of a recording of the Benjamin Britten composition?