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July 13, 2014

My K488 Dream Come True

by alive

On very rare occasions you get a once in a Lifetime gift.  It could be an opportunity, a chance meeting, an event that probably won’t ever happen again. If you seize it, the sense of satisfaction can be immense. If you miss it, the ravages of regret can be intense.

Today was one of the happiest days of my Life because one of my dreams came true – K488.

No it’s not a typo. I did not win or inherit 488k. I fulfilled my dream of listening to Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 23 in A Major K488 in a live performance.

IMAG0135Held by School of the Arts (SOTA), today’s programme comprised three piano concertos and part of their Piano Concerto Festival.
1. Beethoven: No 5 in E Flat Major, Op. 73 ‘Emperor’
2. Mozart: No. 23 in A Major, K488
3. Rachmaninoff: No. 2 in C Minor, Op.18

It was the second which made me immediately hit the “Buy” button when I saw this event on SISTIC. I knew I would miss an important class, be inconvenienced with having to arrange four different activities and even skip training, but I knew I could not let this go because once it was gone, it was definitely gone.

My Ticket!


So why is this truly a “once in a Lifetime” event?


There are only a limited number of performances a year. In selecting pieces, event organizers have to choose between composers (Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, etc), featured instrument (piano, violin, orchestra, etc), type of work (opera, concerto, symphony, etc), and balance current flavors (which have a high chance of not being yours). This leads to almost any permutation of program guaranteed not to feature that favourite piece of yours.

Even if you were to attend a Mozart concert, there is a vast selection an organizer could choose from. Prolific composer Mozart was, here is just a tiny smattering of any of the works that could be chosen.

Piano concertos 27

Piano sonatas 18

Violin concertos 5

Violin sonatas 36

Operas 20

Many, many, many others!


So to have this one piece performed is like hitting the lottery, and almost as likely as winning $488k.

MozartI love Mozart’s works, and not just because we share the same birthday. There is something so free flowing about his pieces that resonates with how I want to live Life. His music is exciting, expressive, and can capture so many moods within a single composition. It sounds clean, it sounds simple at times, but is so technically demanding that in many cases only a true virtuoso could do it justice.


Yet, what I like most about it is that it is accessible. There is a complexity that would delight an expert as he deconstructs the technical genius behind any piece. But as a whole, it moves us on the most visceral level without demanding we know these details. It’s not snob appeal material, but something everyone can enjoy whether they know about music or not.

That to me is great music. Mozart lifts you up.


And when it comes to uplifting pieces, there are few to compare to this, my favourite piano concerto ever. Listen to the final movement Allegro Assai here. You will understand why better that way than any feeble attempts I make to explain it through words.

Today’s rendition was special. I think my waving fingers, bobbing head and joyous expressions must have made the guy behind me think I was crazy. I’ve heard how people who win the lottery sometimes run around in circles gibbering like fools or madmen. I think I now understand why.

I’m sure many music snobs will state they’ve heard better, but what I enjoy is the special significance of being there to watch it performed live. The pianist, Choon Hong Xiang is only 20, and has a long way ahead of him. Watching his fingers dance while listening to the notes they generate was an unforgettable experience. I’m confident that he’ll go really far. I only hope that the way our society works can support and sponsor this, and really develop our phenomenal home grown talent.


The best seat I could buy!

The best seat I could buy!

I truly recommend anyone who loves music attend a live event. Be there when magic is created. But you will be struck by something deeper. You realise in one moment that people can come together to create a whole greater than the sum of its parts. Something beautiful, something moving, something special.

If this could be extrapolated to other areas, there’s hope for us yet.


“Mozart’s music always sounds unburdened, effortless, and light. This is why it unburdens, releases, and liberates us.” – Karl Barth

“Mozart’s mental grip never loosens; he never abandons himself to any one sense; even at his most ecstatic moments his mind is vigorous, alert, and on the wing. He dives unerringly on to his finest ideas like a bird of prey, and once an idea is seized he soars off again with an undiminished power.” – W. J. Turner

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