Singapore - Boon Sin's Time

London - Alma's Time

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My hidden date - Clara Schumann Hall

Despite my excitement, certain bit of insecurity still managed to creep in when I arrived at (the magical) Frankfurt airport! It was such mixed feeling. And I couldn't quite explain why I felt that way. I started to be unsure about my 'hidden date' with Clara Schumann.

Is it really happening? Am I really leaving the airport, taking a taxi and hoping to get to a Date which had given me no prior physical confirmation or whatsoever? Are all these thoughts purely what I had imagined? Or are they gonna happened for real? What if I arrive and see no Clara Schumann? And hall? :'(

Before long, I realized I was literally trying to delay myself and procrastinate my leave from the airport - I went to the washroom three times in a row,  insisted on using the airport wifi when I have my own phone data, loitered aimlessly in Facebook, repeatedly checked my email mailbox... it did take me quite a while to muster up enough courage before I decided to join the queue and hopped into a taxi which brought me right to my destination in less than 15 minutes. I was still in a daze.

Ah... after much delay and wait and anticipation, I arrived at my date... :)

Clara Schumann Hall!!!

Woooo~ so this was the woman Brahms had loved his whole entire life... I stood in front of her sculpture so as to have a closer look at her... and I had stood and stared at her for a pretty long long long long while... I just wished to admire what Brahms had loved... and I will continue loving her... oh yes, of course, I had asked what was 'the message' that she had wanted to tell me, having summoned me all the way from Singapore to Frankfurt... and yes of course, she was quiet, as what I had expected - such stillness in the air reminded me of Brahms' silence when I tucked a bunch of yellow flowers in his arm, at his grave in Vienna several years ago :') 

[Happenings/ messages/ words more than often need time to settle themselves down, then be transported via various routes and channel... I still firmly believe all happenings have their moment of happening… I shall wait :)]

To my astonishment and pleasant surprise, I was left alone, for quite some time, to explore the hall all by myself, because the receptionist of the hall was busy tending to other matters... I browsed through the entire hall, front and back stage, and I enjoyed some private time with my diary while seated at one of the audience seats!

And did I mention I had quietly, secretly and unofficially reserved my favourite seat at Clara Schumann Hall :)) That was a huge pleasure, at least for that moment and for my many looking-back moments :))

A correspondence between Brahms and Clara that warmed my heart so much... the situation was simple - he wanted to give her a sum of money... he wrote with such gentleness and light-heartedness, full of affection, appreciation and respect; she rejected his offer, sent her words across in a tone with gratitude and pride, yet at the same time, full of affection, appreciation and respect :')

以下的两封来回书信让我异常动容 :')

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Hidden Message

This was something that had excited and thrilled me since a couple of days ago… 

Part 1:
2 months ago, I had already made up my mind to buy Lufthansa Sale air tickets to London, which was only $1389. I knew this is a very good price (not their best price though) as compared to their normal Singapore to London airfare, yet for some reasons, a part of me didn’t want to just commit straightaway and was constantly searching, trying to look out for a better deal. As a result, I procrastinated my ticket buying.

When I had finally decided to commit to buy, the lowest price had shifted to $1403, in which I think it wasn’t too bad since the raise wasn’t that much. However, I soon realized that $1403 wasn’t the flight timing that I had originally planned and wanted! The price for my desired flight was already costing $1680!!! :(

Yes, though it is still cheaper than the normal Lufthansa airfare, I was still very reluctant to pay for this increased difference. In the end, I went ahead to book the $1403 fare, which means I would have a layover of 8 hours in Frankfurt airport, an option I would never have chosen under normal circumstances. But I quickly turn to my usual positive thoughts that – Oh well, I could just take it as a private me-time to read or do some work at the airport; I could even pop out of the airport for a little breather plus a little coffee treat in the nearby Frankfurt city centre :)

Part 2:
That particular morning of happening, I had some out-of-the-blue thoughts unexpectedly, and I was somehow trying to find a link between Brahms and Frankfurt. Yes, the next sensible thing to do was naturally to confirm these thoughts and info over web & books. And to my astonishment, I realized Clara Schumann (The woman Brahms had loved and corresponded all his life but both were never together) had actually passed away in Frankfurt! And that she had even held her funeral in Frankfurt (as well as in Bonn) That was when I felt the first trace of excitement and I couldn’t help wondering if there really was a hidden message for me in Frankfurt!!! :’)

Soon, I realized I was trying to put together the facts, the thoughts, and all those wild guesses and ideas into one big piece of picture and I was delightfully surprised to discover that - they fitted, nicely, and made sense!

I’m in awe at how things had their own timing of happening… and how timing could brew and maneuver all happenings to happen at the right moment they belong to…

What had started as a procrastinated booking-error was secretly brewing and transforming itself into a charming date that went beyond what I could have imagined. And had I been less sensitive, I would have completely missed it!

Up to this point, Frankfurt is no longer a name for a casual morning coffee or for a simple connecting flight. It is the entrance to a romantic longing that had always been dwelling inside my heart.

So, if my intuition about the hidden date is correct, then I ought to be a given a meeting place, right? I began searching madly on the web… and soon, I found this music conservatory where Clara had once taught when she was in Frankfurt. I was delighted. With a hopeful heart, I further browsed within the conservatory and discovered they REALLY do have a medium-sized concert hall by the name of ‘Clara Schumann Hall’!!! I was so overwhelmed with excitement and my heart was pounding so fast. I went blank for quite many seconds. I couldn't quite make out, what do do next… but yes, eventually, I did manage to string up some major bits and pieces of the information together.

My final search was the distance. And when the screen of my Mac book promptly announced the distance between the music conservatory and the airport to be (FIFTEEN) 15 minutes by car, I was thrilled beyond words!

My layover in Frankfurt airport would be 8 hours. I have to buffer some time for the airport procedures plus all types of wait. After which, I should have a comfortable stretch of 4 hours for a back-and-forth trip between the airport and the music conservatory via a taxi. And I suppose I could include in that 4 hours, a sip to a nice hot cuppa while doing some reminiscing and reading on my favourite book of Brahms & Clara.

I am now pretty much convinced this is the right place to meet Clara, or rather, could it be that Brahms had also thought the timing is right and had wanted me to meet (and feel) Clara? :’) 
I might be expecting a next episode, or perhaps never at all. And even if I do, it could be next month, a year or ten years later. In whichever case, I would be a calm and patient audience as I watch the flow of fate unfolds before me. I promise to be actively yet passively moving along with it… and I promise to wait :’)                        
[Feeling extremely thankful]  
Footnote: Yes, I did manage to visit Clara… My hidden date - Clara Schumann Hall  


Monday, July 15, 2013


Organising a Piano Solo Concert for Neil Crossland arises purely out of coincidence. Yet it also seems like a continuation of my little sentiments with the term ‘unfinished’…

Having known Neil for years, his musicianship is one of which I admire and trust. Nonethelss, the idea of him completing the entire lot of 7 unfinished piano sonatas of Franz Schubert still fascinates me from inside out.

Difficulty aside, how much passion and sentiments are needed to be self-driven into completing a set of unfinished piano sonatas like these… I was very moved, and I still am.

Infact, my very first encounter with ‘unfinished’ was the first movement of Schubert’s Symphony No. 8.

I clearly recalled those emotional entanglement on my first close encounter with this movement - alternating my mood between strolling on the cloud and walking in the thunderstorm had, for some reasons, touched me so much that I eventually sat on the floor and broke into tears. I was totally unprepared for that repeated back and forth journey between the cheerful melody and the melancholic notes. It was tedious. And I remembered feeling so annoyed with this movement and so annoyed with Schubert; yet at the same time, the entire composition was speechlessly beautiful and utterly complete!

With his ‘unfinished’, Franz Schubert had unintentionally sealed the fate of his unfinished masterpieces. And in our era, unfinished matters don’t seem uncommon too, for many people.

Unfinished matters, acting like a connector, as well as a junction, seem to be putting together what will happen in the future and what had happened in the past. And this could well appear to be so interestingly moving – it, on one hand, behaves like an answer; yet on the other hand, leading to more answers.

What happens at this moment could well be the bearing of what had once happened; it could also be the underlying clues and codes of the many many future possible happenings…

I am thankful… and I am also looking forward… :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

London - Friends I love~

Vegetarian Dim Sum Lunch with Wanning~
While waiting... :P

Shu Wan, Hui Qing & me, yes, in the sun :D

ShuWan's pair of sweetie princesses :)
It was such a JOY seeing them in London... thank you ladies... :)

Haven't seen ShuWan for 10 over years... She still looks so sweet~

With Neil & Maria~

Maria has a very contagious laughter that I like... :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

London - Olympics Episode

I was searching for Singapore flag... but nope, can't find... :'(
I believed I must have missed it somewhere... :(

The weather was hot, warm... and long daylight... hmm...  this is my least favourite seasons in London... though yes, over years, I'd learnt to accept... but I still do not prefer :-/

They are hotties!!!! So popular with the tourists!!! :D

 Radmila and I are in a matching T-shirts... our Olympic moods :P She is someone I very much adore!!! <3 font="">

At Stratford Station~

At the gate. The annoucement at the gate was kinda amusing... it went this way: Please  take your photographs quickly and keep walking!!!
For the picture below - This is the first time I'm bringing such a little bag out in London, as I have the reputation of always carrying gigantic bags or totes... :P

I absolutely like this!!!! :)

My favourite sight!!! 

After the Olympic Rehearsal, people were rushing/dashing from all directions...  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

EPTA Conference @ York, July 2012

Yes I know, it sounds silly... but this is indeed one of my favourite bit of the aircraft... leaving my phone beautifully charged before I touched down... :)

A quiet moment doesn't mean we have to be absolutely alone... Quiet times amidst the talks and crowds somehow makes it more luxurious... :')
My first stop, as usual ~ the supermarket... :)

Arrived. Well, pretty fast~ A quiet journey too, apart from the rush in the underground due to peak hours...
My first visit to York... :)
Beautiful View... 

And good weather too... 

Yong Liang showed me this beautiful park... we sat here briefly, seeing the quiet and the greens... the Ferris Wheel, according to him, was built JUST for this year, to commemorate 800 years of history...
Very much love the contrast between the building and the sky... 

Had a full set of breakfast around lunch hour with Yong Liang. Cool, my favourite type of breakfast!!! :) And over the breakfast table, we talked about the washing machines. The drain. The spin. The half cycle. The full cycle. The normal cycle... and the absolute courage needed to power off the switch halfway through the process, so as to jump out of the normal cycle...

Peaceful, quiet, relax and jump-from-topic-to-topic coffee time with Susan & Yong Liang~ 

Peaceful, quiet, relax and jump-from-topic-to-topic coffee time with Susan & Yong Liang~ 

EPTA (European Piano Teachers Association) Piano Teacher Conference... I had missed it for many years... but for some reasons, I feel I have to come, need to come, and shouldn't miss it this year... so I came :') As much as I'm happy that I listened and followed my tiny little inner voice; I am also extremely thankful to all the people who's willing to have their routines slightly altered because of me... Thank you :')

Wonderful Beate :)

Conference Breakfast this morning... They are ALL piano teachers, or were piano teachers... What often moves me is - when we are think we're fated to music, we aren't neccessarily fated to the piano. And if we move along that line, being fated to the piano becomes something a level deeper... :')





凡物凡事就是需要至少那么一, 分。:')

My invited Workshop lecturer for my coming Masterclass & Workshop, in December, held at Royal College of Music, London, Day 1, 11 December 2012.

Both Lucinda herself and her Lectures are equally charming, and full of charisma. :)

Attended her one-week Aberystwyth Classes a few years back and it had impacted me in a big way...

My invited Masterclass Tutor for my coming Masterclass & Workshop, in December, held at Royal College of Music, London, Day 3, 13 December 2012. Nadia is wonderfully kind and passionate in all her roles, from piano teacher, Adjudicator, to Associated Board Examiner... :)

A quick snap shot after the breakfast... :)
Sweet Norma :)

Self-made... omg~ :D

Self-made by Maggie

Marcello is soooooooo adorable :)

We were all intensed fans of Marcello Crudeli, the Chair of EPTA Italy (in blue)... During the dinner... we were flooding her with questions... I even asked her about her age... yes yes I know it's a taboo, but I was curious... see, i'd always been a cautious and sensitive person, so the fact that I'd decided to ask such an insensitive question just shows how amazing she is... and to my delight, she answered gladly, readily and proudly... :)