Thursday, January 20, 2011

Life in MCKL

Well I've been in Methodist College for the past 6 months doing the Edexcel A Levels, and now in the midst of my exams. For all you form 5 leavers thinking of doing A levels, DO consider coming to MCKL!! :) It's an awesome place with awesome people and awesome lecturers! Though mckl is still kinda like the underdog compared with taylors n sunway, this college is really growing! I'm pretty sure it'll become more popular in the coming years!

Masquerade Night was an awesome event!! With people actually dressing up like Halloween and performances.
And of course the best dressed - Shen Wen the clown! Haha

and this was a shot at the waterfall during our orientation camp in SUFES campsite

Some people question the quality of the lecturers and the education given here, but I can assure you guys the lecturers here are super dedicated! like hours and hours of extra classes and tonnes of past year papers. I'm sure the quality can be seen from some of the seniors like Ding Zu Ning who scored 600/600 for her math and was offered a full scholarship to do Actuarial Sc in City Uni, London, and summore students who are on scholarship in Cambridge, Imperial College, London School of Econs, UCL, ANU and so many more top universities!

So do consider MCKL and enjoy college life to the fullest!

Friday, December 25, 2009

CHRISTMAS 2009 with the WONGS part 1

16 - 12 - 09 Caroling at the Rumah Kanak-kanak Istimewa ..trans.. House-Kids-Special!
11:00 everyone meets and prepares as we declare Jesus' birth to these Children
This year Audrey became the conductor of our caroling team, me on d keyboard n Rui te on the sax

-The Three Souls Trio-

We had quite a big team!

Don't laugh, you just can't see the others :)

Then we had the games led by aunty Lucy. Think we played musical bums or musical chairs or maybe musical statue?!

Well whatever it was it was musical!

And everyone got a present...

That's our lay pastor Brother Simon Soh

18 - 12 - 09 Partaaay at StarBucks!

A short prayer in the middle of town..

Everyone dressed it red and prepared to sing. All day I was waiting for the free coffee, haha!!
Quite a lot of people cramped in the Starbucks to listen our singin :)

Lo and behold I got my free coffee.

Well just a small cup but better than nothing!!

Well as you can see, aunty lucy is gettin' her boogie on!

You should have won!!

Then there was a treasure hunt, so everyone ran up and down the streets of Tanah Rata lookin for "treasure"

Friday, October 23, 2009



How many times have you said you were sorry,
When you know you were wrong?
How do you feel? Do you regret
Those days that passed you by?

Is it enough to feel so safe,
and not tell the world about His Love?

What about those days that you denied Him
when he didn't seem around.
Looking back, I think I would have regretted
Those days that passed me by.

All the cheats and all the lies
That I face everyday, never seem to fade
What's going on?
Is there something wrong?

Everytime I fail You,
You pick me up and we start over again.
Is that part of Your plan?

It's by the love of God, He rescued my soul
It's by the love of God, He made me whole
It's by the love of God, That I live for eternity
Because He lives in me

How many times have you yelled At the stranger beside you
When he was getting in your way?
Think you should have done this
Maybe you should have done that
Is there really no other way?

Says in the Book of Life that
Our anger does not bring about the righteous life
That God has in mind.

Everytime I fail You,
You pick me up and we start over again.
Well that's just part of Your plan.

It's by the love of God, He rescued my soul
It's by the love of God, He made me whole
It's by the love of God, That I live for eternity
Because He lives in me

By the grace that my God has for us,
He opened the gates of Heaven for us,
Now I sing Hallellujah to the
King of Kings

It's by the love of God, He rescued my soul
It's by the love of God, He made me whole
It's by the love of God, That I live for eternity
Because He lives in me

It's by the love of God, I'm saved from my sins
Now, In this life I owe him my everything
To you alone I give my praises
Because You're the one I adore

It's by the love of God, That I live for eternity
Because He lives in me

Friday, September 25, 2009

Testimony : Testing, testing,1 2 3.........

Alright... So, I just came back from thePlan 09 conference! Woohoo so revived, but miss the people there already.

Well after this conference, we all went back praying our fire for Jesus would not die down. Some of us might go back to our usual lives. NO!! we are changed and should remain changed! Haha, i'll keep you guys in my prayers!

So after the conference, I went to KL to celebrate hari raya ( I have a muslim aunt), and guess wht? God put me to the test!

Alright, so, I was in midvalley at the shop called speedy, thats a shop where they sell CDs. So I bought a CD "The Final Break'' - rm49.90. I paid the lady at the counter rm50, balance 10 cents (for those who can't count ('';)) Well lo and behold she gave me receit + 10 cents + rm50. Haha. I had rm50.10 in my hands and the lady turn to another customer. Boy, I had the urge to walk away. Imagine I would have been 50 bucks richer!! you know I have encountered this situation b4, and most of the time I walked off (commiting a sin) :( those times it was just a dollar or maybe 5 bucks, but this is rm50!!

Ok, being so on fire for God, I called the lady and gave her back the 50 bucks! My heart broke, and my world came to an end... Haha just kidding, wasnt so serious! I walked away, then It occured to me that Big G was testing me, and I had a sense of happiness that I had passed His test! Woohoo... Then, satan put in my mind a lot of regret that I did that and thoughts about wht I could have done with that extra rm50. But I casted aside such thinking, knowing that what I did was 100% the right thing.

Then later on, I was at my grandparent's house, and I received a call. I believed it was God's blessing. A lady from Cameron Highlands called me to start piano lessons with me! I had only 1 student, and I was praying for another student for a long time! Immediately the next day she came to my house and I had my first lesson with her. Well long story short, I charge 4 lessons rm60, and in that first lesson my student handed me 60 bucks! It was like, I gave up rm50 and God blessed me with 60!

I'm looking for to all other test JC will put me through!

Monday, July 27, 2009


-This is the story of how I started the piano-

2000/2001 Audrey and I were like most ppl forced to learn the piano, haha. My sister Amanda goes for piano lessons in Ipoh with Pianist - Hung Lan. So my whole family would go to ipoh every week and audrey and I were under Miss Joyce Teoh. I don't recall hating it, nor liking it. I remember once I was sitting and having lunch, while mandy was having her piano lessons. Then aunty Hung Lan played one piece that start with a huge/loud/big chord. " Wham!!" I literally feel of my seat! Hah. Good times good times... After mandy finished her Grade 7, her teacher then moved to KL to work with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. Mandy never completed her Grade 8. After that we stopped going to Ipoh. Audrey and I didnt have any interest with the Piano anyway, so we stopped.

2002 standing at the CD rack, I was looking for some music to listen too. I saw this CD on Mozart, some of the pieces were Le nozzo de figaro, Eine kliene nachtmusik... I recall finding the names quite funny! Anyways I listened to that CD and didnt like it. I found it quite boring- like most ppl who dont appreciate classical music, I didnt have enough musical knowledge to understand the pieces and therefore found it boring. However few days passed and I became curious and wanted to listen to it again. I started listening to it every day, and before I knew it I couldnt stop listening to it. One thing that I was very drawned to was the Violin. That CD had the 3rd movement of Mozart's Violin Concerto No.4 in D and the Symphony No.35 " Haffner ". I was quite fascinated with the sound of the violin and the vibration of the strings, esp with those high-pitched harmonics.
Then there was a Bach CD, Dvorak, Wagner, Vivaldi. Apparently my dad listens to all this. In the Bach CD I heard again the violins playing the Brandenberg Concerto No.2. I soon developed an interest in music particularly from the classical period - Mozart. I still wasnt exposed to the Romantic period or modern. Anyways I asked my parents if I could learn the violin, and they said that its better to learn the piano first, because the piano is a more basic instrument. After learning the piano the violin would be easier to learn. I was quite reluctant.

2003 My family goes on a vacation to (er, I cant remember). Anyways during the drive, my dad played a CD in the car. The CD only had pieces played on the piano. After listening to a few pieces, I realised that the same thing was happening when I first listened to Mozart. There was a sudden curiousity in the music I was listening to. We took a break at some rest area. And when we got out, (gosh I still remember the scene!) I asked my dad if that CD was Chopin. See b4 that I have seen a CD with the words "chopin" on it, and so i thought that that was the CD. I pronounced it as " Chop pin" and then mandy and my dad started laughing out loud. I had no clue what was going on! But anyways it was then that my dad introduced me to one of the greatest composers of all time - Frederic Francois Chopin. A few pieces that really caught my attention was the Etude Op.10 No.12, Fantasie Impromptu Op.66, Prelude No.3 Op.24, and the waltzes. I recall lying on my bed with the radio beside me and I would play that CD all the way through, for days, WEEKS. Then I started growing an interest in the Piano and it was because of Chopin. So I then decided to take up the piano again, and this time, playing the piano was so completely different than b4. I was playing "sweet low sweet chariot" in the hall in Chefoo School when my mum suddenly came in with a lady - Madam Lam . That lady was my first real\formal Piano teacher. Then i started learning technique like hanon! I still dislike the Hanon studies! :( But I was lucky to have a good reasonable teacher in Cameron Highlands. So I took my grade 3,4,5 under her.

2007 Madam Lam then prepares me for my grade 8 exam the following year. In the same year, when I was practicing in Chefoo, one of the guest heard my playing and talked to my mum about a Piano Competition in KL. I got so excited, and started picturing myself on stage performing! Of course I had no idea what Piano Competitions were like. For all those who dont know - entering a piano competition is a race, survival of the fittest, a fight for your career. In performing music, there are only 2 ways to become famous and have concerts worldwide - you either are a Child prodigy or a winner of an International Piano Competition but not just any, the major ones. I think there are only 3 very popular ones - i) Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition, Moscow ii) Van Cliburn Piano Competition,fort worth Texas iii) Frederic Chopin International Piano Competition, Warsaw Poland. there is no other way to become famous other than that. Imagine 3 competitions once in 4/5 years, tens of thousands of ppl compete and only 1 winner! the pressure is INSANE! So then I had enough interest to compete and I enrolled for the ASEAN chopin competition. Madam Lam was very reluctant to prepare me for an international competition, she knew she didnt have enough experience.
By God's perfect timing he opened a door for me when the Piano Tuner came to repair my piano. My mum then started talking to him about finding a Good piano teacher, and Lo and behold.... He told us his daughter Joyce Ho, had just returned from Germany with her masters in music and was now looking for ppl like me to coach for competitions. So I then started lessons with Joyce in Ipoh. I had to and still am travelling down to ipoh by bus every week for lessons.

Lessons with Joyce Ho Yin Fun.
I think that Joyce will always be the teacher that taught me the dark side of music! I knew that playing the piano for fun can be.. erm fun, but she taught me that playing the piano professionally requires hours of practice and torture, and can sometimes be very stressful! I realised that most accomplished pianist now, have very a bitter childhood. Evgeny Kissin - When he was young, he made a choice to become a Concert pianist. So his mother forced him to play countless of hours a day. Once he had a girlfriend but the mother didnt allow it, and told him that she would only be a distraction! Martha Argerich - When she was young too, her parents told her that the piano is the love of her life and nothing else. She had to think about the piano 24/7. (Unbelievable)
Joyce's standard of playing was uni level and so she had very high quality teaching. During her lessons, Half a slip/mistake is not allowed! Strictly not allowed. Your playing in front of her must be note perfect. Even though Im no longer under her tutelage now, I can see why God wanted her to teach me for 6 months. After that 6 months, music in some way has really disciplined me, and trained my mind to be more mature. I know thats cheezy! but its real. Hehe. So then on the verge of searching for another teacher, God then sent me to a teacher who is the complete opposite! His name is Peter Lim

Lessons with Peter Lim
He was nothing like Joyce and was everything that Joyce wasnt. I would put it that way. The last thing he would to in his class is scold you! He taught me the bright side of music. He is good friends with many malaysian pianist, eg Dennis Lee. It was because of Peter Lim that I had a FREE masterclass with Dennis. If not it would have cost RM200 per hour. Well now I have a diploma under Peter and still continuing my studies under him.

I really look forward to the future and what God has planned for me. Hopefully It would be as fun as what I have already gone through!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Victor Borge

Some Funny Memorable Quotes by the great comedian Victor Borge

  • (Referring to the piano's natural shape) Isn't it a shame when those big fat opera singers lean against the pianos and bend them?
  • I love this piano... I get about 4 sonatas to a gallon of red wine on it...
  • ... Very expensive these pianos... It's not mine! But they come in a six pack!
  • I have been looking forward to this evening's performance ever since... 7:30... two weeks ago.
  • I'd like to thank my parents for making this night possible. And my children for making it necessary.
  • I normally don't do requests. Unless, of course, I have been asked to do so.
  • I don't mind growing old. I'm just not used to it.
  • Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.
  • Occasionally, a finger comes up to wipe a tear [of laughter] from the eye... and that's my reward... the rest goes to the government.
  • I only know two pieces, one is 'Clair de Lune', the other one isn't.
  • The difference between a violin and a viola is that a viola burns longer.
  • When you go home, please drive home extremely carefully. Extremely carefully. Because I walk in my sleep!
  • Giuseppe Verdi. Joe Green to you.
  • I'm going to play it with both hands so that way I will get through with it a little faster.
  • I'm Lou Borg.
  • You may not be aware of this but Leonard Bernstein won another award, for explaining the music of Igor Stravinsky... to Igor Stravinsky!
  • There will be no dancing during this number... unless you absolutely have to!
  • I'm going to play a a Danish composer. Umm... Mozart. Hans Christian Mozart!
  • (Holding someone's red tie) Oh, I thought you were bleeding.
  • We have a neighbour. Well, who doesn't... but he's our next window neighbour, because he does not have a door at that end of the house!
  • My grandfather gave me this watch...a few minutes before he died...for 20 tax...
  • The soprano... is about four and a half feet tall... Lying down.
  • And now, Brahms! Joey Brahms! ...Brahms spelled backwards: "Smharb."
  • One afternoon, when I was four years old, my father came home, and he found me in the living room in front of a roaring fire, which made him very angry. Because we didn't have a fireplace.
  • Before we start, the Baldwin Piano Company has asked me to say that this is a Steinway piano [or vice versa].
  • (Inspecting the piano) Hmmm… Steinway & Sons. Didn't even know he was married.
  • Ignaz Friedman's dead now—I sincerely hope, because they buried him about 28 years ago.
  • There are three Bachs. Johann, Sebastian and Offen.
  • It's Fliszt, not F. Liszt. Do you say M. Ozart?
  • It is important to always, always fasten your seat belt wherever you play.
  • Excuse me Ma'am, are you laying eggs? (Spoken in "Page-Turner")
  • (Responding to a sneeze from the audience) Who exploded?
  • And now, in honour of the 150th anniversary of Beethoven's death, I would like to play "Clear the Saloon", er, "Clair de Lune", by Debussy. I don't play Beethoven so well, but I play Debussy very badly, and Beethoven would have liked that.
  • [In a lecture on Mozart's Magic Flute]"...and after that the Chorus comes in...nobody knows WHY...besides Mozart of course...and he's dead."
  • [After making a usage, grammar error, etc.] Hey, it's your language, I'm just trying to use it."
  • Pardon me for sitting down while I play.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Story Behind Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit

-1st Mvt-

Ondine is arguably the most beautiful movement of Gaspard de la nuit; it is certainly the most colorful and sensuous. In the poem, Ondine is a mermaid
who sings to a man, describing her fantastic world and trying at length to seduce him. The man, however, is married to a mortal, and when he explains this to Ondine she cries, laughs, then disappears as quickly as she first appeared. While this basic story forms the skeletal structure of Ravel’s music, there is far more to the poetry than a simple narrative. Words and phrases create impressions of darkness, mystery, and a magical world of water. Ravel's incorporates these themes as he follows the progression of the story, introducing and developing the setting and characters.
Just as the poem begins with “Listen! Listen!” and does not provide any introduction to explain what is going on, the music evolves out of nothingness, like something from a dream. Ravel begins the piece in ppp with a very fast and quiet repeating series of chords that becomes the central and driving rhythmic element of the wor
k. These initial bars establish a quiet atmosphere of mystery, metrical elegance, and anticipation. The shimmering notes immediately draw one into “the beautiful starry night and the beautiful sleeping lake.”

The actual poetry begins in the third measure, where Ondine is first heard in a dreamy, song-like melody. When Ravel introduces her playfully amorous character, the melodic line conjures images of the mermaid calling “Listen! It is I, it is Ondine who brushes drops of water on the resonant panes of your window” from outside. The music “follows the actions and thoughts of the sprite-princess and sustain[s] the least
inflection of her voice” (Long, 1973), and later becomes more complicated as Ondine’s song builds in strength and sensuality. For example, when Ravel repeats the melody, it is in broken chords rather than single notes, with more agitated accompaniment. In the third stanza of the poem, Ondine again calls “Listen! Listen!”-- the repetition creates urgency. Incidentally, the first three stanzas of the poem are in ABA form, which is also applicable to the musical organization: a theme (A), which goes through a development section (B), and the initial motifs are then repeated (A) (Bruhn, 1997).
Ravel changes the key and melodic line as Ondine offers her love to a married man and tension mounts. The music is more sinister, and for the first time the melody is sung in the lower, darker regions of the keyboard. There is unmistakable momentum as the music becomes more dance-like, and soon the playfulness disappears. A stormy romantic passage builds as she offers her hand in marriage. When the man rejects Ondine, water seems to crash everywhere as the pianist pounds over the keyboard. In the wake of
this terrible climax, the music is softer and more fragile, eventually disintegrating into nothing more than a timid reflection of the melody. This is the nadir of the piece, showing Ondine alone with a mixture of childish disappointment and adult sadness-- “she wept some tears.” However, as she “uttered a burst of laughter, and vanished in a shower,” the music blossoms into a coda of rapid arpeggios before trailing off like a

Ondine is difficult to play because it requires a good deal of strength to maintain a light touch. The pianist must create a supple and brilliant atm
osphere, with subtly different touches for water that ripples, shines, shimmers, and cascades. At one point, the hands traverse practically the entire keyboard in a matter of seconds, yet even in this loud and fearsome passage the music must be flowing, like water. In addition, the rhythmic motif of chords is hard simply to play fast, but near impossible to play fast and quietly. While the pianist sweats over this technical challenge, the melody must sing out, which becomes difficult to maintain when the hands begin leaping around the keyboard. Still, despite the difficultly, the atmosphere must remain constant and vivid. The pianist must create a sparkling, nighttime atmosphere, like a prism suspended in rain and darkness.

-2nd Mvt-

Le Gibet is a picture of desolation and misery. It is a musical landscape of the singular, breath-taking image of a lonely corpse “reddened by the setting sun.” Bertrand’s poem is a series of contemplations of this image, all made
with gloomy, hopeless resignation. Unlike Ondine, there is no story being told. Instead, the poem consists of five gruesome questions and a horrific answer. Le Gibet opens with a picture of a man who is “the hanged one,” yet who is still alive and “utters a sigh.” By the end of the poem, after the relentless series of disturbing questions, the man is certainly dead-- his emotions have expired, his spirit is extinguished, he is now a “corpse.” It is as though we, as readers, have witnessed “the unfolding of that moment between almost-no-life and definite death” (Bruhn, 1997).

Ravel devotes almost the entire focus of the composition to atmosphere. He does not try to recreate specific descriptions like “scarab beetles” and “sterile ivy.” Those images are incorporated into a larger theme based on the evocation of emotions rather than objects. The character of the poetry is introspective and cyclical, more observational than explanatory. Like the poetry, the music is an odyssey withone mournful, extended image. The whole movement consists of three relentlessly repeating motifs: a constant B-flat, a melodic chord progression, and a second, more singing melody. Pianist Vlado Perlemuter remarked that “you must not be afraid of making it sound monotonous”; in fact, monotony is an integral part of the music.
The forlorn atmosphere is maintained by a B-flat that sounds throughout the entire piece, like a perpetual sigh or ringing bell. Bells play a key role in Le Gibet. The musical landscape is reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe, whose poetry Ravel admired; in fact, Poe’s poem The Bells may have influenced this music (Larner, 1996). Siglind Bruhn finds that the B-flat bell is important because the “tolling constitutes the link among the different aspects embedded in the poem.” Though this B-flat theme is the most famous aspect of Le Gibet, all three motifs overlap and build off one another to cre
ate an indelible image.

Technical difficulties of Le Gibet are in the management of sound quality and voicing. Marguerite Long points out that independence of the hands and discrete differences between ppp and pp make the piece extremely challenging. The pianist must not only play quietly, but also be aware of subtle changes in sound and texture. Henri Gil-Marchex believes 27 different touches are necessary in Le Gibet (Bricard). A particularly difficult task is the maintenance of each musical line. For example, the B-flat is sometimes divided in octaves between hands, but it still must sound exactly the same as when played by only on
e hand. At other moments, different melodic lines are played simultaneously and must sound as completely independent voices. Another technical difficultly is the playing of extended chords. All the notes must be played in the same way and at the same time, and, because the music is slow and quiet, any notes depressed a half-second too late are obvious mistakes. Performing Le Gibet is like standing perfectly still so that even your breathing is imperceptible, only you must also always be looking at a single ghastly scene. When the music at last dies out, that ceaseless B-flat is the only sound that remains. It is like the corpse left hanging from the rope, and then the scene fades to black.

-3rd Mvt-

Scarbo: this is arguably the most famous movement from Gaspard de la nuit, the piece people talk about long after they have first heard the nightmarish music. Scarbo is truly the work that represents transcendental virtuosity. The music is unbelievably difficult and seems very advanced and dissonant for Ravel’s time. Literally every key of the piano is used. Furthermore, the virtuoso elements become a vehicle for conveying the poetry, which like the music is frenetic and bizarre, almost drugged-out. However, as Bertrand never abandons structure, Ravel manages to fit the shadows and dwarfs and hallucinatory images into a “tightly knit form [that] is comparable to the Chopin scherzi and ballades” (Dubbiosi 1967). The result is an intense and relentless journey that lies somewhere between a technical study and a psychotic episode.
In the poem, the narrator describes his fear of Scarbo, an evil dwarf who comes in the dead of night. Scarbo plays with the narrator’s mind: sometimes he dances, other times he hides and only makes noises, and then sometimes he appears and “grows between the moon and me like the belfry of a gothic cathedral.” At the end, as the insanity becomes unbearable, Scarbo disappears, “his face pales like the wax of a candle end--and suddenly he is extinguished.” Although the poem is short, there is grandeur in its horror, “a sense of awe, embodied in the image of the majestically high spire of a Gothic cathedral” (Bruhn, 1997).

Although the music is surreal, it is relatively simple to follow its relationship to the poetry. Scarbo consists of several motifs, each representing a theme or image from the poem. The piece begins with three ascending notes, uttered softly and deeply from the lower registers of the piano. This is like a “sneak preview,” like the trailer to a horror film (Bruhn, 1997). The three-note motif varies from a whisper to a romantic sweep, and representing the emotions of the narrator. At the end of the piece, this is played one last time in assertive left hand octaves before the music abruptly trails off, representing a sort of relief as Scarbo disappears. Likewise, a staccato and rhythmic theme is frantic and grotesque, like the dwarf’s jagged, uneven dancing. Another motif consists of broken octaves and is more mysterious; this represents suspense, like Scarbo hanging from the ceiling, unseen. Finally, there is a very intense, rhythmic progression of chords that interrupts the broken octaves and twice builds up to a climax, like a scream of awe and terror. Ravel, a brilliant orchestrator, wanted the piano to sound like “kettle drums” at this point, which creates a frightening effect (Perlemuter, 1988). Ravel also integrates and interchanges these motifs. For example, there is a strangely calm section in the middle of the piece, but its melody is actually a slower version of Scarbo’s “dancing” theme. In this way, Ravel creates anticipation, hinting that the dwarf is hiding, but not gone-- “Do I think him vanished then?”

There are three areas of technical concern in Scarbo: playing the notes, developing specific articulations for each motif, and, possibly more difficult than anything, the juxtaposition of very different articulations. Simply learning the notes is an accomplishment, for Scarbo demands speed, precision and agility. The pianist must cross and interlock hands, play multiple notes with the thumb, and perform similar acrobatics at a very high speed. However, the pianist cannot simply hit the right notes; the pianist must hit the right notes in the right way. For example, the initial sequence of repeated notes is very fast and therefore challenging to play. However, as Bruhn insightfully points out, “[t]he musical metaphor is that of trembling.”

Still, the most challenging aspect of Scarbo is adjusting to accommodate different articulations in virtually no time. As Marguerite Long said, “the performer must learn to cope with continued neuro-muscular equilibrium in the fingers.” At one moment, for instance in one of the “jumping chord” passages, the playing must be light and quick, with measured staccato. Then, a half-second later, the pianist must entirely adjust the volume and articulation to play pedaled broken octaves. Likewise, the atmosphere changes from frenzy to mystery. If the pianist can somehow master the transcendental virtuosity of Scarbo, the result is a captivating musical experience.

It is interesting to note that Scarbo ends much like Ondine begins, with fast and quiet notes played in the higher registers of the piano that seem to shimmer. This is further evidence of the cohesiveness of Gaspard de la nuit. Ondine and Scarbo have a mixture of darkness and color, a glittery effect. Ondine opens with a “beautiful starry night,” and Scarbo with “the moon glitters in the sky like a silver shield on an azure banner strewn with golden bees.” The only movement that does not sparkle in the darkness is Le Gibet, but this is appropriate since it is the slow movement.

Ravel even provided explicit instructions for the work’s emotional interpretation: “With ‘Scarbo’ and ‘Ondine’... it is fitting to bestow them with the sentimentality of Liszt and Chopin, whereas ‘Le Gibet’ should be played uniformly throughout, implacably, terrifying by its even simplicity” (Dubbiosi, 1967). Gaspard de la nuit fits together brilliantly, and each movement is an impressive enough rendering of Bertrand’s prose that the poetry may as well have been based on the music, and not the other way around.

“Gaspard has been a devil in coming, but that is only logical since it was he who is the author of the poems.”
“My ambition is to say with notes what a poet expresses with words.”
-Maurice Ravel (Dubbiosi).

To listen to Ondine from Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit