English Blog

Johann Sebastian Bach – 333rd Birthday! 3/15/18

March 16, 2018

Have you noticed J. S. Bach will celebrate his 333rd birthday in few weeks! All of pianists (including me!) grow up with substantial amount of Bach’s music. We start with Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach, then Inventions and Sinfonias. When I finished 15 inventions my teacher told me that I need to study all of them again! That was quite shocking! But I did not have any other choice so I did it again. Oh well! Then some of miscellaneous pieces and suites. I was very lucky to have Bach’s assignments every week, going with etudes and pieces. In lessons I brought Bach’s piece with some kind of analyses for the first week, and memorized for the second week. When I reached WTC that was monumental. And the story continued! One of highlight in my life was to play Goldberg Variations with candle light at Los Angeles Bach Festival. The place was packed and when I finished the area at the end that feeling!! I can’t forget. Life is good! The long journey is over with joy and happiness, and satisfaction.

Easter is coming up soon. There is a beautiful J. S. Bach’s music, O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht, BWV 118. The text is:

O Jesus Christ, light of my life,

my refuge, my comfort, my reassurance,

on earth I am only a guest

And the burden of sin presses down heavily upon me.

Martin Behm (1557- 1622)

A Movie “King of Hearts” 3/11/18

March 12, 2018

“King of Hearts” is a 1966 French comedy-drama film directed by Philippe de Broca. 50 years after the original film release, the movie is shown in a beautiful new 4k restoration. I did not know that “King of Hearts” has been a world wide cult favorite movie and it has been attracting the audience around the world! It is my first experience with this movie! It is very quirky and colorful, silly and truthful. The wits in the movie reminds me Monty Python (I confess that I am a big fan of MP). They share a similar tone of voice! During the World War I, Scottish soldier Private Plumpick is sent on a mission to a French village in the countryside to disarm a bomb set by the German army. Plumpick meets escapees from the local asylum who are the only people left in the village….. Who would tell the truth?? You have to see the movie! I strongly recommend this movie (especially if you like Monty Python!).

A Book “The Complete Correspondence of Clara and Robert Schumann” 2/18/18

February 18, 2018

This is the book I have been wanting to read! There are 2 volumes and it is really a complete correspondence. Eva Weissweiler has edited and Hildegard Fritsch and Ronald Crawford have translated into English. Thanks to my university! They let me have this book for a long period of time. We learn so many things from their letters, not only their lives, but also the lives of musicians in 19th century. I enjoy reading several letters a day and imagine their lives! It will take me for a while to complete reading it!

I am little envious to Clara and Robert. They write everything in their letters. They don’t hide their struggles, negative feelings, and complaining. I suppose they did not need to hide their feelings and emotions in their relationship. They cry, they laugh, they make jokes, they love, they do everything together!

Because of their long separations (before their marriage) their letters were often like essays. They spoke each other in their letters, longing and yearning. In one letter Clara writes ” You will crown me with the most beautiful wreath, the myrtle wreath..” When Robert composed his song collection Op. 25 he named “Myrthen (Myrtle) and dedicated to Clara in the year they got married. (By the way I have been playing Davidsbundlertanze recently and I hear Widmung – the first piece in Myrthen – in No. 6 of Book II in Davidsbundlertanze!!) The myrtle wreath is a symbol of love and it is quite an amazing naming for a gift to a new bride, Clara! Clara and Robert used their compositions as their love letters as well. Their lives give me a never-ending fantasy!

Piano Concert “Romance on Piano” Sat. 2/17 at 4pm

February 15, 2018

I am excited to perform this program this Saturday, 2/17 at 4pm, as a part of the concert series 3rd@1st. I have been coordinating this series and it is the 4th season! I am delighted to see the increase of audience and I really appreciate to all of donors to support the series. Thank you!!

The program will include Schumann: Davidsbundlertanze, Liszt: Rigoletto Paraphrase, Brahms: Klavierstucke Op. 118, and Chopin: Andante spianato et Grand Polonaise brillante, Op. 22. (Please forgive me I did not add German accents) I will share anecdotes and my personal attachment to the pieces during the concert. I hope you can join me to meet Schumann, Liszt, Brahms and Chopin! (http://fumcpasadena.org/news-events/thirdfirst/)

Ash Wednesday, beginning of the Holy Lenten Season

February 15, 2018

Prayer (based on a prayer by St. Ambrose of Milan)

O Lord, who has mercy on all, heal me, renew me, reconfigure me. Mercifully kindle in me the fire of your Holy Spirit, O God. Take away from me the heart of stone. Give me a heart of flesh, a heart to love and adore you, to delight in you, to follow and enjoy you, for Christ’ sake, Amen.

Bernstein “Mass” with Dudamel and LA Phil 2/3/18

February 3, 2018

Bernstein himself arranged 3 meditations from “Mass” for cello and piano, and I have played it for several occasions. Now things make more sense to me after attending the dress rehearsal of “Mass” at Disney Concert Hall with Dudamel, LA Phil, LA Master Chorale, LA Children’s Chorus, UCLA Wind Ensemble Players (marching band), 22 singers, 7 dancers, and 158 props and 6 stage set pieces! It is totally extravaganza! Bernstein composed ‘Mass” in 1971 in the time of confusion in America. He combined avant-garde attitude, rock band, Broadway style songs and music, organ and electric keyboards, and so many effects and craziness! From the first note I was mesmerized by the massiveness and saturated stage! There are so much to observe simultaneously. Bernstein is of course so genius to create this new approach in music, using “Mass” (religious service) to voice out the struggle in the society. The production is just amazing, so colorful and so much energy! I loved it! Also all of musicians and singers are fantastic.  But once the excitement is receding we start to listen music more closely, every note and every word. And we will face to ourselves, “What is this??” This massiveness is so related to the saturated society where we live currently. Where is the truth?

Movie “In The Fade (Aus dem Nichts)” 1/15/18

January 15, 2018

Katja (Diane Kruger) suddenly lost everything, her husband, Nuri, and little son, Rocco, with a bomb attack setting in front of Nuri’s office. Her friends and family try to give her the support she needs, and Katja manages through difficulty (with the help of drugs…). Eventually she set herself to revenge the killers. Well…. it is really amazing to see Diane Kruger’s committed and emotional work. Also the theme “hate crime” is appealing. But the story is not convincing, and there are many moments I had questions. Why does her trial lawyer give her drugs before the trial, putting both of them in very vulnerable situation? Why could ex-drug dealer (her husband) get a very descent and independent office and could afford a fancy car and fancy house while Katja is a full-time mother? There are much more questions!

Christmas Prayer with “Christmas Night” by John Rutter 12/25/17

December 25, 2017

Softly through the winter’s darkness shines a light,

Clear and still in Bethlehem on Christmas Night

Round the stable where a virgin mother mild

Watches over Jesus Christ the holy child.


Shepherds kneel in adoration by his bed,

Seraphim in glory hover round his head.

Wise men, guided by the leading of a star,

Bring him gifts of precious treasure from afar.


Choirs of angels sing to greet his wondrous birth:

Christ our Lord in human form comes down to earth.

“Glory to God in highest heav’n” their joyful strain,

“Peace on earth, goodwill to all” the glad refrain.


Lullaby! the child lies sleeping: sing lullaby!

Safe in Mary’s tender keeping: sing lullaby!

Guardian angels keep their watch till break of day:

Lullaby! sweet Jesus sleeps among the hay.


Alleluia! let the earth rejoice today!

Christ is born to take our sins and guilt away.

Praise the Lord who sent him down from heav’n above.

Holy infant, born of God the Father’s love.



A Movie “The Disaster Artist” 12/11/17

December 11, 2017

If you want to laugh out during a crazy holiday season please see this movie. I guarantee you will laugh hard! It is unbelievable that this movie is truly (!) based on the true story! You have to see it!

A Movie “1945” 11/30/17

November 30, 2017

Directed by Ferenc Török, and written by Ferenc Török and Gabor Szántó, a movie “1945” is in a black-and-white drama set with the immediate postwar period in rural Hungary. It is in minimalistic and beautiful color. This adaptation of the short story “the Homecoming from co-screenwriter Gabor Szántó depicts how a town feels about having moved into the homes and started eating off the beautiful plates and using the ornate utensils of the Jews that vanished during the WWII. On an August day in 1945, villagers are busy preparing for the wedding of the town clerk’s son. Meanwhile, two Orthodox Jews, elderly father and adult son, arrive at the village train station with mysterious boxes labeled “fragrances.” The station sheriff rushed to the village and told the town clerk. The town clerk fears the men may be heirs of the village’s deported Jews and expects them to demand their illegally acquired property back. Other villagers are afraid more survivors will come, posing a threat to the property and possessions they have claimed as their own.

I don’t want to go over everything. Tibor Szemzö’s music adds an important element in the movie, reminding me Bloch’s music. It is definitely one of the best movies of the year. I am still moved…