Saturday, 23 February 2013


All good things have to come to an end sometime. The musical community of Singapore bade a touching farewell to an institution that has come to represent a happy confluence of the professional and amateur piano communities in Singapore. After spending 30 extremely fruitful years in Singapore, Neil Franks and his wife Debbie are returning to England. For the record, Neil has been very active in the amateur music making scene in Singapore, having been a tenor in the International Festival Chorus and Singapore Symphony Chorus (besides being its coach in the Hebrew language for Schoenberg's A Survivor from Warsaw), and a Director of the Singapore Lyric Opera. The Franks have also held fund-raising musical events in aid of the Singapore Lyric Opera in their home. 

The Friday evening of 22 February marked an end to an era of happy music making in 7 Royal Road, the historic black and white mansion on Alexandra Park known as Bukit Damai. There was music-making galore to be sure. The programme below gives an indication to the pain-staking efforts put in by the host Neil Franks in trying to get six pianists together for a musical bash.

The evening began with Neil Franks and his teacher 
Boris Kraljevic in two Slavonic Dances (Op.72)  by Dvorak.

Neil with Etienne Chenevier in Carl Bohm's Brise Printaniere
for 8 hands on 2 pianos.

Boris Kraljevic performed the only solo of the evening, 
Debussy's Bruyeres.

The audience's view of the Fantasy on Themes 
from Bizet's Carmenarranged by Mack Wilberg.

TL and Boris played the second piano part of  
Rossini's William Tell Overture
Silly fun for 6 hands, Godard's Scaramouche 
arranged by John Rippin.

David Mayo and Ed Manser with  The Hippopotamus and 
I Went To a Marvellous  Party by Flanders and Swann, 
accompanied by Neil on the piano.

Truly the Last Night of the Bukit Damai Proms, 
with Elgar's Pomp and Circumcision March No.1 (Neil's title), 
the Land of Hope and Glory.
Pianophiles unite: Boris, Benjamin Loh, Neil and TL.
Till we meet again!

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