Monday 16 January 2012


Bukit Damai is a historical "black and white" bungalow house located on Royal Road in Alexandra Park, dating from the days of the British Raj. A British Raj still resides there, except most of us refer to him as Neil Franks, that retired oil-man who now turns his attention to triathlon and Iron Man competitions, building palatial villas, organising soirees and music festivals, and pursuing things musical and beautiful. Music @ Bukit Damai is a series of impromptu music events where his guests get to play anything on two pianos, before tucking into a sumptuous Indian buffet spread and alcohol...

It's still daytime when the soiree begins with Neil and his teacher Boris Kraljevic take on Beethoven's Sonata in D major (Op.6) for four hands. Its not exactly Op.111, but its lots of fun (especially when the opening theme looks ahead to the Fifth Symphony!)
Tou Liang still can't quite figure out Brahms' Intermezzo
in A major (Op.118 No.2), so he inflicts it yet again
on an unsuspecting audience.
Another Sonata in D major, this time by Mozart,
from Boris and visiting Oxford don George Rousseau.
Music on two pianos, now Poulenc's Elegie,
from Neil and Boris.
Four becomes six hands, for Percy Grainger's
Zanzibar Boat Song, now one of the Bukit Damai favourites.
The most difficult part belongs to the guy in the centre. 
Neil is now an old hand in Liszt's Petrarch Sonnet No.123.
Rachmaninov's Romance for 6 hands,
written for the Skalon sisters.
More Rachmaninov, the 18th Variation from the
Paganini Rhapsody.Neil plays the solo part.
George the historian plays one of D.Scarlatti's
581 Sonatas, a melancholic one.
Performers making a last stand. There's going to be more
8 hands piano music during and after the dinner,
but the audience has yet to find out.
Positively the last item to placate the hungry throng,
nothing is more lively than Wilhelm Ganz's
grand tango de concert Qui Vive. Then its dinner time!

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