Sunday 19 November 2023



Music and Makan

Sentosa Nature Discovery

Saturday (18 November 2023)

After a hiatus caused by the Covid pandemic, Music and Makan, the unique platform that presents classical music alongside food founded by cellist Beverly Hiong, has made a welcome return. This time, its presentation takes place at the unusual location of Sentosa Nature Discovery, a quiet and secluded corner of the tourist-swarmed resort island of Sentosa. It is a literal hike, involving multiple stairways and ramps, to get there but the trek was well worth the effort.

M&M founder Beverly Hiong
introduces the concert and performers.

The hour-long concert was given by flautist Shirley Tong and pianist Jonathan Shin, built on a theme of birds and nature. And how appropriate the setting was, as the "hanging pavilion" of the venue was set amid lush greenery on the Sentosa hillside. An abandoned miniature golf course could be spotted but the balcony was camouflaged within a canopy of verdant vegetation that looked both exotic and welcoming.

Opening with the slow 2nd movement from Jules Mouquet's La Flute de Pan, birdsong was mimicked with much beauty. Both Shirley and Jonathan took turns to introduce the pieces, and did so with informality and humour. The children in the audience were clearly appreciative and showed it in their generally impeccable behaviour.

Two movements from Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals were heard, including the restlessly fluttering Volaires (Birds) and the graceful Le Cygne (The Swan). The logical follow-up was pianist Shin's The Other Swan, which cleverly played on an inversion of the Saint-Saens theme, which now sounded something from Faure or Debussy.

Also on the cards were Balleron's The Noisy Bird, Wilhelm Popp's Nightingale Serenade and Gordon Jacob's On A Summer Evening, all evocative miniatures, and as if to further spice up the concert, the heavens opened for a torrential downpour which added to the atmosphere of the occasion. This did little to dampen the occasion, as both musicians played their hearts out. The rain had to stop sometime, and this cleared up as gratefully as in Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony

Closing the evening were some true classics, including J.S.Bach's witty little Two Part Invention No.8 in F major, where flute and piano accounted for the right and left hands of the keyboard. Mozart's famous Andante in C major was the longest work on the programme, dressed up in typical rococo beauty before Vivaldi's Flute Concerto in D major or Il Gardellino (The Little Gardener) provided a spirited conclusion.


Following the music was a show and tell session by Gastrogeography of Singapore which replaced the customary chow-down. This presentation was a demonstration of common roadside trees and plants "hidden in plain sight" could be possible sources of sustenance, with homemade recipes of drinks, jams and sambal pastes being sampled. The original plants including nutmeg, galangal (ginger) and herbs were passed around to be smelled and tasted. Whoever knew much of our favourite Peranakan dishes came from such humble origins?

Whoever knew what an actual
nutmeg looked like?

Kids get to try a jam 
made from rukam masam.

Again, Music and Makan have come up with another winning formula. There will be two more sessions held at this unique venue, now featuring a string trio in the programme What Lies Beneath, on 25 November and 2 December (both Saturdays), and tickets may be purchased here: 

Discovery of Music and Nature (

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