Monday, 18 November 2002  
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Government - Gazette

Sunday Observer

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Painting exhibition Manu Ru Asiri

A unique exhibition of paintings Manu Ru Asiri, featuring the paintings of Sri Lankan artists and historical places will be opened at Taxila Central College auditorium on November 22 at 10.20 a.m It will continue on November 23 and 24 from 10.30 am. to 5.00 pm.

Tourism Minister Gamini Lokuge will be the Chief Guest and eminent journalist Dharmasiri Gamage is Guest of Honour on the opening day. The exhibition is open for school children and the public during the three days. This could be the very first exhibition of this nature, held in our country for the benefit of art lovers and painters, Prashan Deepthi Kumara an artist said. Prashan also said that this exhibition features our own artistes such as Malani Fonseka, Joe Abewickrama, Tony Ranasinghe, Dr. Lester James Peries and Mrs. Peries, Latha Walpola, Nanda Malini, Victor Ratnayaka and Premasiri Khemadasa.

He said at a time when Lankan artists ignored portrait paintings, he wanted to give a face lift to it.

The world renowned Sigiriya rock will be a prominently feature at the exhibition. The paintings of sigiriya were done by him after taking facts from Mahavansa and Chulavansa. Prashan has also carried out a number of research on Sigiriya. The research helped him to come out with class paintings of King Kassapa, his daughters Bodhi and Uthpalavanna and also Janaka, the official painter.

Educated at Takshila College, Horana, Prashan was guided by painter Chandragupta Tenuwara. He was also a singer and also worked for many teledramas as a Art Director. He had won an award for a painting sent to the Commonwealth Art Exhibition held in London in 1992.

- Ananda Kannangara


Music hath charms

"Music in itself is one of the greatest forces for breath in the homes"

- Ignace Jan Paderewski.

Music makes its appeal in execution to the emotions. It is also one intellectual study requiring the exercise of the clearest mental faculties.

What is musical talent? This is a question which is often asked. Musical talent, like all other talents is a gift of nature inherited, not acquired. A musician who has natural ability in music has been born with it. Any person designed by nature to be a great pianist must possess very highly co-ordinated physique.

Hands, arms, wrists, motor muscles controlling finger actions from the brain impulses must all be in a healthy condition and ready for the most ample technical development. In addition the undoubted presence of mental and other gifts must be of a very high order: of these a sense of absolute pitch must be one. Little children some times learn music because they love it. They are now being taught music and examined because music is more and more considered to be a real factor in every modern scheme of general education. Far too many children study music with a view to becoming great musicians, but it should be studies without any aim in view, except in the cases of marvellously talented children.

A child's first attempt to play at sight from printed music is rather complicated. Before he can strike any note on the piano he has (A) to decide on the alphabetical name of the note in the book. (B) to locate the note on the keyboard and (C) decide which finger to use to depress the key. At a later stage he has to, (a) Think of the duration of the note and (b) to consider whether note is to be loud or soft. Hence the teacher is faced with difficulties which can be overcome by careful attention to important principles of imparting knowledge to them. (1) By proceeding from the known to the unknown i.e. building constructions on something which already existing in the mind something with which he is already familiar. (2) By teaching one thing at a time.

Musical instruction to very young children should be given in exceedingly small quantities. At first little lessons of only ten minutes duration, gradually increasing the time until the little ones are old enough and strong enough to bear a more regular and longer course of tuition.

Adult pupils come to a music teacher for various reasons. Perhaps they merely wish to make up for a deficiency in their early education, or they may have an inclination to learn music regarding it as something which is likely to afford them fresh and delightful experiences.

There are some who like to become music pupils for the sake of being able to supplement generally. The musical instruction of the younger people, in the way of supervising their practice hours or by accompanying their songs, violin solos etc.

Those who cherish recollections of their musical instructions they received, will always be ready to do their best to create memories of the same kind in the minds of their pupils in the future; so able and dedicated teacher creates a ripple in the pool of sounds which grows in ever widening circles of purest pleasure though generations unknown.

As always I maintain that "Music is the food of love."

- Yvonne Keerthisinghe


Sri Lanka Symphony Orchestra's premiere concert

One demands of a public performance of serious music that it should prove to be competent, sensitive and powerful. If these three conditions or dimensions of performance are met, one is assured of enjoying the musical experience intended by the composer.

The test is to be able to shut one's eyes, shutting out the distracting visual effect, and find the purely auditory experience satisfying. I did this frequently throughout the concert and at all times found the music eminently listenable. There is a fourth dimension which, if fulfilled, raises a performance from the level of accomplishment to that of greatness.

This is when the performers achieve such a degree of identification with the music as to bring out not only its soul, its self-evident character, but its spirit itself, its underlying inspirational depths. However great a work may be, if the artistes fail to respond to that greatness, it will not come off as great in the performance. For instance, in the very week of the concert I listened in dismay over the radio while a pianist of the Western world tore through the concert, through the first movement of Beethoven's great "Hammerklavier" Sonata as if it were the last movement of the "Moonlight" Sonata, leaving it, as George Bernard Shaw would have said.

On the other hand, if the work itself lacks inherent greatness, no amount of competence, sensitivity and power on the part of the players can make it great in the performance. It is a question of deep calling unto deep.

If this fourth dimension was lacking in the first two of the three items comprising the programme, this was essential because these were not in themselves great works. The opening Nicolai Overture to "The Merry Wives of Windsor" is as pleasant a piece of noise as one could desire as an appetizer, but it is nothing more, still, the admirable verve and the precision with which it was played put us on notice that an accomplished orchestra was at work, and our appetites were whetted for the heavier fare to follow.

The second work, Beethoven's Triple (Piano, Violin, 'Cello) Concerto in C, carries the Opus No, 56, immediately following his ground-breaking 3rd "Erocia" Symphony, Op.55. Any who, like me, were unacquainted with the Triple and were hoping for great things on this score would have been disappointed.

To be sure, there was evidence of Beethoven enjoying some of the space he had opened up for himself in the "Eroica", such as the percussive use of the entire orchestra and the wide leaps and swings of the first movement.

However, the work as a whole lacks the creative depth and intensity we associate with the mature Beethoven. The orchestral performance, however, was outstanding in conveying the distinctive Beethoven flavour, texture and dynamism.

The virtuosity of the soloists, too, was evident. One particularly noticed that Ramya de Livera Perera was ever in command on the piano, playing well within her powers, that violinist Ananda Dabare's cantabile work was exquisite, and that Dushyanthi Perera's 'cello playing was pleasingly spirited. One's hope that the fourth dimension would finally emerge in the last work was not disappointed.

The "Enigma" Variations were for Elgar what the "Eroica" was for Beethoven, for these were the works in which these two composers came into their own. In the "Enigma", Elgar's creative imagination was freed from the tyranny of"occasional" composition to feed on genuinely personal experience, in this instance his feelings about the fourteen personalities, starting with his wife and ending with himself, whom the fourteen variations represent.

As such the theme is taken through an impressive variety of treatment, variously lyrical, dramatic, whimsical, narrative and heroic. Through it all, although we predictably failed to discover the hidden sub-theme at which Elgar had hinted, we discovered something of greater significance - namely, that essentially attractive and positive spirit at the roots of fin de siecle England, something far removed from the brash glorifications of Empire in which Elgar indulged elsewhere.

No doubt the soaring fourths and the drooping sevenths of the theme have a lot to do with Elgar's evocation of this genuinely and acceptably English spirit. The Variations have two peaks, first the long ninth variation where Elgar discovers and progressively uncovers the melodious heart of his theme in strains of an exalted beauty.

Next, the final variation, where the theme is transformed in a protracted outburst of majestic splendour which, for all its exuberance, maintains an inherent dignity and nobility. Of course, we could not have experienced all this if not for the orchestra's ability to interpret the music with technical and expressive prowess that rose to the occasion. It was a magnificent performance.

The Concert was a triumph of team-work where all the players more than pulled their own weight to ensure the overall success of the programme.

There was one star performer, however, and that was the conductor, Ajit Abeysekera. His unassuming manner obviously belies an insistence on excellence and a depth of interpretative insight that are truly impressive.

His ability to motivate his orchestra not only to accomplishment but to greatness of performance was itself a lesson in leadership. One now looks forward to a performance by this fine orchestral team of one of the really great works of Beethoven, perhaps the "Eroica" itself, or the fifth or the seventh symphony.

- Priya David


Share The Joy 2002

Daisy Vittachi and her students of the School of Hobby Craft will be holding their ninth annual exhibition of Patchwork and Needlecraft entitled "Share The Joy 2002" on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of November at the J. R. Jayewardene Centre, Colombo 7. A firm believer in "machine quilting", she has broken away from the traditional myth that quilting could only be done by hand. A caring teacher with lots of patience, Daisy teaches with great passion and tries to instill the same feeling she has for this craft into her students.

Daisy also conducts the only annual island-wide Patchwork and Needlecraft competition. This year's competition saw over 500 contestants taking part and was observed by over 4,000 people. Participants from all over Sri Lanka took part and everyone was awarded a certificate.

Among the items on display at "Share The Joy 2002", will be exhibits done by schoolchildren that attend Daisy's hobby craft classes during the school holiday.

Surprisingly, Daisy's students also include working ladies, many of whom are professionals, who made it a point to find the time to attend classes over the weekend and come forth with amazing creations of their own.


Compassion rocks the bottom of heart - Sathkampa

Film Review by E M G Edirisinghe

A not-so-common cinematic experience where compassion and sympathy treasured in the plot reflecting itself strongly in the subtext more in the form of yearning rather than a demand, is Chandrarathne Mapitigama's Sathkampa (Compassion). I see it as a movie well conceived but rather poorly executed.

Restrained and disciplined, collective acting mirroring peasant life within the arid atmosphere captured in picturesque compositions in long shots as well as medium shots, the film ends leaving an eerie impression in the viewer. The life and the rustic environment is a picture of quietude and simplicity written into its all aspects that made the film to emerge a representation of beauty and ascetism merging into a single unit.

Sathkampa is a celluloid journey of a man who was dreaming of an ideal woman in whom the role of a dutiful wife is unified in beautiful benign feminity thereby producing a woman who is both physical and emotional strength to him in his conjugal life. Dharmadasa (Sommie Ratnayake) finds his wife running the home, but was too nagging and rude to stand. She was such a nuisance that his dislike of her was brought into focus with his close-up portrayal with the ears shut with both of his hands.

Later he accidentally found a lonely woman (Kumari) in whom he instantly perceived what is missing in his wife. His image of his hard working wife and that of quiet composed Kumari merged into one in his mind which made him a complete man with physical as well as emotional needs in life being satisfied, and his will to live hardened considerably. Kumari (Sabeetha Perera) who arrived from nowhere into his life changed the content and course of his life which he relished in adoration of her physical presence.

The story is quite simple with no turns, twists and knots to squeese the viewer. But, the series of events leading to the eventual ruining of Dharmadasa's home and life in both literary and emotional sense, raises more questions than the answers it gives. What made the film-maker to bring the harsh reality of decadent political culture into play in its ruthless fury and relentless venom being let loose. The insatiable greed for power and position has spilled over to the periphery of quiet simple life in the village disturbing its life and environment of peace. This has prompted an element of incredulity being thrust upon the main plot with politics of violence adding a commercial tinge to the film which opened with a meritorious beginning.

However, the political colour in the film had given it semblance of superficiality which retards its natural and rhythmic flow of emotions in rural poor peasant home which finally erupted into the vagaries of political reality that destroyed the peaceful conservative life style of the people.

Thus the movement of the camera to capture life and works of the politician splits the movie into two phases. The fate of Dharmadasa, however, and his home is determined by the heavy presence of political violence and its spill-over.

Yet the murder of both Kumari and her husband is without justification; that makes it rather melodramatic towards the end. Nevertheless, the plot does not demand the murder of either. It is childish for Dharmadasa to hide Kumari at the hay-stack.

How long could she stay there, unnoticed by others at home? Outbursts of the politician (W. Jayasiri) are mere loud utterances without any justifiable reason. His very presence except in the scene where Kumari sets upon him, gives somewhat a superfluous thrust. The narrative refuses to hold him within its evolutionary content.

With the death of Kumari who was the soul of the ideal woman Dharme adored in his imagination and the disappearance of his wife who gave him the physical frame to that soul, the whole purpose of his mundane existence began to crumble.

At the very sight of his poor house on fire, he was screaming and weeping looking for his children, but with no such sentiments being expressed in respect of the wife. What could have been a strong penetrative cinematic study of a carter, emotional and slothful, whose disposition towards marriage is unconventional in the life of traditional village folk, unfortunately fizzles out to become melodramatic towards the end.

Consistent atmosphere of inward peasant life captured in beautiful landscape, offers no ambiguities to impel conflict within the plain life dominant in the surroundings.

But, suddenly the area was found full of people neatly combed, well clad and clean shaven assembling to witness the heroic return of Dharmadasa after wresting Kumari back from her abductors. This has stained the rustic tone and the subdued life style hitherto painted both environmentally and socially in this sleepy village.

The script finds itself losing grip on half-way of the movie. The fantastic start of the film is thus negated unable to hold on to the rhythm.

The performance of Sommie Rathnayake, Sabeetha Perera and Menike Aththanayake is commendable with however, none of them having a formidable challenging role to paly. Sathkampa is a good film any film-goer could like to enjoy.


Jagath's Anxiety in paintings

Jagath Weerasinghe presents a selected number of paintings, prints and drawings done during his four years in the States as a graduate student in painting at The American University from 1988 - 1992.

This body of work constitutes the background to his 1992 exhibition "Anxiety" shown at the National Gallery Colombo. The exhibition will open on November 23 at 7.00 p.m. at VAFA Gallery located at the Sarvodaya centre, on Kotte Road, Ethul Kotte.

The Gallery can be reached on bus routes 153, 168 and 163. Exhibition will remain open from November 24 to December 8 from 10 am to 7 pm.


Release of a new cassette

Release of a new cassette and a CD containing 16 songs composed by A. B. Lalith de Silva and launch of his latest book on Love ("Leo Tolstoy saha Premaya") will take place Monday, November 18 at the Public Library, Colombo.


Master Memory Workshop

Master Memory Workshop under the personal coaching of Prof. Lakshman Madurasinghe PhD, Consultant Psychologist will be held on November 19 (Poya) from 9 am - 4 pm. at SUNFO HOUSE, 160, Poorwarama Road, Colombo 5.


Triple explosion

A Mega Musical Show organised by the Lions Club's International District 306C with Desmond De Silva, Gypsies and Bobby & Spizy Girlz from Mumbai will be held at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium on Sunday, November 24 from 7 pm onwards.

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