Musical legacy from a beloved king

Almost a month ago on Oct 8, I attended “A Concert of Royal Compositions in Honour of the 60th Anniversary Celebrations of His Majesty’s Accession to the Throne” at the Victoria Concert Hall in Singapore. The tickets for this concert were made available, free-of-charge through the Royal Thai embassy and various channels. So I felt very fortunate to be able to obtain several passes to the concert because I heard there was a long waiting list of people interested in the concert but did not manage to get the tickets.

Organized by the Thai Ministry of Culture, Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Royal Thai Embassy, the concert is performed by the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra (BSO) and conducted by H.E. Rear Admiral M.L. Usni Pramoj, RTN., Privy Councillor. BSO has been touring the region to give goodwill concerts as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations of His Majesty’s Accession to the Throne as well as to promote bilateral ties and Thai culture. Singapore was the third stop in the region for BSO. It had earlier performed in Vietnam and Indonesia before moving on to the Philippines after Singapore.

King Bhumibol is a gifted composer and musician, and has gained numerous accolades internationally as an acclaimed jazz musician. To date, the talented King Bhimbibol has composed 48 royal pieces, but it was impossible to pack all these pieces into a two-hour concert. Therefore, BSO only performed a selected version of sixteen royal pieces with a focus on the clarinet, flute and French horn as some of the lead solos during the performance. Some of the royal pieces performed include “Alexandra”, “Lullaby”, “A Love Story”, “Royal Marines March”, “Magic Beams”, etc.

I must admit I am not very acquainted with classical music, but I certainly found the King’s pieces short, easy on the ears and tremendously enjoyable. The last royal piece “Can’t you ever see” has a distinctive jazz flavour to it, bringing the whole concert programme to a high note. When the last note sounded, the audience could not get enough of these melodious pieces and shouts of “encores” quickly resonated across the concert hall. To the delight of the audience, the conductor came back to conduct another two pieces.

I am really, really in awe of King Bhumibol! These royal compositions are indeed a musical legacy, a valuable extension to his good deeds for his people and the world. Kudos to BSO for such a delightful evening of royal music as all my friends, both Thais and Singaporeans alike enjoyed the concert tremendously. It was indeed phror maak maak (meaning very melodious in Thai).

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