Christmas just the way I like it served up

Christmas just the way I like it served up

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Americans sort of invented the glitzy Xmas as a lot of countries celebrate it, with its overflow of sparkly lights and its conspicuous consumption of gaudily wrapped gifts and gewgaws and overstuffed dinners at decorated tables. They gave us all of those Xmas songs that give the occasion a secular flavor and that enable all of us non-Christians to have a reason to sing along with it all; and in the 1930’s they (or rather Coca Cola) invented that fat man in the red suit and white beard so that we had an appropriate figurehead to make it all make sense to us.

And they invented Jazz.

So what better way to have a perfect start to the season than the Yamaha Jazz Christmas Night at the Opera House with the VNSO. It was like being an honored guest at the perfect Christmas dinner.

My glittering, if overly tinseled, metaphor takes shape thanks to the invitation handed out by that master of musical treats, the man who wields the magic baton, Tetsuji Honna.

The orchestra in their brightly colored silks and satins and flared and flashy ties were the gorgeous baubles on the tree as we began our festivities.

The table was set with bonbons supplied by early jazz pioneer Leyroy Anderson and they popped and sparkled and Fiddle Faddled and Tangoed and Pizzicatoed and Cat Waltzed sprightly and with the right amount of fizzy bubbles as in a welcoming glass of Tattinger champagne.

The guests mingled as exquisite Gershwin tone poem canapés were handed around. Fabulous flavors filled your imagination with visions of Gene Kelly, an American innocent abroad, dancing with the gamin Leslie Caron in the early dawning streets of Paris in the romantic late 1940’s.

Entree was served. A platter of Duke Ellington’s ‘Take the A Train’ was exuberantly presented by Yamashita Yosuke on the black and white keys with the soaring and mellifluent saxophonic assistance of Quyen Van Minh, Quyen Thien Dac and Nguyen Bao Long. The taste was so fabulous that at the end we couldn’t help but yell our bravos and applaud non stop until…

Yamashita served up the best main course of ‘A Rhapsody in Blue’ you could ever conceive. It was a Moet and Chandon interpretation of Gershwin’s famous recipe. A jazz maestro at his finger crackling best. The house’s Steinway has never had such an exciting work out. Superb, bravo, more, oi goi oi, we yelled and applauded so long and hard and loud and enthusiastically that the maestro served us the most exquisite dessert of jazzed up Christmas themed notes with an exhilarating saxophone topping that led to more non-stop applause and foot stamping that finally the hosts had to forcibly make us leave the Christmas table, replete and more than merrily satisfied.

A fabulous orchestral event.

Not a reviewer, not a critic, “Kiếm Văn Tìm” is an interested, impartial and informed observer and connoisseur of the Hanoi art scene who offers highly opinionated remarks and is part of the long and venerable tradition of anonymous correspondents. Please add your thoughts in the comment field below.

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