Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lego robots, driving north and piloting planes

The term one holidays are over and what a break it's been, if break is the right way to describe it. I do feel kind of broken.

It started, for me, with the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in Concert. The next day I joined Alex and his friend mountain biking at Wylde Park and managed to stack it, giving myself some painful bruises and scrapes. I think that's it for me and mountain biking.

While I worked for a few days Alex attended a couple of Lego EV3 Mindstorms robotics workshops at ANSTO. He especially enjoyed the sensing and data logging session.

Then it was holidays, with my longest time behind the wheel driving up to Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie and the Gold Coast.

I had one day of work in the final week and it felt like it was the whole week packing into that one day, while Alex and B went swimming at the Olympic Park Aquatic Centre. Maybe I developed an allergy to work, but I felt pretty sick over the weekend.

B, Alex, and Alex's friend drove down to Nowra for some adventures in the trees while I stayed home sick in bed, but was well enough the next day to visit the Flight Experience open day and spend some time in the 737 simulator.

We also visited the excellent Star Wars Identities exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum. The well constructed exhibits make you think about who you are and how you have been shaped. They also house some fascinating models, costumes and plans from the movies. The intricacies of the constructions have to be seen to be believed.

Back to work, back to karate for me on Monday, but one pupil-free day more for Alex. Now it's time to plan the next break.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in Concert

As the first school term of 2019 ends so another year of Harry Potter begins. As for my son, it's Year 5 for Harry and things are getting darker.

I'm at the Sydney Opera House with listening to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra play the soundtrack to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix while the movie is played on the big screen.

The charismatic Nicholas Buc conducts.

I've reviewed enough of these concerts now that it's difficult to write anything new. This is the first of Nicholas Hooper's two efforts in composing a Harry Potter score and I'm rather fond of the soundtrack.

There is a delicate touch to many of the compositions with plenty of tuned percussion from the xylophone family (I couldn't see from my row) and some strong string passages for the more dramatic moments. Very different from John Williams and Patrick Doyle's writing for the previous movies.

The only thing missing seemed to be the electric guitar in the Fireworks piece, though I need to confirm that in the movie as opposed to the soundtrack recording.

The live orchestra really enhanced my enjoyment of the soundtrack. It was lovely and clear against the visual backdrop and the Sydney Symphony did a fine job of performing what I suspect is some quite difficult music.

I'm looking forward to their next effort with Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince in July.

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