A couple of years, I looked on somewhat bemusedly as well as amusedly as a couple of my friends of mine had tears running down their faces at a Tsai Chin concert that I enjoyed immensely yet seemingly not on the same level and way as them. So I can only imagine how they'd react upon hearing that yesterday at the Yo-Yo Ma and HKCO (i.e., Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra) concert, the Chinese-American cellist's sublime music-making literally moved me to tears.
(And I also can only imagine how they -- at least one of whom I know to have an even greater love of classical music than me -- would have reacted to being at what is only the second concert I've been to in Hong Kong in which people gave the performers standing ovations. This, more than incidentally, on top of it being one which had ended up including three encore performances.)
The thing is -- usually, it's 'only' movies that can make me cry. And, in fact, in the past month, I've viewed a couple of movies that caused me to tear up quite a bit. After viewing the paean to motherhood that is Jacob Cheung's Ticket (2008), my eyes were wet with tears. So much so that I felt compelled to explain to a couple of friends I encountered a few minutes after the screening that that's why I may have looked funny (rather than because something bad had happened in my life recently)!
Nonetheless, my reaction to Ticket was mild in comparison to the Japanese tearjerkers supreme that are Always: Sunset on Third Street (2005) and its sequel, Always: Sunset on Third Street 2 (2007). In all honesty, I found myself weeping so hard when viewing the latter that I actually experienced difficulty breathing and, at the end of the screening, bolted to the toilet to throw water on and thoroughly wash my face! And often, these weren't even tears of sadness but of other emotions, including joy!!
Returning to music, in particular that produced by Yo-Yo Ma and his cello though: Since coming to Hong Kong, I've had the privilege of attending concerts featuring other famed musicians like violinists Midori Goto and her younger brother Ryu (the latter of whose concert I must confess to having enjoyed more than his considerably more celebrated older sister), cellist Trey Lee and pianist Joanna MacGregor (the last of whom was the first musician I saw earn a standing ovation in Hong Kong). But while I found myself admiring the others' virtuosity, with Ma, I really found myself feeling deeply moved by the sounds that he produced from his cello.
So much so that even though this weekend also has included a near-miraculous Arsenal victory over Manchester United and a wonderful hike on Lantau Island in ideal conditions as far as temperature and air quality goes, it's the concert that I consider to be its highlight. And yes, if there should be any doubt, I do consider this to be very high praise indeed!