"It's not just for children", I insisted to my German friend
prior to my dragging her to view Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea
, the Hayao Miyazaki cinematic gem that first reached Hong Kong in January, 2009. And even though I had her convinced after she realized that the film screening we went to had far more adults than children at it, I still wish she could have been here in Hong Kong last night to go with me and witness the Ponyo theme song being one of the highlights of a Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
concert (that was so enthusiastically received that it got three encores and its conductor-guest star a standing ovation by show's end).
Needless to say, this was no ordinary Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra concert -- not least since tickets for it sold out months before its program was even announced on the strength of the name of its conductor and main draw alone. Thus it was that upon fortuitously having scored a ticket for last night's Joe Hisaishi in Concert
performance, I found myself impatiently checking out what was on the evening's programme -- and exulting to see Ponyo (along with music from Kiki's Delivery Service
and two Oscar winners in the form of Spirited Away
) in there... even while feeling a bit disappointed to see no music from My Neighbor Totoro
on the official list.
Happily, however, that music from My Neighbor Totoro
did indeed get played before the concert drew a close. And while I did very much enjoy a lot on the programme (including the composer's African-inspired, percussion-heavy Mkwaju 1981-2009
and the musical piece from Nobuhiko Obyashi's Water Traveller
) and found a big grin plant itself on my face upon hearing the Ponyo theme song being played by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, I have to truthfully state that hearing the My Neighbor Totoro
music being played represented the highlight of the evening for me -- and actually caused me to cry with happiness!
In addition, there is something really precious about being able to not only see and hear the composer of music you love so but also thank him by way of thunderous applause and a standing ovation. And call me a philistine but, in all honesty, give me the music of Joe Hisaishi
over many other composers -- including not only many other his contemporaries but also classical music luminaries like Bartok
(whose music has literally given me a migraine on more than one occasion!) -- most any day!
On a related note: I'm not sure if it's pure coincidence but this week also happens to be the start of a two week Studio Ghibli
Film Festival here in Hong Kong! And yes, I have tickets to some of the screenings -- including for My Neighbor Totoro
on one of the JP Cinema's super big screens!! (And while there's no Ponyo on the film festival programme, I'm happy enough to content myself with the thought that I will -- if everything goes as scheduled* -- soon be getting my first viewing of My Neighbors the Yamadas
and have the opportunity to view Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
on a big screen for the first time! :b )
*Newsflash: Well, I went to see My Neighbors the Yamadas
this evening but while the screening began on schedule, I was shocked to discover that the film -- contrary to the information on such as the cinema chain's official website
-- was being shown without English subtitles. After complaining to the manager (and getting my ticket refunded), discovered that is also the case with Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
. Alternatively, he wasn't sure about My Neighbor Totoro
** as it is being shown at another of the chain's multiplexes... :(((
**Latest update: Yay, yay, yay, they did
show My Neighbor Totoro
with English as well as Chinese subtitles!!! And yes, it really is super wonderful to view on a big screen. :))))))