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Sounds of Taiping

Taiping Lake Gardens is given a musical tribute through the Paul Baker’s orchestral suite titled ‘TAIPING’

Sounds of Taiping to hit Portsmouth stage

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 10 — The exuberance of the Taiping old market, the chatter at the local kopitiam, the serenity of the Taiping Lake Gardens and the majesty of Maxwell Hill will all be presented to an English audience, but not in a form that many are accustomed to seeing.

An orchestral suite titled “TAIPING” will be played by the Royal Marine Band at Portsmouth, England and will showcase the iconic town all through the melodies of a woodwind ensemble.

Award-winning composer Paul Baker, who currently resides in Petaling Jaya and composed “The Rising Son” musical, translated his love for Taiping onto a scoresheet in hopes that many others around the world would also fall in love with his favourite small town.
“That feeling of walking around, sitting, in food court with my ratty shirt like a Taiping uncle, eating Chinese food and watching the sunset over Lake Gardens, really, I’m in heaven when I’m there.

“So I try to bring all that, the sights, sounds, smells, I try to paint a picture through the music. Because really, it’s a hidden gem,” he said in a phone interview with Malay Mail Online.

The symphony will be presented in four parts that will convey life in Taiping’s old market, a kopitiam, Lake Gardens public park, and Maxwell Hill (now Bukit Larut) through sound.

“Initially, I sat down and really went through all the historic places in Taiping but I ended up choosing places I liked and stayed in my memory like walking around the market, and I just love Lake Gardens.

“The kopitiam is the coffee shop I always go to during Chinese New Year where I just sit and watch life revolve around me,” he said.

Baker added that it would have been easy to choose popular historical sites as locations to base his composition off, but said it would be clichéd and not convey the city in the manner he appreciated.


“I could’ve done the clock tower or the zoo but I chose things personal to me that I love and spend time there. Things I thought I could paint in music,” he said.

Along with the music will be a brief narration by local performing artist Patrick Teoh as well as pictures depicting the scenes as heard in the symphony.

Baker explained that he decided to compose TAIPING because he was dissatisfied with how little attention the town, which he saw as having a lot of offer, compared to other states like Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

“Whenever you’re travelling around, people come from the UK, they always go to KL and Penang but they don’t think of Taiping. And yes they push the zoo but there’s no real attempt by anyone to pull people in,” he said.

He explained that Taiping had plenty to offer in terms of tourist attractions as well as the overall atmosphere of the town, but little was done to market these to visitors.

“Because it’s so beautiful with nature, history; whatever publicity you do see about Taiping is rare and when you do see it, it’s fragmented.

“And it’s such a shame, Malacca does it very well, Ipoh is improving too but Perak’s tourism isn’t very effective,” he lamented.

But he suggested that the poor job of marketing could be intentional by those who wanted to keep Taiping’s beauty to themselves, and said he hope the suite will help to remedy some of these issues.

Baker’s TAIPING will be performed at the St Mary’s Church in Portsmouth on November 19 and is part of a series of winter concerts organised by the Royal Marines.

the malaymail online – October 10, 2015