It’s party time and I will have no party without proper music. So here we go, bridging the nowadays-not-so-large-anymore gulf between classical music and jazz. I invited my very good friend Dmitry to this occasion, so please, take a few minutes, and with his Suite for Jazz Orchestra No. 1 we will celebrate the fact that another year of a thrilling life – mine – has gone by. May there be many more. Here’s a toast to Dmitry Shostakovich, one of my favourite composers, and to Riccardo Chailly and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, who have recorded the piece!
The other day I felt tired, miserable, distressed. I felt like hiding from the hideous world, from which I felt totally disconnected. Hiding – but where? Johann Sebastian Bach’s music is a good place to hide, a sanctuary of singular beauty, where I always feel welcome, where I can stop thinking, where I don’t have to talk or to explain or justify. In the realm of Bach I can be. To be, to exist, without any conditions attached to it – philosophers from Parmenides to Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel have struggled with the concept. How good it feels to be permeated by Bach’s Concerto for two Harpsichords, Strings and Continuo in C minor (BWV 1060), to forget reality and to contemplate Beauty, Purity, Eternity.
Illustrating this post required some undercover work. I had the idea to write something about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Serenade for Winds and Strings in D major “Posthorn” (KV 320) since last year’s summer. And I knew that many years ago, postmen in Luxembourg wore caps with a posthorn. Nowadays, they wear basecaps with a modern logo that has no charm at all. So where could I get a picture of such a cap? The post museum was one option, but all the stuff is exhibited behind protective and reflecting glass.
Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major (Op. 53) is one of those ambitions of mine. Some day in the future, I will be able to play this overwhelming piece. Overwhelming because it overwhelms me each time I listen to it. Overwhelming because it commands respect to the apprentice I still am. This love affair started with a recording by Alice Sara Ott. I moved on to the release of Emil Gilels’ performance and ended up with Alfred Brendel’s recording, apparently the gold standard when it cones to Beethoven interpretation.