Entangled in Janacek’s tragedies and love affairs

The Quatuor Zaïde is a promising French ensemble. © Jean-Pierre Domingue/NoMadMusic
The Quatuor Zaïde is a promising French ensemble. © Jean-Pierre Domingue/NoMadMusic

What a loss! On August 12, 1928 the Czech composer Leos Janacek died. And shortly before his death, he produced two of the works that I am tempted to label as the best he wrote. Who knows, what masterpieces Janacek would have composed, had he lived on! The Quartet for strings No. 2 was completed in 1928, five years after the Quartet for strings No. 1. We have met Janacek already as the composer of that beautiful piano cycle “On an overgrown path”, performed by the Luxembourg pianist Cathy Krier. Today I would like to present the French Quatuor Zaïde and it’s interpretation of the two mentioned chamber music works. Continue reading!

Walking around with Rossini in the ear

Rossini's operas are a firework of energy and vitality. ©Charles Thibo
Rossini’s operas are a firework of energy and vitality. ©Charles Thibo

Decades ago, around 1985, I possessed a thing called “walkman”. It was the must-have gadget at the time: a small cassette player with earphones. Actually the first wearable device to listen to music. I was so proud of my white Sony WM-22 – later I had a black DD II model, the Rolls-Royce edition in a metal housing. And I listened to Rossini all the time.

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Lithuanian masterpieces on old cassette tapes

The "White Swan" of Kaunas actually is the town hall, not a church. © Charles Thibo
The “White Swan” of Kaunas actually is the town hall, not a church. © Charles Thibo

In 1992, just a few months after Lithuania had regained its independence from the Soviet Union, I visited my longtime penfriend Jolita Grizickaite in that Baltic republic, heir to the now forgotten but once mighty Polish-Lithuanian kingdom.

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