Beethoven in silk stockings and a wig

beethoven_trio
Vienna is my favourite town. © Charles Thibo

Those of you following me on Twitter know how often I am listening to the trios and quartets written by Ludwig van Beethoven, and I am surprised myself that I do  not write more frequently about him. But it is a fact that when I listen to those pieces, I forget about everything else. Ludwig would probably frown his eyes. He knew how important public relations were to get new commissions and earn a little money.

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Scouting out the cordon to hear Ravel

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Summer music – Ravel’s Boléro. © Charles Thibo

It all started with a fraud. We were three students: Ellen, Thomas and myself. It must have been in July during our last year at university or the year before. It was hot, and we were desperately looking for a way to sneak into an open air classic concert. Officially, the concert was sold out. Tickets were available on the black market, but at a price that none of us was willing to pay. So we scouted out the cordon around the Königsplatz in Munich to see if there was any spot through which we could enter the concert area. There wasn’t. Police and security teams everywhere, fences, barriers – no trespassing.

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Blogging and unearthing (almost) forgotten works

Rise and shine with the sun. © Charles Thibo

This is why I love to blog about music! This is how I like this blog to work. On Monday I started into the week with Julius Röntgen’s wonderful Violin Concerto in A minor and mentioned it in tweets and Facebook post. Seconds later a follower from Japan, the pianist Maya Asano, shared her enthusiasm for Röntgen, a not-so-well-known composer of the late 19th century. Here is what she wrote: “Nowadays it seems nobody knows him or his compositions eventhough his music has rich harmony and expressive description. I’m happy to see his name again in your blog. Thank you so much!”

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Hungary’s romantic heritage written in C

Loose yourself in Hubay's melodies as the sun slowly sets... © Charles Thibo
Loose yourself in Hubay’s melodies as the sun slowly sets… © Charles Thibo

Majestic introductions seem to have been the forte of the Hungarian composer Jeno Hubay. Take his Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor. Op. 21: wham-wham, wham-wham, wham-wham – the brass and the violins shake you through. A few minutes into the first movement, the solo violin finally provides some relief, and yet, vigorously played by the British violinist Chloë Hanslip, it underlines the message of Hubay: drama! He aptly called this piece “Concerto Dramatique”. This said, the second movement is one of nicest, softest and most gentle melodies I have ever heard. Music from a fairy tale…

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