Drifting Away with Franck and Baudelaire

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Setting sail. © Charles Thibo

That tension. That calmness. That odd unity of conflicting emotions I sensed in César Franck’s Piano Trio Concertant No. 1, I also find it in his Piano Trio Concertant No. 3 in B Minor. The piano sets forth the forceful rhythm and the timbre while the violin and the cello weave their deliciously lyrical melodies, at times plaintful, at times reassuring. A piece of ravishing beauty that I did discover only very recently,  I must admit. But it is never to late to discover excellence.

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A Tribute to the Cultural Heritage of Brittany

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Spiritual comfort. © Charles Thibo

I have introduced the composer Joseph Guy Ropartz already to you, so we can go straight to the matter. One of the reasons I like Ropartz is the fact that we are both infatuated with la Bretagne, Brittany. Ah, la Bretagne… a very special place. The wind, the dramatic coastline, the emerald colour of the sea, the crèpes – so many things to love about Brittany. And then there is the music, the Celtic heritage and Ropartz’ composition deeply imbued by this tradition.

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A Composer Imbued by the Northern Mythology

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Sea of myths. © Charles Thibo

Less than two weeks ago, few people on earth knew about Mount Ok. Mount Ok is a volcano located in Iceland, and scientists followed with fascination and horror the evolution of its glacier Okjoküll. Mount Ok and its glacier made it into the news because the glacier is gone by now. Okjoküll is a victim of man-made climate change, he melted and finally became what glaciologists call “dead ice”. Glaciers move through their sheer weight and when they have shrunk so far that they stop moving, they are no longer considered as glaciers. The disappearance of Okjoküll was commemorated by an official ceremony as a sign of what is to be expected in the Alps, in the Rocky Mountains and in the Antarctic. A warning, one more.

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Serene Anxiety upon an Inspiration by Bach

I would like to hope that this summer will be a summer of peace, despite the drum beats in different parts of the world. I wish this summer could be devoted to the contemplation of the beauty of nature and of mankind’s cultural achievements. I wish it could inspire policy makers to realize that in a globalized world, pitting one nation against the other is a zero-sum game, inviting to revenge, and will ultimately lead to a loose-loose situation. Global issues need to be addressed in a comprehensive way and in a spirit of cooperation. There is no planet B. For nobody.

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