About Violence, Sorrow and Questions

I am on a train and I just read the news. I read about the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. A politician declared it being an attack on New Zealand’s multi-ethnicity. An attack on the open society as such. I agree. And I feel sorry for the victims. I also feel sorry for the perpetrators. Lost souls seeking revenge… for what? For being? For the world being what it is? For not finding any other sense in their life than taking someone else’s life?

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Schumann Uprooted for a Society in Uproar

State of oppression. © Charles Thibo

A few weeks ago I met several hundreds of “gilets jaunes”. Protesters in yellow warning jackets marching through the streets of a French town. Angry faces, frustrated faces. Men and women of all ages. Violence was in the air, policemen were taking up their positions. “La France en colère” – France in anger. Initially the marchers protested against rising petrol prices. Through its tax increase the government however released all the frustration of France’s struggling middle class and the aggressivity of the working class. The victims – real or presumed – of a deregulated and destabilised economy feel ignored by the ruling elites in Paris. It’s about us and them and the feeling of alienation.

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Evolution Yes, Revolution No!

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Composition in Blue. © Charles Thibo

Something new, definitely. A premiere for me. Interesting, stimulating. It made me reflect my expectations. It immediately connected to my emotions. I felt there was a message, but initially I saw only the outlines, the details needed time to become visible. A piece growing organically out of itself. Harsh contrasts, gentle melodies, progression… Henri Dutilleux’ orchestral piece “Métaboles”, that I heard yesterday at the Philharmonie de Luxembourg, was a pleasant surprise.

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Kafka, Schönberg, a Piano and the Question of Fear

No entry. © Charles Thibo

Not so long ago I visited the Franz Kafka Museum in Prague. The exhibition follows a transparent concept, it provides the geographical context of both Kafka’s life and his novels through audio-visual installations, historic pictures and reproductions of original documents i.e. Kafka’s letters, guide-lines he wrote for the insurance company that employed him, first editions of his novels. Two elements stand out: the scale model of the torture instrument in “The Penal Colony” and a video-installation about the novel “The Castle”. This short and scary black-and-white movie, accompanied by equally scary piano music send a couple of shivers down my spine. A castle with high walls, hostile looking people, a menacing isolated figure in a tavern… fear. I felt the inspiration for a post coming, focused on the subject of fear.

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