Bach’s Universalism and the Lessons of Munich

Munich_blck

I studied in Munich. I learned to love the town and its people. So many funny souvenirs. A great academic experience. So many people I met there; they quickly became friends and most of them still are friends. My thoughts are with the victims, their relatives and the traumatized citizen who witnessed directly or through the media the shooting yesterday at Olympia-Einkaufszentrum. It is not the first time that the Olympic arena becomes sullied by blood. In 1972, during the Summer Olympics, Palestinian terrorists killed several Jewish athletes during a brutal kidnapping action. 44 years later, a murderer, born and raised in Germany, leaves again a trail of devastation on the ground.

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Mendelssohn’s Nostalgic Summer of 1844

No, the summer isn't over, but still... © Charles Thibo
The blue flower – symbol of German Romanticism. © Charles Thibo

Nostalgia speaks out of the first few bars played by the violin. Nostalgia for what? Well, there is no time to reflect it, because life cuts in, bam, and carries the yearning away – physicians would say reality sublimes the memory of the past, elevates it to a higher rank, makes it look better than it actually was, and what else would you expect from a Romantic composer? Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy composed in 1844 his Violin Concerto in E Minor, op. 64, and when performed by Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig under Kurt Masur it carries me away. And each time I listen to it, it sounds better. No need for a sublimation here!

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A Spanish Tragedy in the Embassy’s Office

Stones, sand and olive trees. © Charles Thibo
Stones, sand and olive trees. © Charles Thibo

In the early 90s, I did an internship at Luxembourg’s diplomatic mission in Geneva. Since Geneva was (and still is) an expensive place, I often stayed at the office for my lunch break to eat a sandwich. And since the head of the mission was often away, I had a lot of time to go through the diplomat’s CD collection. The man had excellent taste as far as I can remember, and it is through him that I learned about the Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo (1901–1999) and his Concierto de Aranjuez. It was love right from the beginning! It became a lasting souvenir.

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Pioneering with Luminosity and Zero Gravity

Mozart's piano music is a source of light for dark hours. © Charles Thibo
Mozart’s piano music is a source of light for dark hours. © Charles Thibo

Luminosity. In astronomy, luminosity is the total amount of energy emitted by a star, galaxy, or other astronomical object per unit time. This star has been emitting a lot of energy for over 200 years, and this work comes close to the luminosity of our sun. In 1782, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed Piano Concerto No. 12 in A Major, KV. 414, and my recording of Edna Stern and the Orchstre d’Auvergne  has brightened up many a day.

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