French-Italian sound painting of modern life

Vassily Kandinsky's painting "Rot Gelb Blau"
Vassily Kandinsky’s painting “Rot Gelb Blau”

Look and listen: The French Quatuor Zaïde at the Philharmonie de Luxembourg! Charlotte Juillard (violin), Leslie Boulin-Raulet (violin), Sarah Chenaf (viola) and Juliette Salmona (cello) performed yesterday evening “Secondo Quartetto”, a young Italian composer’s new work. Francesca Verunelli has written it specifically for the European Concert Halls Organization’s (ECHO) “Rising Stars” program 2015/16 and the French quartet.

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Composing while death is knocking on the door

The Austrian painter Egon Schiele painted Death embracing a maiden in 1915/16.
The Austrian painter Egon Schiele painted Death embracing a maiden in 1915/16.

Death – one of the mysteries of life. A recurrent subject for painters, sculptors, poets and composers. The Austrian composer Franz Schubert (1797-1828) was obsessed by this subject, perfectly in line with other creative geniuses during the German Romantic period. In 1817 he set to music “Death and the Maiden”, a poem by the writer Matthias Claudius.

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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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