A Danish prelude to the summer

Summerdays Langgaard.jpg
The summer shows its flags.  © Charles Thibo

More and more I start to appreciate very simple joys like a beautiful flower in our garden, a special pattern of the clouds in the sky, the play of light and shadows in the wood… Over the years, our sword flags have become a favourite object of contemplation of mine. Delicacy and fiery passion intertwined, the sweetness and the heat of the summer mirrored in a single plant. They are truly the queens of the garden at the moment of their blossoming.

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Sheherazade – Only smart women survive

Sheherazade painted by Sophie G. Anderson.

Sheherazade was a sex slave. She had no rights, not even the right to live. What kept her safe from her murderous husband was her intelligence and her imagination. Night after night she would tell Sultan Rashid a tale and thus live one more day. A smart woman countering a violent man – what a timely subject. What a timely composition. What a fantastic piece of music.

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Pleyel writes “better music” for the colonists

Summer music. © Charles Thibo

Occasionally my research for this blog uncovers information that truly makes me laugh out loud. Here’s a delightful detail. The 18th-century composer Ignaz Joseph Pleyel was an extremely business-orientated man, and, unlike many of his colleagues, very successful at that. He did not only get rich by publishing and printing other composers’ work and by selling pianos built in his own factory. He wrote some of his concertos in different versions, each time for a different solo instrument. Very efficient. I wonder whether he had also had a discount policy, something like: “Buy the concert versions for clarinet and flute and get the cello version for free!”

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Overcoming the absurdity of life

The force of life. © Charles Thibo

Serenity and joy – those were the emotions that I felt after I had listened several times to Bedrich Smetana’s Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 15. Interesting when sou consider that the composer wrote this piece st a moment of incomparable sorrow. “The death of my eldest daughter, an exceptionally talented child, motivated me to compose my Trio in G minor”, he confided many years after the tragedy in a letter to one of his physicians.

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