The Composer Offers Himself a Surprise

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© Charles Thibo

Rimsky-Korsakov is well-known for his symphonic poems and his operas. However, he has also written a piano concerto, rarely performed but no less interesting than his other works. It is just as lyrical as his symphonic poems, and over time this short, lovely piece has become one of my favourites. The composer wrote his Piano Concerto in C-sharp minor (op. 30) between 1882 and 1883, after he had met his patron Mitrofan Belayev. Rimsky-Korsakov belonged to the circle of artists who emphasized the national element in Russian music, and Belayev, a nouveau-riche industrialist believing in a greater role for Russian, felt drawn towards the composer.

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Flying Home with Vivaldi and Sol Gabetta

Close your eyes… ©Charles Thibo

I am flying a several thousand feet. I am returning home. A busy, one-day-trip. Mission accomplished. The last leg. I am returning home. Vivaldi. The Argentinian cellist Sol Gabetta and her ensemble struggle against the monotone noise of the two PW 150A turboprops. Serenity descents on me while I enjoy the Italian’s Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra, RV 423. I am flying home. The best feeling ever. My family is waiting for me. I am flying home.

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What Happened to the Enlightenment?

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Pamina meets the Queen of the Night © Svetlana Loboff/OnP

I don’t want to live in a world where the political agenda is dictated by ideology, populism, superstition or religious dogmatism. I don’t want to be governed by politicians guided by their emotions, their so-called “instincts” or their beliefs. I consider rationalism as the foundation of democracy and the state of law. Anything else will lead to autocratic forms of government or worse. And I am afraid of an evolution where haters repudiate, abuse of or physically attack what they call “the elites”, social, economical or scientific experts. People do not become suspect or evil because they have a higher education. Much to the contrary. But what happened to rationalism? What happened to the Enlightenment?

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A Man of Principles ahead of his Time

Beautiful melodies. © Charles Thibo

The moment you are reading this post, I am in Paris. The moment I am writing this post, I am in Luxembourg. I had been looking forward to the trip. I love Paris, and even if I go there for professional reasons, it will feel good to see new faces, to hear a different language, to immerse myself into another mentality. am looking forward to ride the metro in the early morning, watching people, what they do, what they wear, what they read. I like people. People make me curious. If I could I would make myself invisible just to observe them and see what makes them tick.

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