Drifting Away with Franck and Baudelaire

Franck Trio 2019new
Setting sail. © Charles Thibo

That tension. That calmness. That odd unity of conflicting emotions I sensed in César Franck’s Piano Trio Concertant No. 1, I also find it in his Piano Trio Concertant No. 3 in B Minor. The piano sets forth the forceful rhythm and the timbre while the violin and the cello weave their deliciously lyrical melodies, at times plaintful, at times reassuring. A piece of ravishing beauty that I did discover only very recently,  I must admit. But it is never to late to discover excellence.

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It took a while until I understood. A right-extremist attack had targeted a synagogue in Halle/Saale, my former hometown. A town I had grown fond of. Two people were killed, the attacker filmed the attack and uploaded it to social networks. A few years ago, another attacker had killed several people in Munich where I had lived before I moved to Halle. In Halle, the Jewish believers had barricaded the door of the synagogue and prevented a bloodshed. The frustrated attacker then shot two by-passers. Random targets. It could have been anyone, me, you.

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Good night! © Charles Thibo

A quarrel. Reconciliation. The return of peace. A piece of music to call it a day. Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni published in 1700 his Sinfonie a cinque per due violini, alto, tenore, violoncello e basso, op. 2, a collection of several sonatas and concertos, and the one in C major perfectly fit the purpose: to celebrate reconciliation and to end the day with a light heart.

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A Trio that Builds a Bridge into Modernity

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Contrasts. © Charles Thibo

Alexander Grechaninov’s quartets have already been praised on this blog just like his liturgical music. He is one of the great composer’s of Russia at the turn of the century, at the dawn of modernity. Here is a curious piece: his Piano Trio No. 2 in G Major, op. 128. The opus number points to the fact that Grechaninov wrote it late in his career, in 1930 more precisely, while he stayed in Paris where he had emigrated to after the Bolshevik Revolution. It’s language is characterized by modal instability, the composers oscillates between D major and G major and an E-flat major and G minor respectively. But what is even more striking is the fast-paced tempo, the restless mood of the three movements. Quite special and very striking.

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