Rachmaninov reloaded through hypnosis

Rachmaninov's concerto moves from utter desolation to exploding vitality. © Charles Thibo
Rachmaninov’s concerto moves from utter desolation to exploding vitality. © Charles Thibo

No offense meant, but I can’t stand it when you people treat my favorite Russian composers on Twitter like a space rocket where only the first stage carries a payload and the second stage can be discarded after lift-off. “Tchaik6” or “Rach2” – I will have none of that. Today it will be Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Opus 18 full stop. I had the immense pleasure to hear it performed yesterday at the Philharmonie de Luxembourg under the Czech conductor Juraj Valcuha and the Russian pianist Mikhail Pletnev for the solo part. A delightful evening! Continue reading!

“Brillez, brillez toujours, belle Tatyana!”

Setting for the duel of Onegin and Lensky. © Charles Thibo
Setting for the duel of Onegin and Lensky. © Charles Thibo

I remember the time without Youtube, iTunes, live streaming and the Met having operas beamed into movie theaters. Something like two decades ago. The only way to see and hear an opera was actually to buy a ticket and attend an opera performance. That’s what I did. I walked up to the counter of the Leipzig opera house and bought a ticket for Tchaikovsky’s “Evgenij Onegin”. Some 20 years ago.

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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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