Scandal in Cologne: Artist has to stop performing a piece by Steve Reich

black

Exceptionally I will point you to a text from two foreign sources. It has to with music and the lack of tolerance in Europe. And I rate it a first class scandal: The audience at the Philharmonie Köln (Germany) forced the British-Iranian artist Mahan Esfahani to cancel after four minutes his performance of a piece written in 1967 by Steve Reich: Piano Phase. Part of audience considered the piece too boring, to modern or both and started yelling, laughing and whistling. The fact that the pianist had introduced the piece in English compelled someone from the audience to shout: “Speak German!”

Continue reading!

Russian quartets from the Netherlands

The filigrane structure of these birch trees reminded me of Grechaninov's music. © Charles Thibo
The filigrane structure of these birch trees reminded me of Grechaninov’s music. © Charles Thibo

Occasionally I buy books just because the cover looks nice. Occasionally I buy albums just because the cover looks nice. Volume 1 of Grechaninov’s string quartets was a case in point. I was innocently strolling through the Apple Music Store when that gaily colored cover hit me: a painting by 19th century painter Louis Valtat. Luckily, the music matched the cover and I liked volume 1 so much, that – in all my innocence and without the hint of a bad conscience – I immediately  bought volume 2 as well.

Continue reading!

Transcending tonality and harmony

"Musica atonale" is the name the Vienna based painter Monika Seelig gave this picture. © Charles Thibo
“Musica atonale” is the name the Vienna based painter Monika Seelig gave this picture. © Charles Thibo

Schönberg. Schönberg was the composer who managed to keep me away from contemporary classical music for decades. A concert in Weimar (Germany) that went wrong, at least in my ears. The prejudice, that Schönberg is not for me. The extrapolation that contemporary classical music is nothing for me. It’s all history by now.

Continue reading!

Glittering melodies are warming my heart

Stamitz, an excellent violinist, studied in Prague before moving to Mannheim. © Charles Thibo
Stamitz, an excellent violinist, studied in Prague before moving to Mannheim. © Charles Thibo

Gold. I am tempted to consider the Baroque period as the Golden Age of arts in Europe. Literally and in a more abstract way. Literally since architects used thousands of tons of gold sheets to decorate churches and palaces. In a more abstract way as powerful and rich patrons, princes and bishops alike, spend huge sums to foster literature, performing arts, painting, sculpture, music and architecture, leading to an explosion of creativity unseen in the centuries before. This in spite of the economic decline and political unrest that marked the second half of th 16th century and the 17th century in Europe.

Continue reading!