Torn between chemistry and music

Enjoy a Zen moment with Borodin. © Charles Thibo
Enjoy a Zen moment with Borodin. © Charles Thibo

We are truly blessed in Luxembourg. The Philharmonie de Luxembourg offers a first-rate programme of classical music year after year, and each spring, the city of Echternach hosts the Festival International d’Echternach, often with internationally renown guests. Yesterday I heard the famous Borodin Quartet performing Borodin’s second string quartet, Shostakovich’s eleventh string quartet and Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet No. 1. After a week full of bad, sad news, this concert was a blessing: Four excellent Russian musicians bridging a century of wonderful Russian music!

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Taught by Beethoven, teacher of generations

Carl Czerny wrote over a thousand pieces. © Charles Thibo
Carl Czerny wrote over a thousand pieces. © Charles Thibo

The apple never falls far from the tree. Carl Czerny studied with Ludwig van Beethoven and it shows. He has written one of those wonderful pieces that merit a larger audience than they usually get. Take his Concerto for two Pianos and Orchestra in C major, Op. 153. From the first bars you would be reminded of Beethoven’s signature, though you would probably be astonished that you can’t remember to have ever heard the melody.

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A promise is hanging in the air

What will this day bring? Good news, bad news? © Charles Thibo
What will this day bring? Good news, bad news? © Charles Thibo

This music is a promise. This music will be exciting. For good or for worse? It is up to you to discover that. You will read into this music whatever you like. Perhaps your biggest emotional impression will be the beginning first movement, a joyful and yet solemn violin tune with the other strings providing the dark canvas so that the soloist can shine. Is this day going to warrant your unbound optimism? Perhaps you will rather like the parts of the second movement where the harpist suggests a slowly floating something. Will this day satisfy your romantic longing? Or you will go for the Beethoven-like competition between the soloist and the orchestra in the third movement? Are you in the middle of a struggle and want to break free?

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About fear and freedom

Sorrow. © Charles Thibo
Sorrow. © Charles Thibo

I was in Orlando when I was 8 years old. I visited the Walt Disney World Resort with my family and I had a lot of fun. The steamer. The roller-coaster. Mickey. Peter Pan. A place of joy. No more. Orlando has become a synonym for bloodshed. 49 dead at the “Pulse”. I am not gay and I don’t attach a lot of importance to people’s sexual orientation. I struggle with the question whether homosexual couples should be allowed to adopt children, more out of concern for children’s well-being than for moral reasons. But nothing justifies the violence against dancers in a gay club.

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