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!”
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.
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.
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.