What a strange piece to celebrate autumn! But than again it was written by a strange man. Mily Balakirev. The focal point of the “Mighty Five”, a group of Russian musicians that we have met already several times on this blog. A group that devoted itself to develop a Russian music style, devoid of the Western European influence of the 19th century. Isn’t it ironic that Balakirev’s own style was substantially influenced by Franz Liszt, an Austrian/Czech, and the French composer Frédéric Chopin? But let’s sort this out!
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!
The sea – what a promise! Far away countries. Exotic spices. Incredible wealth. Danger, adventures, challenges. People wearing different attire and practicing a different religion, speaking languages we do not understand. The sea! What a temptation! I am on board of a dhow and I am sailing across the Persian Gulf, heading for the Street of Hormuz and the Indian Ocean. I am an adventurer traveling with Sindbad the Seafearer.