I remember a teacher on a mission impossible: He tried to fascinate us for the saga of Prometheus, the bad boy of the Titans in Greek mythology: First Prometheus deceived Zeus, the top Titan, by stealing the meat meant to be a sacrificial offering and gave it to mankind of whom Prometheus saw himself as the protector. Zeus deprived mankind then of the use of fire, but Prometheus stole the divine fire and again gave it to man. As a punishment Zeus had Prometheus chained to a rock in the Caucasus and every now and then eagle shows up and gnaws at his liver. As terrific as Prometheus fate is, I wasn’t interested AT ALL at the age of 15 or 16.
Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major (Op. 53) is one of those ambitions of mine. Some day in the future, I will be able to play this overwhelming piece. Overwhelming because it overwhelms me each time I listen to it. Overwhelming because it commands respect to the apprentice I still am. This love affair started with a recording by Alice Sara Ott. I moved on to the release of Emil Gilels’ performance and ended up with Alfred Brendel’s recording, apparently the gold standard when it cones to Beethoven interpretation.
Tadadadaaa – the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is effective as of now! Can you feel it? Does it make a difference? No, it doesn’t. It reminds me of the question: “So how does it feel to turn 40?” Well, the world did not stop turning back then, did it? And it didn’t tonight. All this excitement in the blogosphere over the past weeks – I wonder whether we are not taking all this a little too serious.
The summer hasn’t begun yet, and already I feel nostalgic like I would at the end of it. But that is entirely Felix Mendelssohn’s fault. So many of his pieces evoke in my mind the end of summer – is that the Romantic disease? Probably. His violin concerto in E minor is a case in point, however today Felix’ chamber music is on my mind: the String Quartet No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 12. It is a very early piece, written in 1829, when Mendelssohn was 20 years old. It has to do with a girl that he hallen fallen in love with, a passion alas that wasn’t reciprocated.