When Fate Strikes, Play a Waltz!

For Alice. © Charles Thibo

Those of you who have been following this blog since its timid beginning in 2015 know that I always had a crush on the German pianist Alice Sara Ott. Early this year she posted a personal message on social networks: She has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. “It’s going to take me a while to get to know this condition and how I will manage it for myself”, she wrote. Now I let that sink in: A pianist confronts the fact that she has an uncurable disease of the central nervous system. Modern medecine and physiotherapy can keep the body working but only to a certain degree.

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Dramatic depth shrouded in a golden veil of melancholy

Peace study. © Charles Thibo

A dream. A promise. A hope. Everything is possible. At the beginning of the new year I want to be optimistic. I want you to be optimistic too. Yes, we have all had our share of bad news and personal disappointments last year, but… there are many well-meaning people out there. Like-minded people, people caring for their family, their neighbourhood, the environment and a peaceful coexistence. They may not be very visible, but they are there. Nobody fighting for a better world fights on his own. We are many, from all walks of life, with different approaches but with one aim: making this place a better one.

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Time to Say Good-bye with Chopin

Sunset over the Atlantic. © Charles Thibo
Sunset over the Atlantic. © Charles Thibo

What did I say about Frédéric Chopin’s “Nocturnes” at the beginning of the year? You cannot listen to this music by daylight. It doesn’t work. The music doesn’t transmit its inherent magic at daylight. This also holds true for his “Ballades”. Here I sit, it is past 11 pm, the house is asleep and I am reading up on Chopin, his life, his works. As far back as I can can go in memory, I usually listen to Chopin’s music at night. Strange, isn’t it?

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A Floating Melody of Sadness

Chopin's piano music is as delicate as Mozart's piano pieces and yet very different. © Charles Thibo
Chopin’s piano music is as delicate as Mozart’s piano pieces and yet very different. © Charles Thibo

1983 was my second year in highschool. Pop music started to invade my ears, and every week, I would watch – like my class mates – a popular German pop music show on TV. And pop music brought me to Chopin. In 1983, the Italian pop star Gazebo (Paul Mazzolini) released a song with the title “I like Chopin” that stayed at position nb. 1 in the charts in Germany, Switzerland and Austria for weeks. I loved that tune, but one day my father teased me by asking: “Any idea who or what Copin is?” Ooops.

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