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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Composing under Big Brother’s Eyes

Shostakovich wrote 15 string quartets. © Charles Thibo
Shostakovich wrote 15 string quartets. © Charles Thibo

“The quartet is one of the most difficult musical genres.” The Russian composer Dmitry Shostakovich wrote this in 1938, when he had started to compose his first string quartet. “I began to write it without special ideas and feelings.” It didn’t take him long to complete it and when he was done, he wrote to Ivan Sollertinsky, a music critic and a close friend to Shostakovich: “I re-grouped in mid-stream. The first movement became the last, the last the first. […] It didn’t turn out particularly well. But you know, it’s hard to compose well.” What a modest young man we have here. Continue reading!

Grotesque Music for Grotesque Times

After the storm? Before the storm? Shiver, tremble and enjoy! © Charles Thibo
After the storm? Before the storm? Shiver, tremble and enjoy! © Charles Thibo

Imagine this: A young, eager student, firmly set to become a pianist-composer, with his talent at the piano confirmed at early age, is being refused for a post-graduate piano class because of “insufficient maturity”. Several months later, having finally been admitted, he starts to compose his first symphony, his graduation task. He finishes it ten months later and his work causes ripples in the music scene at home and abroad.

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