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Seminal recordings 4

Wilhelm Backhaus was one of the 20th century’s greatest pianists. One of his many achievements was the first complete recording of all Chopin Etudes in 1928. Superior to many later versions ( I have enclosed a comparison of Opus 10/2 with Pollini ), Backhaus was a representative of that Golden Age of piano playing, where […]

Sylvia Beach 1962

One of the most important figures in Paris literary life was Sylvia Beach ( 1887-1962 ), owner of the legendary Shakespeare & Company bookstore, which became a focal point for many writers, artists and intellectuals. She published the first edition of James Joyce “Ulysses”, one of the most influential books in 20th century literature. Here […]

Seminal recordings 3

In his earlier career Austrian pianist Joerg Demus was one of the great Bach players. ( 1950ies, not so much later versions ). Elusive recordings issued on the Westminster and Remington labels in the late 1950ies. Here are some tasters of this exceptional Bach playing.

Seminal recordings 2

Wilhelm Kempff’s Schumann Davidsbuendler Taenze film from the Besancon Festival 1963 shows amazing poetry, a beautiful and multi layered sound, the perfect balancing of Schumann’s extremes ( between humour, intimacy and near slience ). He seems in his own league when it comes to this composer. And the longer the piece goes on the more […]

Hitler in Minehead

The big question: “What actually happened to Adolf Hitler after the war ?” has been convincingly answered by Monty Python. Hitler sought refuge with some of his most senior ministers in a B&B in rural England.

Seminal recordings 1

There is one exceptional recording of the Mazurkas that has set a benchmark for Chopin interpretation. This version is hardly known though and needs to be promoted. Spontaneity, colours, depth and beauty of sound seem second to none to me. Here is that priceless gem. I recommend downloading from you tube and saving it.

Inside No.9

A brilliant BBC comedy written by Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, who also devised “The league of Gentlemen” and “Psychoville”. Not to be missed. Surreal, wacky, dark and highly original. Brithumour at its best.