Archive by Author

Josef Hassid

It may not be news any more but one of the most outstanding violin talents ever was Josef Hassid. Details about his short and tragic life can be found here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_Hassid  The spellbinding intensity of his playing and a certain inexplicable expressive quality have very few peers in the history of violin playing. His recorded […]

Still Game

The Scots have their own Comedy tradition, the best effort  so far has been ‘Still Game’ , the story of several  pensioners living in a Glasgow towerblock. Hilarious characters and superb acting are the norm here. Here are two  tasters: firstly a famous clip where ‘Winston’, a notoriously stinchy guy loses all his money, which he […]

Caution: It’s Bach !

In the middle of all the endless discussions about the ‘right way’ to perform Bach ( or Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert etc. ) and claiming to present  a historically informed style I enjoy quite often versions of great works that are far outside the newly found correctness. The simple method I use is pretty unscientific to say the […]

Hidden Gems Vol. 3 “That certain feeling”

Gershwin was of course a superb pianist, but what makes him special was apart from his gift for catchy  melodies  a certain snappy unsentimental playing. Particularly “That certain feeling” ticks all the boxes of that very individual style. And it is very  “American”, in the  best sense: very entertaining, optimistic, imaginative and intelligent. Here we go:

The American Interest

Not exactly a book recommendation,but one of the most intelligent magazines around. The title “The American Interest” is somewhat misleading, as it is a magazine highly critical of the US and its establishment, but the quality of its articles is superb. Here is a taster: a sharp and crisp article about the phenomenon of “crony […]

Hidden Gems Vol. 2 Exquisite Schubert

“…die Haeuser schau’n verwundert drein…” ( …the houses look in wonder… ). This wonderful line, which I have never forgotten since I heard it first many years ago —  one can find in Franz Schubert’s “Nachthelle”, a priceless piece for Tenor, Male choir and Piano. My favorite recording used to be with the Muenchner Singphoniker, […]

Verklaerte Nacht

That must be one of the most remarkable versions of this work: the Norwegian chamber orchestra performs Arnold Schoenberg’s ‘Verklaerte Nacht’ not only from memory (!) but without conductor . Quite priceless in its searing intensity and profound interpretation.

Stockhausen

There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that Karlheinz Stockhausen was one of the most creative minds in the 20th century. His music is an endless ocean of new sounds and revolutionary ideas. There is a vast amount of his music on you tube, most notably many excerpts from his opera ”Licht”, the […]

Austerlitz

Very  rare and interesting short film about W G Sebald’s book “Austerlitz”. It was Sebald’s last major novel and in this fascinating film some of the traces of that book are followed. Highly recommended !