Scherzo and Fugue

This LP from 1977 contains some of the most hairraisingly fantastic piano playing, which puts some of the achievements of today’s celebrated Virtuosi into perspective. The pianist is Terence Judd, an exceptional musician who after winning 4th prize at the Tschaikowsky competition in 1978 took his own life at the age of 22 in 1979. […]

Special Choice

I was recently asked which one of my recordings I like best or even more precise: which work or movement is my personal favourite amongst all my CDs. An interesting question, I never had thought about it myself. It was also a bit surprising that within 20 seconds I knew the answer: the slow movement […]

Eugenio Montale

I was never an avid reader of poems apart from Eichendorff and his evocative romantic images and Hoelderlin, whose lyrical output might well be the pinnacle of German poetry in its transcendental and philosophical implications. Now I was stunned by the discovery of Italian poet Eugenio Mortale. Here is a good resume ( Wikipedia ) […]

Symphonic piano concertos vol.1

There are quite a number of late romantic piano concertos that are ‘symphonic’, meaning that the piano part is interwoven to a high degree rather than the more ‘soloistic’ works such as by Chopin, Liszt and Rachmaninov. In today’s 12 second attention span-instant gratification society there is probably no more unfashionable music than these “symphonic […]

Evgen Bavcar

I was alerted 2 years ago about the blind photographer Evgen Bavcar through Walter Aue’s book about this extraordinary artist. http://www.walter-aue.de/s7.html And now I stumbled upon a 26 minute documentary with German subtitles. A fascinating film that questions our own perception of reality.

Wandafuru Raifu

This earlier film “Wandafuru Raifu” ( “After Life”, 1998 ) by Hirokazu Kore-eda is so far – apart from the masterwork of ‘Maborosi’ – one of the most intriguing movies I have seen by this director. A small mid-20th century social-service-style office is a waystation for the souls of the recently deceased, where they are […]

UK travel 4

We came with great expectations to Dublin, which none of us had ever visited before. The experience was certainly a very mixed bag. The city has been developed greatly, whole areas have been rebuilt and it was interesting to see the glaring contrast between the past and the present. But there were also many areas […]

A barber

Claude Lanzmann has died at the age of 92. I will always remember seeing his epic, 9 1/2 hour film “Shoah” about the Holocaust in a little, long gone cinema in New York, opposite Juilliard in 1985. http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/6498# He had interviewed survivors of the Holocaust, and there was one episode in the middle of this […]

1948/49

Still traveling, but I managed to get my paws on another volume of Alice Schmidt’s diaries, this time its the start of her notations from 1948/49 onwards. Of course this is primarily of interest to Arno Schmidt enthusiasts, but these chronicles contain many highly interesting observations in regard to postwar Germany, the poverty and struggle […]