Johann Baptist Cramer ( 1771-1858 )

I always held Johann Baptist Cramer in very high esteem, particularly his charming and musical Etudes Opus 50. Of course it is a pity that these pieces are often massacred by unimaginative playing and then the composer gets blamed for the shortfalls of the pianist. I personally owe these Etudes a great deal of my […]

Ulrich Seidl 1994

For all of those whose stomach isn’t strong enough to take the most recent  film ” Im Keller “of Austrian filmmaker Ulrich Seidl  here an older,quite amusing shorter work: “Die letzten Maenner” ( The last men ), filmed in 1994 . ( German with some English.)

Steuermann plays Schoenberg plus the future

Probably the greatest interpreter of Schoenberg’s piano works  was Eduard Steuermann . A luminous sound and a complete analytical understanding provide the rare combination needed for this music, which is often called “Expressionism”. And expressive it is… And of course there are – thank God – adventurous and enlightened young musicians around that continue such a great tradition: here […]

“Ausloeschung” ( Extinction ) by Thomas Bernhard

This by far longest single novel by Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard is probably also his most accomplished effort in his typical discipline of acutely observing and vivisecting the absurdities and vicious banalities if life. What makes his last novel  special is that it provides an in depth look on the topic ‘family’, and he keeps – unlike […]

Final Schubert CD

My last part of that complete and grand Schubert puzzle for piano will be released later in February 2017 by Oehms Classics: the Impromptus Opus 90 and 142, plus some important and unusual shorter pieces such as the Allegretto c-Moll D 915 , Ungarische Melodie D 817 , Adagio A-Dur D 604 and the  Kupelwieser Walzer ( D […]

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:  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: