Cops

Buster Keaton was undoubtedly one of the greatest of all American comedians. His stone faced appearance and the unforgiving obstacles which nearly ruin his life are beyond sheer comedy. We are fortunate in having pristine restorations of his films. Here is a superb example: “Cops” from 1922. As always his aspirations meet many adverse circumstances…

Freedom and the Arts

A most fascinating collection of Essays by Charles Rosen. “Is there a moment in history when a work receives its ideal interpretation? Or is negotiation always required to preserve the past and accommodate the present? The freedom of interpretation, Charles Rosen suggests in these sparkling explorations of music and literature, exists in a delicate balance […]

Rumpole

One of my favorite Brit series with only a faint comic comic touch is the series “Rumpole of the Bailey”. Rumpole, a truly eccentric British barrister, played by the great Leo McKern is a representative of an idealised old fashioned Britain where common sense rules and humanity prevails over the letter of the law. Good […]

Brit – US comedy

The differences are quite substantial. I like’em both, but would claim that Britcomedy has the edge over the Yankees regarding cynical or dark undertones. Stephen Fry explained it spot on…

Soave sia il vento

After a delectable Cosi fan Tutti in Oslo 2 days ago I got reminded ( as if it would need reminding… ) about the exceptional and inexplicable quality of Mozart’s music. The plot of Cosi is silly and trivial and one can only have an educated guess in what relationship the music stands with the […]

Cadenza

One of Glenn Gould’s most amazing moments within his Bach interpretations is that monstrous cadenza in the first movement of the 5th Brandenburg concerto. Hard to say what is more to admire: the architecture of Bach’s ingenious music or the superlative way Gould plays this cadenza.Nothing more needs to be said except that the whole […]

15 Sinfonias

The 15 three part Inventions by Bach are miracles in character and polyphonic writing. Short in length but often fiendishly difficult to bring off this is an often overlooked major challenge in Bach playing. A magnificent version — by far the best I have ever come across — is by Sorin Creciun, whose exam recital […]

“History” by Elsa Morante

One of the central issues in life can be the impact political decisions and its consequences –often decided by the people in power — have for ordinary folks, who struggle making it through each month and year. In our times the disastrous consequences of political turmoil can be witnessed. Elsa Morante and her husband Alberto […]

Winterreise

I have one favourite Winterreise recording, and that has never changed over the decades since I heard it first. It is the first recording of two with German tenor Peter Anders from 1945. Not only a superior singer with a stunningly beautiful timbre and perfect control, as a tenor he manages to sing the Winterreise […]