Happy Birthday, Alfred Brendel!


We are such stuff. As dreams are made on, and our little life. Is rounded with a sleep: Ethereal, pure, sublime…

Bucharest, January 25, 1956: Two of the greatest voices ever…


Bucharest, January 25, 1956: Two of the greatest voices ever. Orchestra and Chorus of the “George Enescu” Philharmonic of Bucharest, conductor Constantin Silvestri. He defected in 1958 and died in England in February 1969. Precisely a month after this great performance, in Moscow, Nikita Khrushchev delivered the Secret Speech in which he dealt a mortal blow to the Stalin myth. The year 1956 marked the beginning of the breakdown of Marxism-Leninism as an institutionalized utopia. In June, strikes in Poznan were fiercely repressed. In October, Poland engaged in a real attempt to liberalize the system. On October 23, the Hungarian Revolution erupted. It was ferociously smashed by Soviet tanks. Stalinism persisted in Romania until December 1989. I remember a New Year’s eve party in the late 1960s at my cousin Olga’s place. Among the guests, Emilia Petrescu Cironeanu’s son. If memory helps me, his name was Vali, from Valeriu or Valentin…

Daca Dumnezeu ar fi compozitor


numele Sau ar fi Johann Sebastian Bach


Divin: Alfred Brendel canta una din sonatele tarzii ale lui Schubert



La Multi Ani, Radu Lupu!


Radu Lupu at 70, this is a moment of immense joy for all those who love music. Praise should go to this extraordinary pianist and to his fabulous professors: at the Bucharest Conservatory (1959-1961), Florica Musicescu (who also taught Dinu Lipatti), and Cella Delavrancea (who also taught Dan Grigore). At the age of 16, in 1961, he was awarded a scholarship to the Moscow P.I. Tchaikovsky State Conservatory, where he studied with Galina Eguiazarova (a pupil of Alexander Goldenweiser), Heinrich Neuhaus (who also taught Sviatoslav Richter and Emil Gilels), and Stanislav Neuhaus, graduating in 1969, at age 24. La Multi Ani, Radu Lupu!



Donna, donna: Winging swiftly through the sky


For Adam

I was 20 when I first heard Donovan singing this wonderful song. I was told that it was a song of the Warsaw Ghetto. In fact, it was composed in 1940, in New York. In 1960, Joan Baez recorded it, then, Donovan added to the fame with his 1965 recording. A few years ago, my friend, the philosopher Mihail Radu Solcan, blessed be his memory, wrote me that in the German Wikipedia is is suggested that Donna could be an abreviation from Adonai: “As face un salt de la Buber la “Donna Donna”. Idis este o limba cu multe subtilitati, care mie evident imi scapa. Pe pagina in germana a Wikipediei scrie ca “Dona” ar fi o forma scurta de la “Adonai”. Adica pe romaneste ar fi “Doamne, Doamne”. Suna insa prea patetic asa spus in romaneste. In idis ar fi doar o aluzie fina. Foarte interesant este ca pagina vietnameza a Wikipediei are si o versiune in franceza. Nu prea are mare legatura cu textul idis (asa sunt traducerile frantuzesti !). Este vorba despre un copil. Cand creste ‘il a decouvert la vie / Les amours decues, la faim et la peur’.”

On a wagon, bound for market/There’s a calf with a mournful eye/High above him, theres a swallow/Winging swiftly through the sky

How the winds are laughingThey laugh with all their mightLaugh and laugh the whole day through/And half the summers night/Donna donna

Stop complaining, said the farmer/Who told you a calf to be?/Why dont you have wings to fly with/Like the swallow so proud and free/Calves are easily bound and slaughtered/Never knowing the reason why/But whoever treasures freedom/Like the swallow has learned to fly

Donna donna

Frumoasa adormita: In Memoriam Maia Plisețkaia (1925-2015)


A incetat din viata o geniala balerina. Maia Plisețkaia a crescut intr-o casa de artisti si diplomati, a trait catastrofa stalinismului si a suferit, in propria familie, consecintele Marii Terori: “Mi-ar place sa vorbesc despre ‘Frumoasa adrmita’ si despre ‘Lacul lebedelor’, despre ale mele battements si despre partenerii mei. Dar. oricum m-as uita la copilaria mea, totul se invarte in jurul politicii si al terorii staliniste”.  Tatal ei, Mihail Plisețki, as fost impuscat in 1938. Mama ei, Rakhil Messerer, a fost arestata si apoi deportata in Kazahstan. Maia a crescut in casa lui Sulamith si Asaf Messerer, matusa si unchiul ei, celebri balerini ai teatrului “Bolsoi”.

Am vazut-o dansand la Bucuresti, venise cu baletul “Bolsoi”, era vedeta absoulta, eram adolescent, am ramas pe veci fermecat de gratia-i inefabila. Dupa 1990, a trait in Occident, impreuna cu sotul ei, compozitorul Rodion Scedrin. A fost, alaturi de Galina Ulanova, simbolul salvarii prin arta atunci cand dictatura comunista se straduia din rasputeri sa ingenuncheze spiritul. La un ceas cand Putin si oamenii sai reabiliteaza tot ceea ce marea balerina, asemeni unei Anna Ahmatova, a detestat, sa-i aducem binemeritatul omagiu.





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