Concert Concat 2

This post is one in a sequence which lists live music I have heard, as best my memory allows, from the Pandemic onwards. I will update this as time permits. In some cases, I am also motivated to write about what I heard.

Other posts in this collection can be found here.

  • Matan Porat in a lunch-time recital at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, London, Friday 16 February 2024. The church was about 3/4 full. The program was mostly Bach:
    • Bach/Liszt: Prelude and Fugue in A Minor BWV543
    • Bach/Porat: Chorale Prelude: Kommst Du nun, von Himmel herunter auf Erden BWV650
    • Bach/Feinberg: Chorale Prelude: Were nun denj lieben Gott BWV647
    • Bach/Kurtag: Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit BWV106
    • Bach/Busoni: Chorale Prelude: Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g’mein BWV734
    • Brahms/Busoni: 3 Chorale Preludes Op 122: Herzlich tut mich erfreuen; Es ist ein Ros entsprungen; Herzlich tut mich verlangen
    • Bach/Feinberg: Largo from Sonata for Organ in C Major BWV529
    • Bach/Porat: Chaconne from Partita for violin in d minor BWV1004.

    Mr Porat’s playing was very good, and the Chaconne was close to sublime. The audience called him back several times, and he played at least one encore. But I wanted to leave with the Chaconne in my head, so did not stay for the encores.

  • I was most fortunate this past week (7-13 February 2024) to hear live-streamed several of the recitals performed as part of the 18th European Piano Competition in Bremen, Germany. The final round comprised wonderful performances of Beethoven’s 5th Piano Concerto (Viktor Soos), 4th Piano Concerto (Alexander Doronin) and 3rd Piano Concerto (Théotime Gillot), each playing with the Bremer Philharmoniker under Tung-Chieh Chuang. The EKW 2024 website currently still has recordings of all the performances.

    Congratulations to the prize-winners:

    • Théotime Gillot – 1st prize
    • Viktor Soos – 2nd prize
    • Alexander Doronin – 3rd prize
    • Théotime Gillot – Audience Award
    • Théotime Gillot – Prize for the youngest person taking part in the semi-final
    • Lukas Katter – Siegrid Ernst-Prize for the best interpretation of a piece composed by a female composer (Lili Boulanger)
  • Continue reading ‘Concert Concat 2’

Recent Reading 20

The latest in a sequence of lists of recently-read books, listed in reverse chronological order.

  • Stuart A. Reid [2023]: The Lumumba Plot: The Secret History of the CIA and a Cold War Assassination. Knopf. Much of this I knew, from Larry Devlin’s book. What was new to me were the machinations of Belgian governments in their former colony, before and after Zaire’s Independence.
  • Michael Smith [2016]: Foley: The Spy Who Saved 10,000 Jews. Biteback Publishing. An inspiring story about a British spy and immigration official in pre-War Berlin, who was willing and able to facilitate the safe passage of many German Jews, both to Britain and to British Palestine. He often did so by bending the rules he was supposed to enforce, for example, accepting promises of future payment (IOUs) rather than the actual financial transfers he was required to verify existed before issuing visas for British Palestine.
  • Continue reading ‘Recent Reading 20’

Concert Halls

Herewith a list of concert halls and venues in which I have been fortunate to experience musical performances (excluding working Churches).

  • The Barbican Concert Hall, London
  • Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
  • Brisbane City Hall, Brisbane
  • Cadogan Hall, London
  • Casino Civic Hall, Casino, NSW
  • City Recital Hall, Sydney
  • Sir John Clancy Auditorium, University of New South Wales, Sydney
  • Ballroom, Corinthia Hotel, London
  • Salle de Flagey, Brussels
  • Salle Gaveau, Paris
  • Hamburgische Staatsoper, Hamburg
  • Hamer Concert Hall, Melbourne
  • Ipswich Civic Hall, Ipswich, Queensland
  • King’s Place, London
  • Leggate Theatre, University of Liverpool, Liverpool
  • City Hall, Lismore, NSW
  • Llewellyn Hall, Canberra School of Music, Canberra, ACT
  • LSO St Luke’s, London
  • Auditorium, Maison de la Radio et de la Musique, Paris
  • Melba Hall, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Melbourne
  • Milton Court Concert Hall, Guildhall School of Music, London
  • Old Museum Concert Hall, Brisbane
  • Auditorium, St Joseph’s Nudgee College, Nudgee, Brisbane
  • Purcell Room, South Bank Centre, London
  • Regent Hall (Salvation Army Centre), Oxford Street, London
  • Duke’s Hall, Royal Academy of Music, London
  • Royal Albert Hall, London
  • Elgar Room, Royal Albert Hall, London
  • Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre, London
  • Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool
  • Concert Hall, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester
  • Golden Concert Room, St George’s Hall, Liverpool
  • Recital Hall, Seoul Arts Centre, Seoul
  • Seymour Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney
  • State Theatre, Sydney
  • Steinway Hall, London
  • Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House
  • Opera Theatre, Sydney Opera House
  • Sydney Town Hall, Sydney
  • Tanglewood, MA
  • Theatre des Champs Elysees, Paris
  • Tyalgum Literary Institute Hall, Tyalgum, NSW
  • Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Sydney
  • Wigmore Hall, London

Recent Reading 15

The latest in a sequence of lists of recently-read books, listed in reverse chronological order.

  • Michael Ovitz [2018]: Who is Michael Ovitz? A Memoir. USA: WH Allen.  This is a fascinating and well-written autiobiography by the co-founder and driving force behind Creative Artists Agency. CAA grew from nothing to dominate the agency business in movies and TV, and then entered M&A consultancy and advertising.  I always admired the chutzpah of this strategy and marveled at its success.  The book explains how CAA’s creative bundling of the products of its writers, actors, musicians, directors and producers enabled it to grow as an agency, and also enabled the diversification:  the expertise gained in strategizing and financially evaluating creative bundles was used to value Hollywood studios (with their back catalogues) as potential acquisition targets. Likewise, the creativity in bundling and the access to diverse talent was used to design successful advertisements.  What surprised me reading this book was that the diversification ended after just two acquisition assignments and one advertising project (Coca Cola’s polar bears).  The key reason for this seems to have been the opposition of Mr Ovitz’s partners and colleagues at CAA, despite the handsome and arguably unearnt rewards his efforts brought many of them.  No good deed ever goes unpunished, it seems.  // The book also presents his experiences as President at Disney.  Although of course we only hear his side of that story, he does seem to have been undermined from before he even began work there. // Overall, the writing is articulate and reflective, and he seems to have grown personally through his career and his apparent failures.  I greatly admire his continued desire and willingness to learn new things – new skills, new businesses, new industries, new cultures, new hobbies.  Doing this requires rare, personal courage.  Few people in American business were as willing as he was to immerse themselves in Japanese culture when doing business in Japan, for instance.  One characteristic Mr Ovitz does not ever display is smugness, and this absence is admirable.
  • Continue reading ‘Recent Reading 15’

Recent Reading 13

The latest in a sequence of lists of recently-read books. The books are listed in reverse chronological order, with the most recently-read book at the top.

  • Dan Shanahan [2017]: Camelot Eclipsed: Connecting the Dots.  Independently published.
  • China Mieville [2017]:  October: The Story of the Russian Revolution. UK:  Verso.
  • Joshua Rubenstein (Editor) [2007]: The KGB File of Andrei Sakharov. USA:  Yale University Press.
  • Henry Hemming [2017]: M: Maxwell Knight, MI5’s Greatest Spymaster.  UK:  Preface Publishing.
  • Evelyn Waugh [1935]:  Edmund Campion, Jesuit and Martyr. UK:  Longmans.
  • Alison Barrett [2015]:  View from my Tower: Letters from Prague, March 1985 – May 1988.   A fascinating series of letters from wife of the British Ambassador to members of her family about her time in Prague, in the period of stasis just before the Velvet Revolution.
  • John O Koehler [2008]:  Stasi:  The Untold Story of the East German Secret Police.  USA:  Basic Books.
  • Continue reading ‘Recent Reading 13’

Central London churches

A list of some central London churches and their denominations, updated as I visit them:

  • All Hallows by the Tower, Tower Hill / Anglican
  • All Saints Cathedral, Camden / Greek Orthodox, originally Anglican
  • Chapel of King’s College London / Anglican
  • Chapel of Hospital of St John and St. Elizabeth, St John’s Wood / Roman Catholic
  • Chapel of St. Thomas’ Hospital, Lambeth / Anglican
  • Christ Church, Spitalfields / Anglican
  • Christ-the-King, Gordon Square / Catholic Apostolic
  • Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane, Covent Garden / Roman Catholic
  • Emmanuel Temple, Westminster / Evangelical Christian
  • Finchley Quaker Meeting House / Society of Friends
  • Friends House, Euston / Society of Friends
  • Holy Trinity, Marylebone / Anglican
  • Holy Trinity, Sloane Square / Anglican
  • The Little Oratory Chapel, Kensington / Roman Catholic
  • Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy / Anglican
  • St Andrew Undershaft, St Mary Axe / Anglican
  • St Anselm and St Cecilia, Holborn / Roman Catholic
  • St Bride’s, Fleet Street (the Journalists’ Church) / Anglican
  • St Clement Danes / Anglican (the home church of the RAF)
  • St Clement’s Eastcheap / Anglican
  • St Dunstan-in-the-West, Fleet Street / Anglican and Romanian Orthodox
  • St Etheldreda’s, Ely Place, Holborn / Roman Catholic
  • St Giles Cripplegate, Barbican / Anglican
  • St Giles-in-the-Fields / Anglican
  • Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, Mayfair / Jesuit, Roman Catholic
  • St James, Piccadilly / Anglican
  • St John’s, Smith Square / formerly Anglican
  • St John’s, Waterloo /Anglican
  • St John’s Wood Church / Anglican
  • St Katherine Cree, Leadenhall / Anglican
  • St Luke’s, Old Street / formerly Anglican
  • St Magnus the Martyr, Monument / Anglican
  • St Margaret, Lothbury / Anglican
  • St Martin, Ludgate (the Guild Church of St Martin-within-Ludgate) / Anglican
  • St Mary Aldermary / Anglican
  • St Mary, Finchley East / Roman Catholic
  • St Mary-le-Bow / Anglican
  • St Mary-le-Strand / Anglican
  • St Mary Moorfields / Roman Catholic
  • St Mary Woolnoth / Anglican
  • St Pancras New Church, Euston / Anglican
  • St Pancras Old Church, Somers Town / Anglican
  • St Paul’s, Hammersmith / Anglican
  • St Paul’s Cathedral / Anglican
  • St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden (the Actors’ Church) / Anglican
  • St Peter’s Church on Eaton Square / Anglican
  • St Peter’s Italian Church, Holborn / Roman Catholic
  • St Sepulchre-without-Newgate / Anglican
  • St Stephen’s Church, Rosslyn Hill, Hampstead / formerly Anglican
  • St Stephen Walbrook / Anglican
  • Temple Church / Anglican
  • Wesley’s Chapel, Finsbury / Methodist
  • Westminster Cathedral / Roman Catholic
  • Westminster Quaker Meeting House / Society of Friends

Musical Instrument Museums

For reasons of record, here is a list of musical instrument museums, ordered by their location:

  • Athens, Greece: Museum of Popular Musical Instruments
  • Berlin, Germany: Musikinstrumenten Museum
  • Brussels, Belgium: Musical Instrument Museum
  • Monte Estoril, Portugal: Museum of Portuguese Music, Casa Verdades de Faria
  • New York, NY, USA: Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Phoenix, AZ, USA: Musical Instrument Museum
  • Rome, Italy: Museo di Strumenti Musicali dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
  • Vermillion, SD, USA: National Music Museum, University of South Dakota
  • Vienna, Austria: Collection of Historic Musical Instruments, Kunsthistorisches Museum

Recent Reading 10

The latest in a sequence of lists of recently-read books.
David Eagleman [2010]: Sum: Tales from the Afterlives.  (London, UK:  Canongate).  A superb collection of very short stories, each premised on the assumption that something (our bodies, our souls, our names, our molecules, etc) lives beyond death. Superbly fascinating.  One will blow your mind!  (HT: WPN).
A. C. Grayling [2013]:  Friendship.  (New Haven, CT and London, UK:  Yale University Press).
Andrew Sullivan [1998]:  Love Undetectable:  Reflections on Friendship, Sex and Survival.  (London, UK: Vintage, 1999).
Michael Blakemore [2013]: Stage Blood. (London, UK: Faber & Faber).  A riveting account of Blakemore’s time at the National Theatre in London.
Continue reading ‘Recent Reading 10’

Theatre

Having created lists of concerts I have attended, bands I have heard, galleries I have visited, etc, I overlooked theatre and dance productions I have seen.  Herewith a list, sometimes annotated, to be updated as and when I remember additional events.

  • The Lieutenant of Inishmore, at the Noel Coward Theatre, St Martin’s Lane, London, August 2018.  Martin McDonagh’s very funny satire on the IRA and the INLA, in a well-acted production.  The production was somewhat gory for my tastes.
  • Continue reading ‘Theatre’

Recent Reading 9

The latest in a sequence of lists of recently-read books:
Anita Raghavan [2013]:  The Billionaire’s Apprentice:  The Rise of the Indian-American Elite and the Fall of the Galleon Hedge Fund.  (New York:  Business Plus).   This is a fascinating and excitingly-written account of the rise and fall of several people, many of them Americans of South Asian descent, associated with the activities of the Galleon hedge fund.  First among these is billionaire Tamil-American Raj Rajaratnam, founder of Galleon, and convicted insider-trader.  In the next tier are his many insider informants, primaily Rajat Gupta and Anil Kumar, both prominent partners of McKinsey and Company, a management consulting firm.  Indeed, Gupta was three times elected global MD of McKinsey by his fellow partners, and thus the book has lots of fascinating information about The Firm and its operations, incidental to the main story.
Insider trading is a strange crime.  Surely most traders engaged in trading for its own sake (and not hedging some activity or transaction in non-financial markets) seek to take advantage of something they know that others don’t, even if it is just knowledge arising from more clever or faster analysis, or the knowledge that comes from aggregating views across multiple trades.   And who, exactly, are the victims here, since any trading requires a willing counterparty?    But even if insider-trading is not considered an evil, there is great dishonour in breaching confidences gained in positions of trust, and there seems little doubt that Rajaratnam’s informants did that.
An odd feature of the book, where so many prominent Indian Americans and South-Asian businesspeople are name-checked, is the failure to mention Praful Gupta.   As far as I am aware, the two Guptas were no relation, and met when they were fellow students at Harvard Business School.  Rajat Gupta, in a newspaper interview in 1994, said they became and remained very good friends.  While Rajat pursued a career with McKinsey, Praful became a management consultant and partner with Booz, Allen & Hamilton, and later a senior executive with Reliance Industries.
An annoying feature of the writing is the author’s repeated confusion about tense.   On page 217, for instance, we read, “In 2005, Lloyd Blankfein’s predecessor and former secretary of the Treasury Henry M. “Hank” Paulson Jr. had approached Gupta about joining the Goldman board of directors.”  But Hank Paulson only became Secretary of the US Treasury in 2006, where he remained until January 2009.   At the time this sentence was written by Raghavan in 2012 or 2013, Paulson was a former Treasury Secretary, but not in 2005, the time referred to at the opening of the sentence.   There are similar instances of inaccurate or confused tense on pages 257, 288, 347, and 362, and no doubt more that I did not catch.  These appear so frequently that one is tempted to consider them not mere lapses nor evidence of a non-grammatical linguistic style, but indicative of a more fundamental difference between the author’s conceptualization of time and that of most speakers of English. There are also a number of confusions or ambiguities of subject and object, and of deictic markers, in sentences throughout the text.