Wonders of the world

It will never cease to amaze me how many fantastic people have spoken at the TED conferences over the years. I’ve seen quite a lot of them, but they keep releasing more and there keep coming new fantastic, eye-opening ones. Like this one about classical music. How is your relationship with classical music? Are you indifferent or do you hate it? I’ll ask you, since you’ve already done me the favour of visiting my blog, to also indulge me and see this video. It is 20 minutes long. If you’re touched by it, like I was, let me know. If you’re not, explain why, but please let me know that too!

The speaker is conductor and motivational speaker Benjamin Zander:

I don’t have much to add today, it’s just one of those days when I prefer to let others do the talking. I’ve posted this on my blog before, but it’s my all time favourite TED talk, so here it comes again. If you haven’t heard it before and if you found the above one inspiring, you’ll adore this one. It gives you faith in humanity. Something that’s much needed.



Tonight my friend Irina Lankova plays Beethoven’s 3rd piano concert at the Royal Holloway. I’m so excited and also nervous on her behalf.

While waiting to be picked up for an afternoon out with my sister-in-law before the concert, I checked Boing Boing. Should do that more often. Always some hilarious postings. Check this about Obamania in Japan and this about yet another corny American museum.

Not so funny is this post by historian and liberal blogger Igor Volsky about how misinformed you are if your only news source is Fox News.


A Sunday outing – Our way

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but David and I are great fans of the National Trust and go to their houses and gardens whenever we have the chance. Before we lived here, we’ve been on holidays in Devon/Cornwall and in Yorkshire and darted from one National Trust property to the next.

Today we visited two properties, Clandon Park and Hatchlands Park. Clandon Park was OK with an incredible collection of Meissen, Wedgwood and Sèvres (which I prefer) porcelain, but I much preferred Hatchlands Park, which also holds great promise as a prime picnic site. There were pictures there by Tizian!!!

Hatchlands Park also had the world’s largest collection of pianos connected to famous composers. I was quite awed to stand in front of a piano, which had been graced (=played on) by Chopin himself.

We had a nice traditional lunch at Clandon and then cream tea (just as traditional) at Hatchlands. After that we had to go for a little walk and also found time to take a few pictures. Lovely day out!

Photos: Dane and me in front of Hatchlands Park House taken by David. Sèvres porcelain bowl from the Sèvres museum site. Chopin’s piano from Cobbe Collection’s website. My picture of clover from the field ind front of Hatchlands Park House.


A unique experience!

Last night I went to a concert, which hasn’t really taken place yet. It’s on July the 1st. No magic was involved, but good fortune maybe.

We have the luck to be almost-neighbours to Russian concert pianist Irina Lankova and when I expressed my regret that we couldn’t come to her concert at Wigmore Hall in London on July 1st, she invited me to a private concert in her house.

And it really was very private: She played – and I listened. We were the only people there. It was all acted out as a real concert. Irina wore pretty clothes and played through the entire repertoire with only the natural pauses and only talk in the interval. I can’t even begin to describe what an extraordinary experience that was!

Her repertoire for the recital is quite masculine if you can put it that way, Rachmaninov, Scriabin and Chopin. On her website you can listen to some soundbites from her CDs. Try the Chopin CD, the last track, Presto, non tanto. Or on the Scriabin CD, the Fantasia, Opus 28, an absolutely amazing piece that I’d never even heard of before. Or my favourite of the evening: Rachmaninov: Prelude, Opus 23, No. 5.

If I should describe how her playing sounds to me, I’d say gentle yet authoritative. And quite without hesitation!

I’m deeply grateful to Irina for sharing this with me!

Top picture snatched from Irina’s website, bottom picture taken with my Iphone last night.