Program suggestions

Dear Reader,

On this page you find posts about those events
(both in the real and in the virtual space), works or links, which are believed to represent values by the Author. I very much hope that they will cause joy and enrichment to the Readers of this blog.

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Miracle in the prison -- a 1989 interview with Richard Wurmbrand


Richard Wurmbrand (1909-2001) have spent 14 years in Romanian prisons due to his faith. Ági and István from our Lutheran Church in Budapest drew my attention to one of his interviews. In the following 4 minutes of his 1989 interview he tells a beautiful miracle, when an inprisoned peasant shows the smile of Jesus to a professor of the academy who did not have faith -- until that very moment. You may learn more about the life of Wurmbrand here.


Glenn Gould: the archetype of an exceptional talent



Glenn Gould was one of the greatest pianist of the 20th century. I suggest to listen to two short pieces to those, who would like to hear one of best Bach interpretations.

Gould plays the first movement of the piano concerto in d-minor (BWW 1052) with Leonard Bernstein-nel in this recording from 1960. My favorites are the two parts between 8:04-9:26 and 12:24-13:19. Watch his left hand between 10:23 and 10:30. Finally, see how he concludes the movement with his left hand at 14:10.

Even more sensational is this recording of the partita #2 (BWW 1004) from 1959. Glenn Gould was singing through all his recordings. Columbia Records had to develop a special technique to filter out his voice from his piano music. It is worth to listen to the single move of his left hand at 1:22 and as he rushes to the window at 1:57 and continues the piece in his head.

Both recordings show the most intensive state of flow -- which we may also call the special grace of the Spirit. It is very hard to maintain such an intensity for long. 2 to 3 years after these recordings Glenn Gould has never had any more public appearances, and in his age of 50 he died after a stroke. However, his magnificent recordings left to us, and show a key example of genuine originality -- forever.


Spiritual richness and depth of 90 years: Herbert Blomstedt



One of the top musical moments of my past year was to listen to Beethoven's 7th and 8th symphonies with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Herbert Blomstedt. Blomstedt highlighted those secondary and tertiary motifs which are usually overshadowed by the main musical theme. On one hand he preserved the monumentality of the original Beethoven piece. On the other hand he added several layers of exciting complexity, which made Beethoven quite some times similar to Bela Bartok. Blomstedt became really world famous after he passed 80. Deservedly. As an adventist he should not perform on Saturday, however, he considers actual performances to be an expression of his religious devotion rather than work, therefore accepts these assignments, too. Let me add here: one can hear his spiritual richness in the depth of his music. A small segment of the 7th symphony. The 8th symphony.


An amazingly intensive conductor: Teodor Currentzis



My highly esteemed pianist friend, András Moldoványi drew my attention to the music of Teodor Currentzis. In Currentzis' Mozart interpretations one may discover both the transcendent grandeur and the scandalous frivolity which both characterized Mozart. (As shown so beautifully in one of the often re-viewed center-pieces of my life: the film, Amadeus.) But: Currentzis also makes Verdi and Beethoven (among others) unforgettable experiences, too.


A moving segment of a beautiful transcription: Shchedrin's Carmen



With the rare exception of a few classics, usually I massively dislike musical transcripts. It is a rather hopeless task to "enrich" a masterpiece. However, several parts of Shchedrin's Carmen are exceptions. The Soviet authorities banned this music, since the wife of the composer, Maya Plisetskaya (whose Dying Swan remained one of my most intensive dance experiences in 1989 in age 64 in Los Angeles) was considered "scandalously erotic" in the premiere. The official explanation stated that Shchedrin transcribed the original piece too much. In my opinion he might have performed even more extensive changes, since quite some of the new interpretations became at least as good, as the original (or much better). As an example Part 10 (Torero and Carmen) is a heartbreakingly beautiful piece especially in the performance conducted by Gennady Rozhdestvensky (please listen to it here).


Silence is the deepest moment of joy and celebration: listen to the 30 minute Silence of an old English church

The recording was made in the 12th century Saint Peter's Church of Seaford, UK. The 30-minute recording starts with three rings of the church bell, a short introduction, and a message from the Rector, Andrew May including these sentences: "Relax, and be as receptive, as possible. Listen. Listen in the silence for the sound of your own heartbeat, and indeed, for the heartbeat of God." What follows is 28 minutes of near-silence including the odd creaking of timbers and a few footfalls, the odd murmur of voices from outside and the very, very faint rumble of traffic going past. At its close, there is a thank you for listening. The soundtrack can be listened here.

A music opening the soul to the experience of the entireness: Dvorak Stabat Mater; Quando corpus morietur

The 7 minute long closing part of Dvorak's Stabat Mater is directed by Helmuth Rilling on the inspired recording which can be enjoyed here. Maestro Rilling is empowering his choir on most of his recordings enabling the choir to grow much beyond the dimensions of our life on Earth. In the closing section of  the Stabat Mater this transcendental moment is reached (at least) two times. In these moments the Spirit rejoices and become magnified in our soul. I wish joyful listening to this magnificent music to the Reader!

Gregorian chants of purity and engrossment



If the Reader wants to leave the rush of the day, but does not select either 30 minutes of sacred Silence of an old English Church, or a music opening the soul to the experience of entireness, I suggest to listen to the two orthodox Gregorian chants below. These purifying and engrossing musical masterpieces were suggested by my friend, Csongor Cserép.

Russian Orthodox chanting famous hymn of Lent Liturgy "Let my prayer arise" (3 min)

Christ is Risen - Byzantine Chant (Choir of the Alexander-Svirsky Monastery - Dmitry Zhuikov; 2 min)

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