There are two composers that (in my opinion) are the the best ever piano composers. The first is Beethoven (a while ago I visited his grave in Vienna), and the other of course is Frédéric Chopin. Every single piece of music that Chopin wrote contains the piano.
They day we arrived in Warsaw there was a free Chopin concert at the Chopin memorial in the Royal Baths Park in the South of Warsaw, so as soon as we found our apartment we dropped our bags and dashed out to head off to the park.
The concert reminded me a lot of the Kirstenbosch concerts in Cape Town (except this one was free), but there were at least a thousand people sitting on benches and the lawns.
While I don’t know the pianist, he is (at least according to the announcer) one of the top Polish Pianists, and judging by his playing he clearly was! It was amazing to sit for an hour and just relax after a crazy long flight and listen to some Chopin.
It is a blanket statement to say that most street musicians are awful, but in my experience most buskers can play one or two tunes badly, simply using their instruments to get cash from the tourists.
But not all; in Krakow they have a great system. There are specific places where the musicians are allowed to play and they have a roster. Every hour or so all the musicians get up and move away, to be shortly replaces by another musician. They are also (mostly) very good.
Once such muso was this guy. He was playing classical guitar; most of which he was improvising on the spot. He was exceptionally good; clearly classically trained. We ended up sitting for quite a while listening to his guitar singing.
The system is Krakow is great (Prague has a similar setup). It lets you can sit on Krakow Square and enjoy the music without being harassed by buskers. Well except for the unofficial buskers that disappear at the vaguest sign of authority.
Here is some of the detail in the magnicifant Vienna Opera House. While I did not manage to see a show, I did have the opportunity to visit the auditorium and entertainment rooms.
Every night they put on a different production, which includes all costumes and sets. This means that if you are in Vienna, you can see a different opera every night.
Here is just a sample of the wonderful interior.
The balconies with the royal box in the middle
The royal box
Today we celebrate one of the greatest composers to ever live, Ludwig van Beethoven. He was born 245 years ago today. I play several of his pieces, and have even sung to Ode to Joy (in German) while being conducted by the Ben Zander, the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. I am sure you know his music, but if not look out for the Moonlight Sonata, or Symphany #5 or #9.
When we were in Vienna last year I made a pilgrimage to visit his grave in the Central Cemetery in Vienna.
No SLR allowed – cell phone pic – the best camera is the one in your hand :-)
Wayne Hussey played in Cape Town last night.
Who would have thought, Wayne Hussey with a ukulele! It is 15 years since he last played in Cape Town, I cannot believe that it is so long ago that we say the Mission playing at CBC in Town. But he is doing a pretty good acoustic set (and yes – there are a few backing tracks!). His voice is still fantastic.
He did a version of Martha’s Harbour by All About Eve on a keyboard; a really fantastic version. He is pretty good on the keys.
All the goths were at the gig; but this time older, balder and better behaved. We left at about 11:15pm, and from about 11 a lot of people started leaving. Even the old goths have to get home now to the kids and to be awake for work the next day!
But there were a surprisingly number of younger people there; people that probably were not even born when the Mission were playing.
A great evening!