Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Whither now, Germany?

Good grief.

Now who would possibly have expected that? We Germans have elected a new parliament, and bang, nothing works any more. None of the old coalitions work any more. None of the majorities this country has gotten used to over the last forty years is in charge. The by-election due in two weeks in Dresden won't make much of a difference.

It is fascinating to see that the old-fashioned established political camps don't guarantee a majority any more, not without doping them. (No pun intended. Without a whole bunch of doped semiconductors, you wouldn't be able to read this.)

So, what's next? Or rather, who's next? A big coalition? Angela Merkel has the largest fraction behind her (or has she?). Gerhard Schröder claims to have the majority (and I'd very much like to know how he has come to that conclusion).

I'd appreciate a quick pragmatic decision. There is much to do in this country.

The next few days will be very interesting.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Tickets, please!

It's a pity that Lars von Trier has resigned from the demanding post as the director of the next "Ring" at Bayreuth. It was for this staging only that I've started to apply for tickets (no, you don't just buy them in Bayreuth) six years ago when I first heard that von Trier would be next.

Well, no. Whatever the reason was, it won't be him. When I first heard that, I thought the last five years of unsuccessful applications for "Ring" tickets - actually, I didn't want them to succeed - had been in vain, and wanted to give up.

But Tankred Dorst is the substitute. I don't know much of his works, but his "Merlin" is a good read after all, so that may be worth it.

In a nutshell, I applied for tickets once more yesterday. A blue sheet of paper in an envelope, a stamp, a letterbox, there you go. That's how easy it is. Now the waiting begins again. They'll tell me next year, probably around February, whether my application was successful this time.

Someone, please keep your fingers crossed.

Felix Draeseke: IVth Symphony

For all of you who'd like to read this in English... if at all...

Felix Draeseke, creator of the "Christus" oratory tetralogy, has also written four symphonies. Each of them is fascinating in its own right, last but not least because they have been dug out and made available to the public only over the last few years. Now the label cpo has finally released a CD containing the first and fourth symphonies as well as the "Gudrun" ouverture.

The recording is great. The orchestra sounds very clear; there are only a few moments where the music sounds somewhat "thick". But the music... the Fourth is, as a composition, a true discovery, a funny piece of music full of witty ideas, brilliantly orchestrated, with formidable counterpoint (as usual with Draeseke), and yet the overall tone is very light. You wouldn't believe it's a late work.

Agreed, Brahms's "Academic" is airy and laid-back, but Draeseke's Fourth and the "Academic" surely are on a par.