Thursday, October 27, 2005

Ian Bostridge and Noel Coward

Discovery! High spirits!

EMI Classics has, in 2002 (why haven't I stumbled over this much, much earlier??), released a CD entitled "The Noel Coward Songbook", starring Ian Bostridge (tenor), Jeffrey Tate (piano), Sophie Daneman (soprano), and, of course, Noel Coward himself, represented by his songs.

Cripes! This disc is marvellous.

The lyrics are witty, funny, melancholic, ironic... you name it: there's something in there for everybody. The music is so twenties it hurts. Morbid at times, ironic (must be, as it comes with these lyrics), with surprising melodic turns and twists...

Ian Bostridge is outstanding anyway. If you have ever heard his evangelist in Bach's St. Matthew's Passion, you know what I mean. He knows how dramatic the story is and interprets it appropriately. This also holds for his interpretation of the Noel Coward songs: he knows about the lyrics and their meanings, and he gets things across.

I love this disc. Give it a try.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Making a Church Whole Again

On October 2nd, the church of St. Elisabeth in Darmstadt was made whole again.

On the occasion of the fold's 100th anniversary, the chancel was renovated and a new altar was installed. The new altar was consecrated by Karl Cardinal Lehmann, and the first Eucharist after the renovation was celebrated.

I've got some images, taken by Peter Klaffke, who kindly allowed me to make them available here. Thanks Peter!

You can click on the images to see larger versions.

This is how the chancel looks now. The image was taken before the service. The altar was chiselled out of one massive block.



During the consecration, incense is burned on the altar.



Adoration of the now consecrated altar.



Cardinal Lehmann celebrates the first Eucharist on the new altar: the church feels complete and "right" again.