It may be my age, but those moments when a piece of music really hits me in the solar plexus seem to get rarer and rarer. But during my recent extended travels in India I was metaphorically punched time and time again when listening to ECM's Codona recordings on headphones. Recent posts have touched on the potential of virtual concert halls and the fact that no one mixes for speakers these days , and the Manfred Eicher produced Codona sessions from between 1978 and 1982 really demonstrate the impact of the up close and personal sound of headphones . The line up for Codona was African-American trumpeter Don Cherry, Brazilian percussionist Nana Vasconcelos, and Colin Walcott on sitar, tabla, hammered dulcimer, sanza, timpani, and voice. The band took its name from a circus trapeze act of the early 20th century called the Flying Codonas , and the three albums packaged by ECM for CD as The Codona Trilogy capture the peerless musicians-beyond-frontiers performing their creative hig
His short report on the appointment of Piers Lane as Director of the Sydney Piano Competition is a little too blunt, but true. On the other hand, JD writes a rather ludicrously overblown blurb about the "respected" Sydney event, when a careful listen to the interview with Lane to which she herself provides a link, makes it clear that Lane's opinion is that the usual shenanigans have lost the competition respect and he intends to remedy that. He says this gently, but when you hear he intends to exclude from juries anyone who has prior acquaintance with competitors -- teachers, in short -- you know what he's getting at. And he has more to say. JD really needs to regain at least a little subtlty, for her post re an interview with writer Bernieres astonished me by putting at the start a longish paragraph on the wonders of Fera at Claridges. What is this now -- the Michelin?
Lastly, in the entire Sistema debate, one thing is ever-annoying: Blaming the Sistema rather than whatever use has been made of it by the Government, something still not satisfactorily clear to me, though I do not discount it. Blaming the system, as if it will result in the same in Scotland is, if I may be forgiven for knowingly extreme analogs, not much different logically from blaming hydrogen cyanide for the Holocaust or evil atoms for the atomic bomb.