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  • Writer's pictureNigel

🕺At last やった!

2024 年 2 月 21 日

Time to set the flies free......🪰


I was going up into my attic to find an old rental agreement. But every time I go up there, there are loads of flies all buzzing around the window. So I open the window and they all fly out and off over the roofs of Langen. A nice snack for the birds no doubt. Of course I didn't find what I was looking for. However this fell out of a box:


Do you collect things? I collect concert programmes - but only when the concert was a memorable one. And this one was. Three of the finest chamber music players of the time. I was spellbound.

Now some people collect sponges.....


...others collect famous logos........有名なロゴ

.....or even pinneaples......🍍!

....or "Hello Kitty" memorabilia.......

I discovered all this on a Saturday morning in the Museum Angewandte Kunst (Museum of Applied Art) in Frankfurt. They had asked twenty designers to display their personal collections. There was even one guy who had collected sand from beaches around the world - filling up a little film container each time. Amazing.......


The red one is fom Namibia. But there was grey rocky sand from China, almost black volcanic sand from Japan, and boring yellowish sand from the UK.

I love this museum. It is so spacious, modern, airy and quiet......

私はこの美術館が大好きです。 とても広くて、モダンで、風通しがよくて、静かです。

It has a little section called "meet asian art". Here I spotted this incense burner. It was made in Kyoto during the Meiji Era in Japan (late 19thc.), using the cloisonné method..........

After all this art you need a coffee. So I walked along the river Main quayside - through the saturday market - to end up at a very nice little café which is hidden away in the sculpture museum - the Liebighaus Museum....居心地の良いカフェを見つけました

It's rather a daunting looking building.....

but the coffee is good ☕



やった ! There is nothing quite like that moment when, after cutting the bridge and fitting the soundpost, you first draw a bow over the strings of a 'cello. How will it respond high up on the A string? Is there a "wolf" note on the G string?

Those four strings - they are like high voltage power lines.......⚡


Will the tailpiece take the tension......?



This month our book group met in a solid German restaurant in Darmstadt. It's just called "Sitte". We were discussing a faintly bonkers science fiction book (Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel) which raised some interesting questions about time travel. There was nothing bonkers about the food though. I had tasty Metwurst on a bed of juicy, crispy kale cabbage. Delicious!

ダルムシュタットでのドイツ料理 😋


I've done it. やった!

I have sat through the entire Ring Cycle of Richard Wagner. The last one (on Sunday) was Götterdämmerung...The Twilight of the Gods. We had parked at the Hessisches Staatstheater at 3pm, and returned to the car at 9.30pm (n.b. The half-hour drive to Wiesbaden served as a good "please-explain-the-plot" moment).

On the steps of the Parkhaus Ron asked me why this Ring was so popular. What is its appeal? A good question indeed 🧐.

It is a huge achievement, for one. Hence worth experiencing. He took twenty six years to complete it, writing the libretto and all the music. The latter is a unbroken stream of 19thc. romanticism. Easy to listen to, with lots of solo lines for brass 🎺......📯📯📯📯📯, `cellos, Cor name it. The singers are like instruments of the orchestra, not being "accompanied" in the formal sense of the word, but weaving their own way through the score 🎼 . All very impressive. But it's all sensuality and no heart (depicting the Rheinmaidens as prostitutes in Götterdämmerung seemed to underscore this).

More koi 恋 , less ai 愛 .


Alberich and the Rheinmaidens....

At no point did I feel attracted to any of the characters in this mythical fairy-tale world. Except maybe poor Brünnhilde. But she doesn't help matters by committing self-immolation 🔥 at the end.. Get a grip on the plot Nigel.......

I was not moved, just impressed. To feel any humanity I would probably have to turn to Richard Strauss's "Der Rosenkavalier". Same era. Different composer.

Wagner's message is blindingly simple: Greed is bad. You will pay for it. 😱 With your life. And all for what? So that a pile of gold and a ring can remain at the bottom of the Rhine, guarded over by some mermaids. Sorry, Rheinmaidens 🧜‍♀️.....

So no happy ending. Just destruction and a vague promise of some new order for the world.

The day after I found this on Youtube and nearly cracked up laughing, despite the dated video.....


You could call it a lot of things. Escapism for a gloomy winter day; A test of your concentration (tonights performance was over five hours, including breaks); An insight into a particularly German brand of romanticism (it is not difficult to see how it was exploited by the Nazis), or just a good night out with friends with some quiche and a bottle of wine. Just entertainment. Here's a photo Julia took at the curtain call...

Photo: Julia Sigwart

I'm glad I've seen it at last.


Wagner's Ring. Done ✔️.

やった ✔️


On a lighter note. A date for your diaries in the summer. The Main Matsuri in Offenbach / that's just east of Frankfurt. That crazy Japanese festival of song; dance; food; Manga; Calligraphy; Cosplay and, and, and.........

😏Thank you for reading "..At last .."


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😏 And and I enjoy hearing from you...!





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