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  • Writer's pictureNigel

Where is the melody? メロディーはどこにある?

Updated: May 30, 2023


The other day I was in the kitchen and this suddenly reached my ears on the radio.....Schubert's Impromptu Nr.3 Op. 90. - an old recording with Alfred Brendel. With a quick flick of a switch I killed off the dishwasher and sat down. Time stood still. Heaven.

天国. Liquid gold. This is music coping with the grief I cannot put into words. Cette musique est un mot que je ne peux pas dire.

But how was he playing that melody over those rippling quavers? does he have 11 fingers? I tracked down the recording on Youtube....... ..... but looking at the actual music all was revealed.......!

I will give a nice meal and a glass of Spätburgunder to the next pianist who can play this on my Kawai......😉. .......この音楽は私が言えない言葉です

Continuing on a musical theme, on Saturday it was Mozart's turn. I went with a friend to see the Darmstadt opera's production of "Don Giovanni". I realised, not for the first time, that one of the ways of keeping track of the fantastical plot of such an opera is to latch on to the arias. So here we have Leporello, The Don's assistent, singing about the exploits of his master "Madamia, il catalogo è questo", or the Don himself trying to seduce the young Zerlina with "Là ci darem la mano", or a subversive serenade to Donna Elvira's maid "Deh, vieni alla finestra". The latter was accompanied by a real mandoline player on stage, which was marvellous. As I hinted last week, the opera ends with Don Giovanni being dragged down to hell, having scorned the ghost of the man he has killed. At this point we in the audience were almost blinded by a powerful flash of orange and red...accompanied by Mozart's menacing chords. Good to be in the opera again, and thank you Sarah for the tickets. Here's a glimpse into the pit, ....ダルムシュタットのモーツァルトオペラ

Photo:和美 さん

The view outside.....

And here is the cast taking the final curtain call.......(L t R) Eric Ander (Masetto) Juliana Zara (Zerlina) Solgerd Isalv (Donna Elvira) Zelotes Toliver (Komptur) David Lee (Don Ottavio) Megan Hart (Donna Anna) Julian Orlishausen (Don Giovanni) Johannes Moon (Leporello)


It's very difficult to be objective about different languages. I can't imagine Don Giovanni being sung in any other language other than Italian. Likewise I can't imagine "Die Zauberflöte" being sung in any other language than German. Both are operas by Mozart. And I can't imagine either of them being sung in French. Why is that? I don't know. Maybe it's just what I am used to. Duparc, Chausson and Berlioz; this is French territory. As is Michel Berger...listen to the 1973 classic "Message personnel" sung by Francois Hardy. Imagine the opening line in English "At the other end of the line there is your voice....." or in German "Es gibt deine Stimme am Telefon..."

No, sorry, it only works in French: "Au bout du téléfon, il y a votre voix....."


From the opera house to the fields of the Odenwald.......田舎の散歩

The temperature rose to 26°c or more on Sunday, so it was lucky that we were in woods for a lot of the time. We had set out from Bad König, and climbed up into the hills above the town. No castles this time, just the breeze in our faces and the wonderful spread of the Odenwald around us. .....

What a funny hat I have....🤣........of course sometimes we nearly left a walker behind....尚子.…どこにいるの?

....and I would not have said no to a ride on one of these horses...........足が疲れた……馬に乗ろうかな?

however we found this wonderful "Wanderhütte" . No we didn't sit around drinking beer and singing "Volkslieder"...we just had a nice sit on a bench....素敵な休息

where beer, sekt, water, orange juice and snacks could be bought....all on a trust basis.....these good things still exist!.......

Photo: Phe


Photo: Phe

Smiling...."Nikkori shite imasu" . Try this: say "nikkori" in front of a mirror. Chances are that you will have to smile. Turns out it is a sort of onomatopoeic word (like Miaow 🐈, oink 🐖 roar 🦁, chirp 🐥 ) except that instead of looking like the sound, it looks like the facial expression. That's why it's spelt ニッコリ and not にっこり I suppose......😊

There are various ways of saying "to smile" in Japanese, but I'm told that this one fits here (not: Hohoemu, which I was told is too formal).

Oh the mysteries of culture and language.....!

Photo: some random hiker...

We managed a modest 12.8 kilometres, descending down into the town of Bad König in search of ....yes.....and ice cream restaurant. But before we dived into such delights as Schokoladen Becher, and Spaghetti Eis, we had a look at the old church and its surroundings.......バートケーニッヒの古い教会

For some reason there was a Dutch royal family wedding here in 1900, and the garden behind the church was planted with this beautiful azalia......素敵なアザリア

Even on a modest hike like this one, you always come across some surprise.....Here Wenyi and Phe surprised a young deer in the woods........驚き

Video: Wenyi

And on the walk back to the station some of us got distracted by a random parrot........what next!.........🤣

You never know what is around the corner. 角を曲がった先に何があるかわかりません。


My read this month is no Booker Prize-winning author, but Microsoft's Bill Gates. Sobering reading embued with an American pragmatic optimism.....

Thank you for reading ".......Where is the melody?.........."


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