Spectators and Artists – a strange loop

The Spectator

Tatiana Nikolayeva (1924 – 1993) was a Russian pianist, composer and professor. She’s acclaimed for her interpretations of Bach and especially Shostakovitch whom she met at the age of 26 (1950), while participating in the first International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition, celebrating the bicentennial of Bach’s death. They became lifelong friends and she made a point to emphasize that it was a horizontal friendship with no hierarchy between them, i.e., she wasn’t his protégée. She obviously won the competition and made quite an impression on the great composer who fell in love with her Bach. Continue reading “Spectators and Artists – a strange loop”


Glenn Gould on JS Bach and Beethoven

Here is one of those youtube treasures: Glenn Gould (GG) talking about J.S. Bach.

Without surprise, GG gives (in his eloquent, articulate and elegant style) very interesting and valuable insights not only on the music of Bach but also on the history of music before and after the death of Bach. Continue reading “Glenn Gould on JS Bach and Beethoven”

The Creative Act – as seen by a ‘mere’ artist

In 1957, Marcel Duchamp took part as a mere artist in a conference about art and gave a talk on ‘the creative act’ in the session of the same name. The talk was short and concise, yet it encapsulated most of the thoughts of this great figure of art.

I have deep respect for Duchamp as an artist and thinker and this text is one of the most important ones I have ever read on the creative process. Duchamp is one of the few men who could put one feet in the realm of pure intuition and creativity and the other in the realm of analytic reasoning and excel in both of them. Continue reading “The Creative Act – as seen by a ‘mere’ artist”

Bertrand Russel on “Facts & Love” – Impact on societies

At the end of an interview with Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), undertaken in 1959, the interviewer asks the great mathematician and philosopher to say something to the future generations. Russell splits the advice into two segments; one intellectual and the other moral. Continue reading “Bertrand Russel on “Facts & Love” – Impact on societies”

The passion of Flamenco: El Cante Bueno Duele

The great Camarón de la Isla, in an interview in 1988, said : “El flamenco siempre es un pena, el amor es un pena tambien. En el fondo, todo es una pena y una alegría.” (*)… flamenco lovers know what he was talking about; Flamenco is so pure, so full of passion and pain, so powerful that it does hurt. These simple and universal themes which are by no mean exclusive to Andalucia, give to Flamenco a universal aspiration.

Moreover, in flamenco all that matters is the singing (cante), guitar skills (toque), dance (baile), the rythmic handclaps (palmas), and the good company. Beauty canons, age, wealth or the number of cameras around do not have the slightest importance. All this (and more!) puts flamenco at a high artistic position. Continue reading “The passion of Flamenco: El Cante Bueno Duele”