Friday, January 30, 2009

Happy Birthday, Franz Schubert

He was born on January 31st in 1797.

He died in 1828, aged just 31.

I was privileged to visit Vienna a few years ago, and I have visited his grave in the Zentralfriedhof. He is buried next to Beethoven.

Considering his short life, the amount of work he produced is simply huge.

I had difficulty making up my mind what masterpieces to put up here; probably my favourite pieces of his are the Unfinished Symphony (the 8th), and his 5th Symphony.

So first of all, here is Pavarotti singing Schubert's "Ave Maria".

And here is one of my favourite singers, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, with Alfred Brendel at the piano. This is "Gute Nacht" from Die Winterreise, a cycle of poems by Wilhelm Muller set to music by Schubert. This is nice to listen to with a nice hot cup of something in your hand.

Rest in peace.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Why does this not surprise me?

Over the weekend, some of the coverage of the Williamsongate business with the Pope and the SSPX just made me groan and throw my eyes up to the heavens.

Then earlier today I looked online at the UK Press Gazette, and read this:

Less than a fifth of British people say they trust newspapers, down from about 30 per cent last year and well below the global average, according to a new report published today.