piektdiena, 2007. gada 2. novembris

"Deine Lakaien" in Riga. Quality. Professionality. Emotionality.

On 1st December year 2005 German band "Deine Lakaien" was in Riga for the first time. Yesterday, on 1st November, they were back to give us fantastic emotions in the acoustic concert in Latvia's University Hall.

"Deine Lakaien" started their way to popularity, recognition and fame 20 years ago. Ernst Horn has got professional education as conductor and pianist. And now his amazing performance on the piano perfectly goes together with Alexandro Veljanov strong baritone.
"Deine Lakaien" has released 8 studioalbums, several concerts, video, DVD and single CD.

There are no many concerts and artists that could give audience such strong emotions and such excitement during their performance. When listening Alexander Veljanov vocal and watching Ernst Horn hands on the piano, I got the feeling that man's talent and abilities are unlimited. Pianist hands' movements were so fast that they smudged. And if i was listening it with my eyes shut, I could not believe that it was just one person that created this music.

As it is said in their homepage, "the motto of their shows (before, during and after) always is: excitement, joy and getting away from the stresses and strains of everyday life".
I can fully agree with this statement. It was one and a half of hour of qualitative and beautiful musical experience from several albums. Emotions included everything from melancholy to smooth pain to expressiveness and explosion of the sounds and words. It is incredible that one person's voice can comprise such tenderness and such aggression. That amazing power and strength that was in melodies deeply touched every person in the audience.

It was a great pleasure to see that "Deine Lakaien" had assembled so different people - from alternative youth "in black" to solid middle aged men in suit; different ages, different interests, different proffessions but this evening they all together recalled artists on the stage twice. And it was really pleasant and agreeably to hear Alexander Veljanov saying: "This is the last concert in this years tour. We end this show in this beautiful city with this beautiful audience. This last concert turned out emotional a bit..."

And in the very end it was like in the movie about Mozart - all audience stood and applauded. And that is not just a concert any more, that is consummation of the dream in the real life.

pirmdiena, 2007. gada 29. oktobris

The world's most famous testament behind the scenes

Alfred Nobel was Swedish scientist, chemist, engineer, inventor, author and pacifist. He invented dynamite and all incomes according to his last will on 1895 were endowed to award those people whose work most benefited humanity. Nobel prize is awarded for achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and for peace. Nobel prize includes a medal, personal diploma and a cash award that has now reached 10 million Swedish crowns (SEK), about $ 1.6 million.

The Nobel prize in literature has been awarded to 104 persons since 1901.
Every year in autumn the world waits for The Swedish Academy report concerning Nobel Prize. On 11th October decision of The Swedish Academy was posted - British writer Doris Lessing won the 2007 Nobel prize in literature. She was described as "that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny".
Nevertheless many people wonder a little about The Swedish Academy's choice saying that her works (she has written about 80 books) have not deserved the most honoured and prestigious prize in the world. But there have always been subjective and contradictious opinions.

For example, year 1974 The Swedish Academy received hard criticism because of choosing tho Swedish writers who got the prize.
During those 106 years Sweden has got 6 Nobel prizes in literature (in comparison - the whole South America has got 7, Africa - 4, Asia - 4, Australia - 1 Nobel prize in literature) and 5 of those winners had been in The Swedish Academy themselves.
After scandal year 1974 Sweden has not got the Nobel prize in literature.

Other interesting case concerns 2 greatest existentialism writers Albert Camus and Jean Paul Sartre that both has awarded with Nobel prize.
Year 1964 Sartre won the prize and declined it saying that he always refused official distinctions and did not want to be "institutionalised". But many assume that the answer was hiding on year 1957. Than Nobel prize in literature won his "eternal competitor" Albert Camus and this "bitter taste of defeat" has never left Sartre.

For the present no one from Latvia has won Nobel prize. The problem is that author must be translated into Swedish and evaluating literature is hard and contradictious. Besides almost everyone can read and express opinion and agreement or disagreement with choice of The Swedish Academy. Maybe that is the reason why literature prize is being spoken about and discussed the most.

svētdiena, 2007. gada 28. oktobris

Drugs and geniuses

If I lived at the beginning of the 20th century, I would definitely become drug addicted. Drugs were prescribed as medicine and advertisement of the cocaine was put next to the aspirin.

Cocaine was first used by ear, nose and throat doctors and actresses to make their eyes look bigger (it turned out so useful in many ways, huh).
Heroin was first produced in famous "Baier" laboratory and it was advertised as vitamins.
Opium was very popular. It originated in Indonesia (and not in China as many assume). For example, year 1938 man produced 3200 ton opium just in India. It was exported to China, Indonesia and it reached Europa unbelievably soon. First it was used for pain release but than it was found as great creativeness expedient.

Charles J. H. Dickens, William Scott used opium.
Edgar Allan Poe used both opium and alcohol.
Charles P. Baudelaire was one of the first hashish user. He was followed by many others, int. al. J. N. Arthur Rimbaud, Alfred Jarry etc.
Picasso tried everything but his body showed amazing ability to cope with it.

Well-known is event in Sigmund Freud's life when he tried to cure his friend Ernst of a morphine addiction by giving him cocaine as medicine. The result was pretty unpleasant for both Freud's friend and Freud himself - Ernst became addicted to both morphine and cocaine, developed an acute case of "cocaine psychosis" and he died a few years later.

Jean Cocteau was French poet, writer, dramatist, designer and film director. He was original. He was surrealist. And he was totally addicted to drugs. Among his other works he shoot a film "The Blood of a Poet". It was based on dreams, mythology and symbolism. Cocteau used mirror as a way how to get in the other world. He interpreted dreams and visualized how dreams met insanity.
"The Blood of a Poet" was assessed pretty high by the reviewers and now it is known as black-and-white and silent film classic. But in fact it all is based on opium and sometimes psychoanalysis becomes a nightmare. Cocteau was hard drug victim. Is genius stimulated by drugs?

It took a few decades to reveal how harmful is drugs' influence on health.
I will not speak about hippie times and nowadays when all (or almost all) acknowledge the harmful effect of drugs.
It is said that we use about 10% of our brains. I am just wondering, does it really releases some "creative brains" and "wakes up genius in a man"?