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From the Feuilletons


05/06/2009

From the Feuilletons

Neue Zürcher Zeitung 30.05.2009

Joseph Haydn died two hundred years ago. Herbert Lachmayer celebrates him as a musician of the Enlightenment and as a man who embraced the opportunities offered by the improved distribution and printing of sheet music. "As a musician who discovered and contributed to the development of this supra-national music market, Hayden seems incredibly modern to us today, even topical. Hayden cleverly and subversively ruptured the exclusive claims made on the court composer by the royal house – such as the following clause form his first service contract in 1761: 'Hereby shall Joseph Heyden be regarded and held as an officer of the house.' The remaining clauses were no less restrictive or humiliating: he was to compose whatever the prince desired; all compositions would remain in the exclusive property of the prince; and he was obliged to bow and scrape on a daily basis, most humbly taking orders from his Highness etc., etc."


Frankfurter Rundschau
02.06.2009

A glowing Hans-Jürgen Linke reports back from the premiere of Robert Wilson's "magical" producton of Weber's 'The Marksman' at the Festspielhaus, Baden-Baden. It was conducted by Thomas Hengelbrock and the Swarovski-studded costumes were designed by fashion duo Viktor & Rolf: "After the very un-Christian conflict of brilliant colour in the first two acts everything, even Agathe's wedding cake dress, turns innocently white, save for the red of the shoes. The huntsmen chorus (Viennese Philharmonia Choir conducted by Walter Zeh) enters the stage dressed all in white (except for the aforementioned shoes) and sing the famously volksliedsy composition to a disarmingly simple and goofy choreography. Its side-splitting hilarity combines so enchantingly with the horns' intoning that a rare and wonderful thing happens: mid-performance, a German opera audience starts applauding for a huntsman chorus encore."

A video from the dress rehearsal:




Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
02.06.2009

Julia Voss visited the newly opened Magritte Museum (website) in Brussels and was suitably impressed: "Magritte's paintings were not displayed in isolation, but were hung together with drawings, posters, advertising commissions, photographs, even films. Suddenly you see how much good this does Magritte's work. It might be detrimental to most artists to hang their work in tight clusters, but Magritte profits. His work suddenly looks like an ambitious world-changing project, a tireless shunting of meaning which sends word and image, language and reality spinning ever further apart."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 03.06.2009

Economic ethicist
Peter Koslowski explains why restoring trust is irrelevant for the world of finance. "The financial system is not based on trust, it is based on securities, on secured credit. Banks do not trust their customers and their customers should not trust them back. Both have to provide security to gain credit - or trust - in return." For this reason he regards bail-out programmes with suspicion. "Trying to re-establish trust by veiling bankruptcy is like trying to extinguish fire with fire."


From the blogs 03.06.2009

The UN Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution that will prevent an investigation into the alleged war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan army against the Tamil Tigers during the final days of the war. But a double crime took place: The Tamil Tigers barricaded themselves into refugee camps using civilians as human shields, and the troops, according to reports by journalists and NGOs, fired at them mercilessly. The blog Liza's Welt comments: "Unlike the procedures taken by the Israeli army against Hamas, those deployed by the Sri Lankan army, and this year in particular, can no longer be justified as necessary defence against terror. Yet the slaughter carried out by the Sri Lankan army hardly provoked a flicker of media protest – compared with the outrage at the attacks launched by the Israeli army in response to the rockets fired out of Gaza. And this, although the number of victims was umpteens times higher than in Gaza, and attacks on civilians were not the exception but the rule itself."


Süddeutsche Zeitung
04.06.2009

Chinese writer Li Dawei, who today lives in Los Angeles and writes in English, believes that the heavenly peace in China, twenty years after the Tiananmen massacre, is deceptive: "The crisis twenty years ago could have been resolved by implementing a series of reforms, but the leaders failed to seize the chance. Today's crisis is much more complicated. People are increasingly becoming aware that a parasitic minority is living the good life at the cost of the hard-working majority. This majority will probably not stop at demonstrating, like the students in 1989, to air their grievances. Mao's spirit is still alive in this country, wandering secretly at night."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
04.06.2009

Paul Ingendaay met the Spanish writer Rafael Chirbes, whose latest novel "Crematorium" describes the run up to the huge property crash that shook his country. But it also goes deeper: "This is a novel about what went wrong after Franco's death. How democracy indulged its children in their desire to experiment, to cook up high-flying plans; how people dreamed of forgetting their parents' poverty and striding freely into the future; and how it all ended in power games and a giant pocket-lining competition, without regulation, without civil virtues and without sparing a thought for the environment, which has never played a role in Spanish politics."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung
05.06.2009

Following the suicide on May 23 of Korea's former president Roh Moo Hyun, Ho Nam Seelmann explains the role of responsibility, shame and death in Korean culture (where guilt is not administered by the church). "When a person dies in Korea, the earthy criteria for judging them die with them. Death is beyond legal but also moral judgement. There is no such thing in Korean tradition as a judgement that reaches into the afterlife, like that of the Christian god. Even dictators and murderers join the ancestors after death, and we venerate them with an altar – a tradition which Europeans often find incomprehensible."
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